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It's Not About Gay Sex and Gowns

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The seething violence against LGBT people that ripples under the sweating brows and gnashing teeth of some church pastors is an uncomfortable reminder of the Bull Connors and George Wallaces of an earlier era. Circumstances and victims may be different for sure, but the hate and its effects are the same. Many churchgoers come struggling with trauma and crisis, and need honest spiritual help more than the church needs their dollars, yet a lot of pastors obsess about oppressing gay people. The Black church in particular has been such a pillar of healing and change throughout American history. Where is the empathy? People who hate are becoming increasingly irrelevant to the new millennial future that society -- especially younger generations -- are working so hard to build. Meanwhile, church enrollment continues to decline nationwide.

A majority of the American public backs President Obama's support of same gender marriage. A narrative thread is emerging, even on the street: it's good to see the President of the United States reflect on American social progress and our collective evolving history, engage in critical thinking, and "stand up for something" on the basis of careful thought and social justice principles, even if the political calculus is a high wire. Introspection is a rare trait in modern American society -- we need so much more of this from our leaders!

I'll admit I did not get the whole gay marriage thing for a long time, and in fact was a little dismissive of it, when daily I fought against such catastrophic violence being waged against the Earth and our children's health and future, along with the severe problems facing young people I worked with. In my opinion, gay marriage still isn't nearly as important as these life or death issues, considering our civilization's sustainable survival is at stake; but it sure is part of a more just society and future. Personally, I have zero interest in "marrying" a dude. I only understood when, in New York a couple years ago, I heard some straight black politicians speaking to a crowd about supporting gay marriage, and one said it's not about walking down the aisle in a gown, but about equal rights and protection from harm under the U.S. Constitution, being able to take care of your family, and receive equal treatment as others.

As the American people now enter into a new conversation related to its treatment of same gender oriented people, it would be good if the mainstream public could try to delete pre-conceived stereotypes and look with a new eye. Many same gender people are just as "straight" as a straight person; they only happen to be "gay" on the inside. Don't look now, but they're standing right next to you... on the basketball court or football field or rapper's mic or in your business office. All along you've been trying to tell them about them, violating them into little boxes, and choking the life out of them. Others, who are obviously gay or lesbian, are often smashed to nothingness.

Also let me say this: stop obsessing on sexual acts and reducing same gender people to sex. Being "gay" is a lot more than just a sex act. Celibate people are still same gender.

As for the "gay community" (whatever that means, because it's so diverse), with increasing public acceptance and legitimacy comes responsibility. A lot of straight folks have stuck their necks out for LGBT people, so it would be helpful if they could be supported with dignity.

At the least, it would make a difference if the public, especially people of color, could see more examples of same gender men and women beyond the outrageous stereotypes. That means more of us need to step up, as uncomfortable as that may be. It just might save the life of that young buck who wants to kill himself like I did for so many years.