This blog is part of our "In Our Corner" series, where members of the Gay Voices family share their stories of love and support in the face of hard times. This particular submission is a bit different because it's written by a straight member of our family, who is nominating her gay best friend.
This is a bit of a departure from my normal writing. As a self-proclaimed "sex, dating and sports" blogger, I rarely tackle legitimate issues that can't be summed up in two witty lines of bitchy non-chalantness. So for me, writing about my involvement in the LGBT community and my unwavering desire to see equality across the country, it's tricky. I don't do poignant very well. But I'm going to try, because my best friend Karl deserves to be acknowledged.
Let me tell you about him. We've known each other nearly twenty years. I still remember playing with Beanie Babies at my communion party when I was eight. I remember cutting class with him in high school and him attempting to teach me to drive stick shift. I remember getting drunk on Mike's Hard Lemonade in the Hamptons when we were 16. I remember how hard I cried when he left for college a year before me, even though he only moved thirty minutes away. I remember how excited I was when he got off the plane from his semester abroad in Rome, and I remember how much I loved him when he finally admitted that he was gay (something we had all known for a while). He has been part of my every day life for as long as I can remember.
Despite having been a former English major, I couldn't come up with enough adjectives to ever explain how amazing this kid is. Brilliant is an understatement. He paid his own way through one of the most elite architecture programs in the country. He could build you a car from scratch with four tires and a steering wheel, and if you ask him what year some obscure building on the Upper East Side was built, he'll know the entire back history of every brick that went into it. He is family oriented, and very close with his brother and sister (both of whom are straight). He gets along great with his parents and has a hilariously unique bond with his super-cool grandma. He still has family dinners when the whole crew is home, and I have never known him to miss a birthday BBQ. He's kind, loyal, thoughtful, intelligent, responsible and funny. He is the epitome of a good person. This one paragraph alone doesn't do the kid justice, but at the very least, it paints the picture of a very normal, very happy, very intelligent and well adjusted man who impacts the lives of others around him in an extremely positive way.
So when I hear the Stacey Pritchards and Peter LaBarbaras of the world paint with a broad brush an entire community that someone so special to me belongs to as nothing more than perverts who deserve to be "penned up" and left for dead, there are no words to describe the anger I feel. It bothers me to no end that people who have never had the immense privilege of having Karl in their lives, put him in a category that demeans him and his capability to love, feel, want, hope, work for and live a valuable and valued life. The ignorance is unfathomable and perhaps that's why I argue the way I do in favor of equality (aside from it simply being the right thing to do). Because I live in a reality every single day that being gay is as normal as being straight. That being gay doesn't change who you are as a person, your capacity to love someone else, or to be a good and decent person. And there is nothing about what Karl does, whom he loves or who he is attracted to that's abnormal. Karl is just a part of my life that has always fit perfectly, and people who demand he "change" can't seem to understand that. When they sit behind their computers and talk about what the gays "really" want, I want to say is "how the hell do you know?" Karl? Karl wants to finish paying off his student loans. Karl wants to find a nice, normal guy on his level to date and share his life with. Karl wants to win lotto so he can enjoy building things for the rest of his life without ever worrying about money. Karl wants to go on a vacation. Karl wants to dance. Never once has Karl mentioned a desire to destroy religious liberties, or his urge to indoctrinate children, or his desire to bring down the institution of marriage. Why? Because that's not what Karl or gay people in general want! Because Karl is an everyday, normal dude with dreams, hopes, feelings, disappointments, and frustrations who just wants to live his life like the rest of us.
The anti-equality movement is so determined to ignore the fact that majority of the LGBT community is made up of "Karls", that they focus on the random pride parades that show a little too much skin, or the sometimes aggressive things Dan Savage says, forgetting that with every passing day more and more people are meeting "Karls" and realizing there is nothing scary, radical or perverted about their sons, brothers, best friends who are gay. There is so much more to this community, and the tragedy is the anti-equality proponents are too deep in their own prejudices to ever realize that the fear mongering they employ to falsely make Karl (and all gays in general) seem like a sex-crazed, mentally-ill psychopath, isn't flying anymore. Karl and his normal life are the true reality of the LGBT community. And the more people witness this for themselves, the more they will realize that denying such wonderful people simple joys and rights is terribly wrong. Or at least that's my hope. Because I look at Karl and I feel blessed to have this guy in my life. And I will fight tooth and nail for him and every other "Karl" out there.
You can see more of the stories you've shared with us in tweets and blogs below. Please keep these stories coming! We'll keep featuring these amazing stories as long as you send them in. You can submit your nominations to firstname.lastname@example.org