“That’s gay.” What exactly is gay about a project assigned to a student by a professor? Is that project attracted to other projects of the same subject? No? I didn’t think so. So what was the point? Why did you say it?I bet if I were to ask someone why they just called something “gay,” the conversation would follow along the same lines of the one above. I hear people say that phrase all the time. It took me a long time to break the habit, being that I heard it literally every day. I didn’t realize the implications of using the term in that way. And instead of just simply not caring, I am hoping that most people who use it don’t realize them either. The definition of gay includes things having to do with happiness, and of course, having a sexual orientation to persons of the same sex. The problems come with the context of the usage.
When something bad happens and someone calls it “gay,” the word is given a negative connotation, implying there is something wrong with being gay. In my opinion, there is nothing wrong with being gay, just as there is nothing wrong with being heterosexual.
The main backlash against homosexuality comes from certain religious zealots who follow the Bible. I respect the fact that people believe the words in the Bible to be true, but I refuse to let a book written by people who supposedly didn’t actually write it affect how I treat others on an everyday basis.
Last week, while flipping through television channels, I happened to come across a College Republicans conference from this past July. There were five presenters in a nearly empty auditorium, giving speeches about gay marriage. Four of the five were against gay marriage and for an amendment banning it, while the lone supporter was a gay male himself.
The issue of gay marriage has caused controversy across America. What two consenting adults do in their own home, as long as they are not hurting other people, should not be anyone else’s business. I was only able to catch one of the speakers against gay marriage. His argument, besides the usual “Adam and Steve” mantra, was that gay marriage should not be allowed because there is no potential for children. He said that marriage is a union between a man and a woman, which leads to a family with children and is necessary for the continuation of civilization. This argument does not make sense, because there are heterosexual people who also either can not have children, have children as single parents, or choose not to have children. Should they not be allowed to marry because there is no potential of them producing children? There are plenty of orphans and foster children who need parents, and a responsible couple, no matter what their sexual orientation, could provide a loving home. Oh, wait; the President advocates a gay marriage amendment is also against gay adoptions and foster parenting. I guess no parents are better than parents of the same sex.
There is also the argument against the sanctity of marriage. In a country where there is supposed to be a separation of church and state, proposing a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage based on preserving the alleged sanctity of marriage is, in fact, unconstitutional. Congress shall make no law recognizing a religion, and the sanctity argument stems from the Bible, a religious document.
With the freedom of religion comes the freedom from religion., not to mention the fact that not everyone gets married in a church, nor does everyone believe in a god or the Bible. Besides, how sacred are marriages in a country with a divorce rate of 50 percent, and which allows marriages to begin and end in a matter of hours? Saying vows and taking another person’s last name are notthe only aspects of being married.
There are also certain benefits that heterosexual married couples enjoy, such as spousal health and insurance benefits, which homosexual couples can not enjoy because homosexual marriages are not recognized in any other state except for Massachusetts.
It especially saddens me that black people do not understand the similarities between the black civil rights struggle and that of homosexuals. Both groups are minorities simply because they are different than and lack the control and power of the majority. The government has passed laws forno better reason than difference. Blacks were once, constitutionally, 3/5 of a human being.
Less than a generation ago, interracial marriages were still illegal. Only in the 20th century were women allowed to vote, and the remnants of the Jim Crow era legally ended.
Making a constitutional amendment stating that gays can not get married just because they are gay is akin to calling them second-class citizens. Gays are also being killed for no reason other than being gay. The majority has a responsibility to protect the minority by not abusing their power. Trying to amend the constitution because you do not agree with a certain group being able to join your club is unconstitutional.
Black people, for the most part, can not hide their skin color, and homosexuals should not be forced to hide their sexuality any more than heterosexuals should be. I am pretty sure that if one of my white friends used the “‘N’ word” while reciting 50 cent rap lyrics in the privacy of their own home, that they would have the respect and sensitivity to not repeat the word in my presence, seeing and knowing that I am black. This sensitivity should be the same when it involves gay people.
We should not expect them to hide themselves because of what the majority thinks about them, and the phrase “That’s gay” does nothing to promote openness. The same people in power today who are against gay marriage are the same people in power decades ago who were against interracial marriage and desegregation.
I am not asking you to accept homosexuality, as I understand that some people do not. Rather, I am asking you to be sensitive and to not let it affect how you treat people, nor affect the law. With every generation, discrimination, the barrier to equality, is lowered. Refraining from saying “That’s gay” about things that are not happy is resisting that barrier from being completely eliminated.
Jeff Craddock is a student at West Chester University.