Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Playing Chicken

 I was recently asked in an interview my feelings about living in a so-called post-gay world, and my answer was clear:  I’m not at all interested in living in a post-gay world.  What I want is to live in a post-homophobic world.

From recent events, I would say there’s both good and bad news on that score.  Clearly, the fact that the president of a popular company feels comfortable spreading his hateful rhetoric and donating money to suppress my civil rights suggests that this is still a homophobic world.  However, the degree to which his behavior has been denounced—not only by gay people but by a large swath of the larger community—says something very profound about hopes for the ultimate demise of homophobia.

The times, as Dylan said, they are a-changin’.  While the gay marriage at the center of The Heart’s History becomes a lightning rod for disagreement among the older characters (some of whom see it as progress, while others believe it only ties an otherwise progressive movement to an outdated institution), the younger ones don’t bat an eyelash.  To them, same-sex marriage is an inevitability, a fact of life.  They are living in a post-homophobic world—or will be when their generation is at the seat of power.

We live in a country where freedom of religion has been perverted into license to discriminate, oppress, and hate.  Bigots like Dan Cathy of Chick-fil-A (its own name a perversion of the word filet, which I suppose was too “un-American”—or at least too hard to spell) hide behind their religion or, more precisely, those aspects of their religion that they choose to follow.  The same Bible they cite to excuse their homophobia also forbids the eating of pork products, but they still put bacon in their chicken club.

Despite the bacon, though, this place is all about chicken.  It’s about being so chicken that someone else’s happiness threatens your own.  It’s about being so chicken that you can’t face life without the fantasy of Pearly Gates at the end of it.  It’s about being too chicken to come up with your own morality, instead relying on a book written thousands of years ago but never updating it to account for tiny little things like science and the Enlightenment.

The homophobes continue to justify their views by calling sexual orientation a choice.  But it’s not.  Religion is a choice.  One chooses to believe in God.  One chooses to follow the instructions in an ancient book.  One chooses to discriminate and spew hatred.

And the rest of us choose to boycott the people who do.

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