Sunday, November 30, 2008

An epiphany

Early last year, we took some friends to a Mardi Gras party/benefit for Long Island Gay & Lesbian Youth, a charity we support. The party was huge, and we all had a great time.

Two of the people we took were Jon and Michelle, a straight couple who are friends of ours. Of course, being friends of ours, they're comfortable with gay people, but their association with gay people was largely summed up with the two couples they knew, us and a lesbian couple. Beyond that, gay life was largely foreign to them, or so they thought. Jon, in particular, didn't come from a background that was robust in gay life. In his early days, he played for the Chicago Bears--not exactly a bastion of gayness!

Fast forward about 20 months to last night. We were at their house for drinks, and we got around to talking about Proposition 8, gay marriage and various related topics. They're very much in favor of gay rights and were appalled that Proposition 8 passed. Their feelings really weren't a surprise. What was more enlightening was Jon's comment that the night of the Mardi Gras party was when he had "an epiphany."

"We had just left and were sitting in the car when it struck me." He went on to explain that that's when he really felt it to his core, that gay people are just like anyone else. "We had spent a fun evening, sitting with several couples who were having fun, living their lives and dealing with all of the same things as anyone else." The other couples just happened to be gay.

That's what will win this battle. Yes, there's a fight to be fought, but what really will turn the tide in the long run--and it's already happening--is straight people getting to know more gay people and understand that we're just like them. We were made to be attracted to people of the same gender, but we're just people, just like anyone else.

11 comments:

Greg said...

Perhaps we should send more straight couples to you to take to the gay Mardi Gras. :-)

tornwordo said...

Exactly. Which is why people should be out as well.

DWQ Online said...

What a great group of friends that you have. Glad he had an epiphany - wish more straights would.

Pua; Bakin' and Tendin' Bar said...

Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez! And thank goodness for epiphanies!

PatCH said...

*yay*

Patrick said...

Yup, study after study indicates that the thing that makes the biggest difference is straight people actually knowing someone who is glbt. Thanks for this lovely ilustration of it in action.

Joey7777 said...

Gays ARE just like everybody else. They can be just as rotten.

Jess said...

Greg: There's an idea.

Torn: Whenever they can, but I can't blame some of the young folk who are afraid to be out. It depends upon their circumstances, but there are some evil bigots in this world.

DWQ: Amen.

Pua: Ditto. :)

PatCH: Well said.

Patrick: And that's why things will work out in the end. It all gives me hope.

Joey: Or just as wonderful, like all humans. If I had any idea why you wrote something like that, I would respond more specifically, but I'm really not following your point.

Joey7777 said...

Jess : Excuse me. I was just surfing around going from blog link to blog link and was looking over yours and saw that post....and....Anyway, that's just my own experiences with most gay guys around NYC (and, no, I'm not a guy with a chip on my shoulder and neither am I paranoid). I didn't mean it about you in the slightest, because you seem pretty decent.

Jess said...

Joey: Thanks, and that's okay. I'm sorry you've had such bad experiences. I meant what I said before... gay people are like everyone else. Some are terrible, some are great, and most are somewhere in between. I hope that your future experiences are better! And please feel free to stop by here whenever you want.

Joey7777 said...

Jess : Well....thanks. I also have a boyfriend for almost twenty years now, so I'm not coming to those conclusions because of bad-affairs-of-the-heart (lol). But, seriously, I'm very disappointed with the way gays have turned out. I was born and raised and still live in and around NYC, and I find gays, basically, a vicious newcomer anti-hetero, anti-Irish, anti-Jewish, anti-New York native, anti-Catholic, anti-Protestant, overly politically-correct, animal-abusing bunch (which, looking over your blog, you don't seem to be at ALL, which is why I even brought this up here. Though I question some of your links). So I've always been disappointed that I've been forced to choose my "own people" over the NYC gay community. Maybe in the future I'll luck out and meet some cooler guys who prefer the same-sex and change my opinion. Anyway, thanks for letting me rant. And I wish you a wonderful holiday and new year. -Joe (jtlooking@aol.com)