Saturday, September 22, 2007

Had He Forgotten He Had a Lesbian Daughter?

Much has been made over the tearful announcement by Jerry Sanders, Republican Mayor of San Diego, regarding his last-minute (almost literally) decision to reverse his previously announced intention to veto a San Diego City Council resolution that had been passed by that body challenging California's gay marriage ban.

Sanders' emotional announcement appears below and is worth watching if you haven't seen it yet.

While I ultimately applaud Sanders' decision, I have ask, "What took you so long, Jerry?"

As Sanders states in his speech, he is the father of an adult lesbian daughter who came out to him over two years ago. He was aware of her orientation when he campaigned against same-sex marriage, offering up "separate but equal" civil unions instead. At this stage of the national debate, I think this is unacceptable. Politicians with LGBT family members who continue to advocate against equal marriage rights for gays and lesbians need to be asked, point-blank, why.

As funny as the title of the "New York Blade" article announcing the birth of Mary Cheney's son was ["Mary Cheney Gives Birth to Human Boy"], it also strikes the truest, albeit saddest, note in this entire issue. Elected officials are campaigning on, advocating, drafting, pushing, lobbying for, and signing intolerance against their own flesh and blood into law.

As Larry Kramer would say, "Where is the outrage?"

My deep suspicion is that many relatives of gays and lesbians who actually voted for Bush/Cheney in the last election were voting their subconscious, allowing their internalized homophobia to pull the lever.

I intend to ask each person in my birth and chosen families whether or not they intend to vote for any candidate who does not support full marriage rights for gays and lesbians. The truth is I'm not even sure I ever want to get married, but I do want to know why anyone in my family thinks heterosexual love deserves privileges that love between homosexuals does not.

The stakes are too high. Too many LGBT teenagers die, become addicted or infected, or suffer unnecessarily because this culture of hate exists.

In this time of senseless war, inexcusable poverty and famine, and spiritual desolation, I'm done apologizing for demanding answers and explanations on what should be the biggest no-brainer, non-issue we collectively face.

If we can't come together on love, we are a society lost.

Don't bullshit yourself, it is that simple.


Queer on Paper said...

I feel you on this one...neither one of my parents will discuss with me who they voted for in the past presidential election. This fact speaks volumes. I am still pissed. Outrage? I wish. The most we get is a "that's too bad" when stats come out like 1 in 4 NYC gay males are infected with HIV. I wonder what Britney is up to...

SubtleKnife said...

I'm afraid I have to disagree with you here. It takes a lot of gay people some time to come to terms with their sexuality, perhaps parents should be afforded a little time too? Of course ideally it's not something anybody should have to "come to terms" with, but that's still a long way off in this world.

I would argue that the reason Sanders took so long is the same one that causes so much suffering among LGBT teens. With a lot less risk to himself than to them, I concede that.

Still, he could have continued to toe the party line, after all: "We offer you equality, what else could you want?" But he didn't, he made a public statement.

And the fact that he did change his mind and then - most likely going completely against his political instincts - let his heart speak, may be one little step closer to a better world.

Much as I wish I could set everything right overnight, it's much better for my sanity and my blood pressure to be grateful for small improvements.

apyknowzitall said...

I have to admit that when I first started voting I was a strict "moral voter". I remember my mom saying "if I'm not sure about the candidate, I just vote Republican." But as I've, I don't know, grown up I've realized that there are much more important issues at stake that I have to suppress my inner-republican. A point I hope more people come to act on. But the comment you made about the death rate of GLBT teens and adults struck home with me. I know that if one of my children were to come out to me it would be hard for me to accept but I know I would come to accept and support them, knowing that the STD, death, drug use, rates of youth with supportive families are practically nonexistant. One of the major reasons why I love being a mom so much is that I can teach them understanding and how to value diversity even if it may not on the surface mesh with our religious beliefs.

(Sorry for going on... )

he gay said...

@ QOP - As always, thanks for the support and input. You're an amazing man and part of the "solution."

@ SubtleKnife - I agree, it takes many LGBT individuals time to accept their truth (myself included). The reason: I was given tacit and explicit indications from birth that it wasn't acceptable. These cues came from my family and this society. I spent too many years trying to squelch what was me, at the expense of learning how to love myself and neighbors and learn how to build a solid relationship within which I could grow and build a family. I accept that it can take families and society time to "come to terms," but I have decided that I have a different standard for politicians. They are charged with protecting our rights (all of us) and I have YET to hear one explanation from any one of them that holds any water why gays should not be allowed to marry and be given the same rights as heterosexual couples.

Gay kids are destroying themselves before they know who they are. It's devastating. The hate is being fed in the USA and it has to stop. Ellen Degeneres said, "Whenever a star comes out, one more teenager stays out of the ground." It's so true.

You are an amazing intellect and I appreciate the chance to sharpen my own blade against your ever-subtle knife.

@ apyknowzitall - You have touched me deeply with your words. You're honesty, courage to do better and learn more are such an inspiration. Thank you for your candor and heart. You represent, in the most beautiful way, why I wanted to do this blog. You are, and I have no doubt, will continue to be a great Mom.

SubtleKnife said...

Having said what I said above, my best friend's boyfriend is considerably younger than him (we could be his parents, although I would have had to give birth at age 14) and it's simply a delight to see this young man just be himself and be fully comfortable.

His parents may publish christian literature but they have absolutely no problem with their son's homosexuality.

I just wish I could buy a huge house and invite all my dear friends from all over the world to come live with me.

We could have more sparring sessions...

he gay said...

@ SubtleKnife - Which leads me to my next point. There is nothing in Christianity, when interpreted in the context in which it was written, that is in ANY WAY condemning of homosexual relations. Period. It's not just a matter of faith. It's a matter of fact. The Bible has been twisted and misused for far too long. Boring, boring, boring.

I'm packing my bags to move in Subtle. lol

xo, B

SubtleKnife said...

You are so welcome here, darling!

I forgot I was going to say this:
No, he hadn't forgotten he has a lesbian daughter, it's just that the human mind's capacity for denial borders on infinity.