Sunday, May 11, 2014

Three in One

Last night, I wrote this on Joe.My.God.:
"What an amazing day. That's all. Just what an amazing day. I mean, when you grow up as the queer, faggy kid in the '50s and '60s in the wilds of eastern Lancaster County, this kind of thing still just blows me away. Good for our young folks who see today's 3 events as being great and about time. To me, it's just so unbelievable. What I was given to look forward to was a short life and an eternity in hell. Things like this...I couldn't even dream about them. And now breakthroughs in weddings, music, and football. Excuse me, please. It's the vapors."

The weddings refers to the first day a southern state -- Arkansas -- legally performed same sex weddings in Eureka Springs.  The music refers to Conchita Wurst winning this year's EuroVision -- probably not the first gay winner, but certainly the first gender fuck winner.  And football refers to Michael Sam winning a spot on the St. Louis Rams -- the first openly gay man to go into a football team; gay men have come out after their careers, but Michael is the first to enter the profession not hiding his sexual orientation.

In a way, it's a good thing that gay young people see this as a "well, why not?" kind of thing.  Good for them.  I like that such achievements are practically a given.  I do wish, though, that they had a better understanding of why this is such a big fricking deal.  And that these incredible "firsts" should happen on the same day is such a big deal.

I don't recall her name, but a woman once observed that she looked forward to the time when there was no longer a need to point out "the first woman to...", that it will just happen.  I look forward to that being true for gay people, too.  Right now, however, it's so important to observe such events.

Same sex marriage in Arkansas?  I remember the first days of integration at Central High in Little Rock in 1957, three years after Brown v. Board of Education.  Not that I was in Little Rock, but I remember the photos of African American teens walking up to the school with people screaming their ignorant, hateful, racist epithets, refusing to understand that "separate but equal" is a lie.  Separate but equal is why Jack and I will not accept the stupid offer of civil union and won't marry in a state where marriage equality is the law but not honored where we live.  It has to be real, it has to be the law of the land, or it means nothing.  We committed to each other decades ago.

Conchita Wurst?  When was the last time the world saw a bearded man in a dress sing a song that may well become an equality anthem?  I have no idea if Conchita is gay, and it doesn't matter.  His courage to appear as he is, singing a song he believes, gets my absolute respect and joy.

US football has pretty much become the US religion.  Change has come slowly in our sports.  I don't care for sports, so I don't know a great deal about it.  I DO know Jackie Robinson was the first African American to appear in US sports.  I DO remember the yelling and booing he got and the fracas over allowing black men in football and basketball.  And yesterday we saw the first openly gay football prospect be drafted into an NFL team.

It's likely that not-gay people don't understand the accomplishments, the victories that took place yesterday.  Any one of these things would be remarkable; that three such important victories took place in one day completely surpasses anything I might have thought even a decade ago, let alone when I was a kid who knew he was different but didn't know what that meant.  "Our" kids are coming out at younger ages, and good for them.  Many of them know they'll get the support that, unfortunately, is still needed.  "Our" kids will take yesterday in stride...they'll know it's important, but they won't know just how important it is to "their" elders.

Equality.  Nothing more.  Nothing less.

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