Sunday, March 31, 2013

Freedom? That is the Question.

“Things which are equal to the same things are equal to each other. - We start with Equality.” Daniel Day Lewis Quoted in Lincoln.

It’s ironic isn’t it? As I sit on a plane somewhere across the Atlantic Ocean en route to England; I watch a film based on the abolition of slavery. It’s terrifying to think that in our very recent history… the history of America the great, home of the brave, men and women, brothers and sisters, children and more were beaten at the relentless hand of white powered heartless superior-stated Americans. We the people of the United States of America murdered… no… slaughtered innocent lives based on the color of their skin. It sickens me. The hatred that must have seeped through the veins of both parties is incomprehensible. The whites hating because of their self-initiated supremacy; believing that only they reigned over high. The anger emitted by African- Americans (please take note of that second word, for it is the MOST IMPORTANT), rightfully so for the way they were treated; the fear that was forced inside their souls for decades. I can’t even begin to imagine. I’ve never faced anything to that extreme.

Think forward to the days where women fought to be considered equal and to no longer be the property of their husbands and fathers. The days where women protested for their own rights, despite the ridicule and public defacing they experienced. Often I have asked myself what I would have done had I been alive during these times. I believe I would have fought. I believe that as a young woman in Tennessee I would have ran as quickly as my shaking legs would have taken me North across the Mason Dixon line, to join forces with the men in blue during the Civil War. I believe I would have picketed side by side with the women who longed for their own equality, fighting for the right to vote. I believe that as a young lesbian I would…

Oh. Wait.

That’s not the same is it? No one is beating me. No one owns me. I am free to come and go as I please. Yet as a racially equal, gender equal American Citizen I am denied the same rights of others of my same stature, because I am gay. 

Now, let’s talk about the elephant in the room here… or shall I say on the plane. Most people who are “homophobic” – a word I hate and I’ll explain why later – often feel that way because they fear the unknown. They’ve either not met anyone who is gay, have met someone and had a poor experience with it, or were taught to hate by their family or religion.

I’ve never met anyone with purple hair. Black, yes, red, of course, even pink. I’ve known quite a few people with pink hair. But never purple. You see, purple hair is unnatural. It is against what “God” intended. If he wanted us to have purple hair, he would have created us that way. Now some people will read this and nod their heads up and down thinking “exactly”. Those are also probably the people fore mentioned as homophobics. The truth is, according to the bible God made many miracles happen. Jesus Christ himself healed the blind. Who is to say that never in his water to wine days did Jesus ever turn someone’s hair color to neon purple? I didn’t write the bible so I wouldn’t know. Then again, let’s think about who did. The Bible – the number one selling book in the history of the world – was written by man. A few of them actually. While I believe in a higher power and the faith of love and kindness, I do not believe that disciples were consumed by God like Issac Mendez on Heroes, eyes glazed over decoding and reporting word for word his thoughts. Even if that were possible, the bible has been translated at least a dozen times. One of the most well known translations is the King James Version. This version, was taken from Hebrew to English, and picked apart by a King. It is widely known that the King even “left out” parts of the bible in js own interpretation. I’m sure when the “Word of God” reflects the way you want to rule, it is much easier to keep your country in check.

I’m not saying I’m a history buff. I’m a twenty-four year old woman who grew up in arguably the smallest town in Tennessee as a Southern Baptist. I also happen to be a lesbian. I don’t know how much you know about the bible belt, or how Southern Christianity views  the gay and lesbian community, but I wasn’t exactly accepted by the majority. In fact, standing in the middle of church one day I was called out by a speaker who considered himself a prophet and was told that I was going to hell. That me or one of my three closest friends would wind up in a pine box for our sins. Now, I’ve read the bible and I distinctly remember a part where it says that all sins are equal. If my being in love with a woman is a sin, then does that not make it equivalent to any lie told no matter how big or small, any adultery, or idolizing. Wouldn’t it be consider just as much of a sin as what a politician does every day? And how about any time that the church keeps secrets in order to protect it’s members. If you have ever coveted a person, thing, or idea then you too are sinning equally to how a gay person might be sinning.

You might not know me. You might not know anyone who is gay, but what you can believe is that they are people just like you. Being gay doesn’t make us monsters. It makes us the minority, who like many before us have suffered at the hand of ignorance and hatred. We are equal. Our love, our faith, our pride, our heart, our drive, our fear, even our sins are equal.

Now maybe you have met someone who is gay. It’s possible that person was a jerk and that your experience wasn’t so great. Guess what? There are straight people who suck too! People can be rude, obnoxious, inappropriate, inconsiderate, awkward, as well as down-right mean. That is a show of character, not their sexuality. They didn’t act out because they were gay. They acted out because they were cruel and had poor intentions. That has nothing to do with who they love. In fact it has more to do with whom they don’t love, and trust me - it’s mainly their own self. It’s difficult to go through life feeling unwanted, unaccepted and discarded. It is a tiresome fight to walk every day with your head high just struggling to be yourself – and be accepted for it.

Maybe neither of these are the case. In some instances people hate gays simply because they are gay. Because their family taught them to hate. Often Religion plays a strong part in this learned hatred. The mistranslation of the bible and God’s message has taught us to trust words and not our hearts. It’s taught us to believe in hatred and not kindness. To discriminate and not accept. No one has asked you to be gay. No one expects you to pick up, and rally at every event promoting Gay Marriage. All I ask is that for a moment you think back to the history of our nation.  At one point, there were strong political leaders who still believed that slavery was acceptable. One by one, people - AMERICANS  -stood up and fought this horrible misuse of power. Discrimination is the real abomination here. Not love. It doesn’t matter which genders it is between.

Homophobia isn't a disease. It is a mental state of mind. The only cure for it is understanding. That is often followed by love. I have hope for our country and for our future. I have hope that we will have the equality we wish, but that will take time. Just like it took time before to solve all of the other pressing issues of discriminatory nature. 

My heart is full of passion tonight. I might be on the other side of the world, but my heart is in America. My faith is in our country and in us.

I encourage everyone who reads this post to send it to five other people. You can print it, read it out loud, tweet it, post it on Facebook, etc. But if each person sends it to five other people, then maybe three of those five will send it to another five as well. Every step towards change is exactly that… a step. One foot at a time. One person at a time. It’s our time to stand up and change history. To fight for what we believe in. It is up to us to make the life we’ve always dreamed of. Free. Happy. Honest. Loved.

So… are you too embarrassed to stand up? Too scared? Or are you taking the motion to feel alive in the freedom of speech that we have so graciously – not without great pain – been blessed with? To stand up for your brothers and sisters; fellow Americans. To support equality for all…

Now, I’m off to enjoy England. I’ll de-board the plan in about three more hours; setting foot on another country’s soil. It will be interesting to see what our history could have held. I’m excited. I’ll be in touch!

Remember me,

I’m Tennessee

No comments:

Post a Comment