I've grown up learning that calling someone queer when they're gay isn't proper. There were a few occurences associated with that last week.
1. I was talking with a guy in his late twenties who's running for planning commissioner. He and I sat side by side and listened to a young woman talk about being a lesbian and struggling to be treated as an equal to others in America. Her speech was heartfelt.
My table mate was the next speaker. He began by saying, "I just want to say that people of my generation think it's stupid that gays, lesbians, bi-sexuals and transexuals are still fighting for their rights. We have heard about this all of our lives and it just doesn't make sense to us. There's no question that they deserve the same rights as everyone else."
I hope he speaks for his generation.
2. My neighbors from across the stree were present. They're in their 80s and come from small Missouri towns. We talked about the equality issue. The man said, "I don't believe I knew there was something like homosexuals until I was in college. I just never heard about it and I never gave it a thought."
His wife said, "I don't think I learned about homosexuals and lesbians until after college."
Both were surprised and chagrined about it.
3. Talking with another young man, I think he's about twenty, later last week, who is gay. Sorry, I'll still use that term. He told me that he and his friends are calling themselves queers. They're taking the word back as a matter of defiance.
It reminded me of U2 in concert. Bono says, "This is a song Charles Manson stole from the Beatles. We're stealing it back." They then played Helter Skelter.
They're stealing it back. It's a changing, complex world. I hope I can keep up. I hope that there is some day when our world and nations aren't still trying to decide who is equal and deserves equal treatment based on their place of birth...race...religion...sex...sexual orientation...ethnicity...age...or anything else people can find to use as a basis to discrimate.
Maybe someday, there will an entry on the calendar that says, "On this day in history, the President of the United States signed the Equal Person Amendment, recognizing that all people are created equal, with equal rights that cannot be denied by another, for any reason."
I hope we all live to see that day.
Causes Michael Seidel Supports
Kiva, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Propublica.org, Doctors Without Borders, GreaterGood.com