As the fight for Marriage Equality continues — now with the U.S. State of Alabama grabbing headlines for the insolence of Justice Roy Moore — and the Supreme Court having announced that they will hear arguments regarding cases overseen by the 6th Circuit Court of the United States I’ve been contemplating how this all came about. There have been several groups working tireless for decades to see equal rights extended to all people within the United States that do not hold to the hetero-normative standards; without the efforts of groups like The Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders helping make the U.S. State of Massachusetts the first U.S. state and only the sixth jurisdiction globally to recognize the basic human right of marriage for same-sex couple we would not be living in an age in which acceptance and recognition of same-sex couples’ rights has expanded exponentially. And yes, while the decisions within the courts — and the rare legislative motion — have been the means through which the official recognition of same-sex marriage has come to pass, the driving force behind the rising levels of acceptance has not been driven from exclamations from on high but rather by changing the thoughts and attitudes of the general populace. For this I believe we have these most visible people for their bold, fearless leadership in driving forward proper equality for all within the LGBTQ community.
For those keeping track at home — or not but think these things are cool anyway — in the past week the United States saw
* Oregon have it’s gay marriage ban deemed unconstitutional
* Utah be ordered to recognize the 1300 marriage certificates issued to gay couples
* Pennsylvania have it’s gay marriage ban deemed unconstitutional
*Maryland passed a law banning unequal treatment of trans* people
This makes 16 consecutive rulings since the DOMA ruling that have been in favor of equality. Slowly yet surely that section of the listing ship that is inequality in the United States is being repaired. As Maryland has demonstrated, full inclusiveness requires more then granting two people in love the ability to seek equal recognition under the law.
We’ll get there. Someday soon, I hope.
Stay SINful, friends.
Less than one week ago, the NFL draft — in and of itself a terribly boring thing to watch — found itself in the center of a media blitzkrieg when openly gay player Michael Sam became the first such player to be drafted. His reaction was televised live and included a very heartfelt kiss with his boyfriend in reaction to the good news.
Some perspective for non sports fans — Michael Sam was the Defensive Player of the Year in the NCAA Southeastern Conference, or SEC. The SEC is widely considered the most competitive and elite of the college football conferences. Other NFL players from the SEC include Emmit Smith, Peyton Manning, Eli Manning, and Champ Bailey. Generally speaking, the SEC players are very good; in several recent years more NFL draftees hailed from colleges that were members of the SEC than from any other conference. Michael Sam was the best at what he did in a conference considered the best in the game. The fact that he was drafted based on talent is little surprise. The fact that he was drafted next-to-last is of mild surprise, despite the fact that several teams and high-profile players commented than his sexuality would have no bearing on his draft status. What is sadly surprising is the amount of open bigotry displayed since the airing of Michael Sam kissing his boyfriend in celebration.
Right now a Google search of “Michael Sam kiss” yields 114 million results. The first page focuses nearly entirely on the homophobic and bigoted reaction from members of various local media organizations — most prominently a female TV personality from the Dallas – Fort Worth area who became so incensed at the idea of ESPN “pushing their agenda” and giving her “no choice but to watch this kiss” that she stormed off the morning set when two of her co-hosts disagreed with her.
We have reached the odd balance point, where an openly gay potential NFL player can get drafted — and quickly generate the 2nd fastest player jersey in history — yet in the process of kissing his boyfriend in spontaneous celebration help reveal just how narrow minded large swaths of society remain. Some of the remarks have been as outrageous as “I don’t want my children being forced to see that kind of thin”, when nearly every stadium or arena has a “kiss cam” that at some point during the game will distract the fans with images of heterosexual couples in the stands kissing or being encouraged to kiss. The audacity of the double-standard is stunning.
Let us not be downtrodden, though. After all, we’ve now seen the NBA and the NFL — two of the most testosterone driven sports organizations in the United States — feature an openly gay player. This is progress, let there be no doubt, the pace of which is yet to be determined. Slowly public perception will shift and this will stop being a source of controversy. In the mean time, as Galinda from “Wicked” would say, we’ve got an awfully long way to go.
Stay SINful, friends.
As has been widely reported, in the near future there is a strong likelihood that the National Council for the Boy Scouts of America may convene, and that during this convention they would vote on a change to the national by-laws for the organization that would allow Area Councils or individual Troops to choose to lift the current ban on accepting openly gay, bisexual, and other non-heterosexual oriented men and boys. For an organization as old and as publicly homophobic as the BSA, even the potential for such a vote to swing in favor of progressive, albeit moderated, acceptance is a large step. As a former Scout, I do not think the current proposal goes far enough.
I grew up as an active member of the BSA. My parents enrolled me during my first year of grade school, and I remained a member until a combination of school requirements, poor area Troops, and an increasingly full event calendar essentially forced me to drop out. Nevertheless, I gave 10 years of my life to the BSA. I attended the weekly meetings, in uniform. I joined every monthly hike, camping trip, or canoeing trip that I could. Every summer from the time I was first eligible, I attended a week of camp. Courtesy of the High Adventure program, I spent a week in a replica schooner in the Florida Keys. Because of the efficient organization of the BSA, I have hiked portions of the Appalachian Trail, I have attended regional Camporees, I have learned First Aid, how to properly care for a rifle, how to tie elaborate knots, how to whip and fuse rope, and how to be both a good leader and a good follower. The lessons I learned as a member were invaluable, and carry with me still.
Some of the core tenets of Scouting that I learned and embraced are contained with the Boy Scout Oath. While I will not recite the entire Oath here, I will focus on the key tenets that apply to the current debate over proper acceptance of members who do not fit the hetero-normative mold. “On my honor… I will do my duty… to help other people at all times … to keep myself … mentally awake and morally straight.” Those tenets apply strongly to this fight. Allow me to break them down.
Pardon the alliteration, friends, but I’m feeling whimsical. You’ll forgive me, yes?
I stumbled this morning on an excellent piece hosted on the Huffington Post titled “For Bi Guys Thinking of Coming Out” by author Patrick RichardsFink. If you have not already, please go read the piece. Regardless of your gender or sexual identity there are some incredible insights found within the piece, particularly in dealing with the preconceptions most people still carry about sexuality and gender identity being based within the binary normative structure of gay/straight, male/female.
As I have mentioned repeatedly in my writings, I knew comparatively early in my life that I am Bi Male. Additionally, I came to realize later in life that I am also a Queer Male. In my further explorations into the roles of gender and sexual identity as parcel to development and establishing meaningful interpersonal relationships, I have had to undo the same kind of binary thinking still prevalent in modern Western society. Sexuality and Gender are not necessarily static, but may instead exist on a dynamic continuum. It is with this greater understanding, both externally and internally of the fluidity of self-expression, that led me to the belief that Bi-Curiosity is a misnomer, a stumbling block upon the path to actualization. The conversation is not as simple as there being two sides to a coin, but is instead as multifaceted as a Princess-cut diamond. This complexity requires adopting not only a new approach to coming out but also a new mindset to those still within the binary-normative structure.
Goodness, has the past week been brutal for the LGTBQ and Polyamorous communitie.
Really, why can’t we all just take heed of the wisdom of Depeche Mode?
Friday night Mrs. AP and I went to a party held annually by one of our friends. It’s nothing terribly raucous or sexy, usually, although sometimes somebody does get tied to the St. Andrew’s cross and whips and floggers come out. This year, though, it was primarily eating, drinking, and lots of catching up with friends seldom seen.
At one point Mrs. AP and I were in a small circle of people talking, and one of the other ladies was remarking how her Gene Simmon’s-like tongue often attracts lesbians, and that she’s always turning them down. She segued this into how men in earshot so often respond with “but 2 girls together is HOT!” Her response to this line of logic lately has been to turn to the guy and challenge him to go down on another guy because she thinks that would be “so damn hot,” and how the guy’s always act revolted at the thought.
Mrs. AP quipped that “that doesn’t necessarily apply to everybody at this party tonight.” This other girl then turned to me and asked “would you suck a cock if she asked you to?”
Nonchalantly, with the slightest grin forming on my face, I coolly replied “I already have.”
I don’t think I’ve ever seen a group of kink-friendly people go slackjawed so quickly in my life. Mrs. AP couldn’t stop laughing for at least 5 minutes.
Stay SINful, friends.