Tagequality

‘When You’re Accustomed to Privilege, Equality Feels Like Oppression’

“When you’re accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression.”

And things started making a little more sense to me. All this anger we see from people screaming “All Lives Matter” in response to black protesters at rallies. All this anger we see from people insisting that their “religious freedom” is being infringed because a gay couple wants to get married. All these people angry about immigrants, angry about Muslims, angry about “Happy Holidays,” angry about not being able to say bigoted things without being called a bigot…

They all basically boil down to people who have grown accustomed to walking straight at other folks, and expecting them to move. So when “those people” in their path don’t move — when those people start wondering, “Why am I always moving out of this guy’s way?”; when those people start asking themselves, “What if I didn’t move? What if I just kept walking too?”; when those people start believing that they have every bit as much right to that aisle as anyone else — it can seem like their rights are being taken away.

Every issue has two sides. It’s important to understand and acknowledge where the other side is coming from if you hope to ever bridge the gap.

How far we haven’t come

Recently, my wife and I visited the Newseum. I revisited the Berlin Wall exhibit. Going through it, I also watched the video about the reporters responding to the 9/11 attacks. Seeing the antenna from the top of the World Trade Center and parts of the debris brought it home.

Our history is not that old. The Civil Rights movement is only 50 years old. And still ongoing. The Berlin Wall fell in 1989. The September 11th Attacks were in 2001. Our country’s pain is not old.

There was an extensive photo exhibit from John F. Kennedy’s photographer and a great video montage of his brief presidency. He was before my time. But he was not in the distant past.

Our history is real and living. It affects us today. We do not live in a bubble. We are influenced by our past. We get to build our future into what we’d like it to be. It’s a future that will have many amazing events and people. It will be filled with terrible times and people. It will mirror our past.

History doesn’t feel real from the pages of history books or television programs. History feels real when I can reach out and touch the Berlin Wall. I can imagine myself living beneath the watchful, murderous eye of the tower guards. To live apart from family and friends. To not see loved ones for decades. What would that feel like?

The Civil Rights Movement. It’s not a done deal. It’s the start to a long, hard road. A road being walked by those who want to love who they want. Isn’t that what everyone wants? Everyone wants to be loved and to love. Everyone wants to live inside their own house and their own lives.

There are lessons the past has to teach us. But instead, we insist on re-learning the same
painful lessons. We’ve done a pretty terrible job of allowing everyone to share the rights of straight, white men. I don’t remember anyone voting for my right to marry. Rights are not a finite resource.

Women have to fight for equal rights.
African-Americans have to fight for equal rights.
Gays have to fight for equal rights.

Our history is not a collection of old, dead stories from books. Our history is now. Our history is yesterday. And tomorrow is a new chance to write it.

Question 6 has passed.

My Fellow Marylanders,
Thank you. Thank for you allowing people to marry those they love. Thank you for voting yes on Question 6.

You have changed lives tonight. You are affirming the good decision to allow people to marry those they love and to have civil rights and protections afforded by marriage.

I am extremely proud to have been a single vote in this measure passing. I am extremely proud to have played a small role in allowing people in my state to enjoy the same benefits of marriage I have been able to enjoy just for being a straight white man.

Thank you Maryland.
Thank you voters.
Thank you all.

Marriage Overturned

The United States of America held a vote last night and all heterosexual marriages and no longer valid in the country. As of this morning, no marriage is legally recognized.

What does this mean? It means you’ve lost all these rights.

  • No more health benefits for your spouse. They better get on their own insurance at work? Oh, they stay at home? Well, better go out and buy insurance.

  • No more visitation or decision-making rights if they are hospitalized, you’re not really family after all.

  • No more tax benefits. Time to start filing separately.

  • No adoptions. It’s not right for a child to grow up in a home like that.

  • Prepare for more harassment at school and the workplace (if you got a job) because it’s not a hate crime to harass and bully you for being you.

This is your new reality. This is the world you’ve awaken to. This is everyday.

This is not the world heterosexual couples live in. This is not reality for many people. But it is reality for same-sex couples. This is the life they life in and the unjust system they live under.

Just as African-Americans won the right to vote, the right to marry and even to be considered people many years ago, the same battle is taking place across the country and in the world now.

For homosexual couples, they face the same legal and moral battles African-Americans faced and still face in parts of the world (and our country) today.

I look forward to the time when we look back on the ridiculousness of same-sex marriage (and even using that term) that we do on interracial marriage.

It’s not right to deny people the rights and joys of marriage because of an arbitrary reason such as skin color of sexual orientation.

We are moving backwards

I have heard too much and I can’t remain silent any longer. I am not a political person. I do not protest. I do not demonstrate. I am not occupying anything but a chair at my work place and a bed in my apartment. When a friend shared her thoughts this morning, I decided it was time for this good man to stop doing nothing.

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.
Edmund Burke

Women’s Rights

We made so many positive strides in this country towards equality. Women have struggled for equality, the right to vote, and the right to make equal wages. Now there is a War on Women in this country.

There have been repeated attacks on Planned Parenthood. Rush Limbaugh’s slut comment fanned the flames.

This comic puts it very succinctly. Women want to have the same rights as men. They are not second class citizens which exist solely to serve the men of the world.

African-American Rights

African-Americans have been on the same road towards equality. Their long road started many years ago.

Rosa Parks began was a lightening rod for a bus boycott that changed minds and changes lives. Martin Luther King Jr. gave a speech that forever changed the world.

For all the good done and legislation from the 1960s, there is still a very long road ahead. When Rodney King was attacked and beaten in 1991, to the Cincinnati Riots in 2001 are just instances in a long history or racial violence in the United States.

Events like the recent shooting of Trayvon Martin proves there is still a very long way to go on their road to freedom.

Gay Rights

This brings us to homosexuality. I don’t understand why this is such a problem. We have not come very far at all.

It took people like Matthew Shepherd, and Dan Savage’s It Gets Better project to bring attention to the issue of inequality and start the wheels in motion for support and legislation to make things right.

Same-sex marriage is an ongoing struggle with states slowly coming around in support of something that never should have been unsupported.

The military repealed Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell earlier this year. But legislation doesn’t change people. President Obama has declared a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month in addition to ending Don’t Ask Don’t Tell but has stopped short of fully supporting gay marriage.

Ever since the beginning of the struggle for same-sex marriage to be legalized, marriage between a man and a woman been said to be under attack. I don’t even understand how that makes sense. How does people of the same gender being married have anything to do with the marriage of other men to women? It goes so far as the newly formed National Organization for Marriage is trying to drive a wedge between blacks and gays. This is the same group behind the Dump Starbucks campaign because, according to the site,

On January 24th, 2012, Starbucks issued a memorandum declaring that same-sex marriage ‘is core to who we are and what we value as a company.

Will they go after Ben & Jerry’s next for their relaunch HUBBY HUBBY as Apple-y Ever After in support of marriage equality.

It is not all bad news. Recently, more than half of Americans support marriage for everyone. There is still a long road ahead for equality for everyone.

Rights are not a finite resource.

There is not a finite amount of human rights to go around. Granting equality to everyone is not going to diminish the rights of anyone else.

White men are not going to be any less free if Black men have rights. Men won’t be any less free is women have rights. Straight people won’t be any less free is gay people have rights.

There is plenty to go around. We are not going to run out if we allow everyone the same rights under the law and in our country.

Those who oppose equal rights for everyone tries to frame the conversation to their advantage. You know what the difference between same-sex marriage and different-sex marriage is? Absolutely nothing?

You know what the difference between gay marriage and… what, ungay marriage? Is that why nearly 50% of ungay marriages fail?

Marriage is just marriage. There is no difference.

What do straight people lose in their marriage by allowing gay people to marry? Absolutely nothing.

If you’re so afraid for your own marriage that other people getting the ability to marry, then your marriage is in trouble and that is no one’s fault but your own.

The only people who should be concerned about a marriage are the two people in the marriage. Marriage is between two people. marriage is also a lot of hard work, communication and acceptance. There are also legal benefits that come with marriage being denied to hard working citizens.

I don’t understand what is so wrong with preventing other people from being married? Can’t they have the same chance to ruin half of their marriages as well? Can’t they be with loved ones in hospitals or dictate what happens in the wake of their spouse’s death? What is so wrong with extending these rights to everyone?

Biology & Equality

Gender is not a binary, yes/no system.
Biology doesn’t support gay marriage bans. Humans are not the only animals that exhibit homosexuality. The opposition is coming mainly from religion and the religious abandoning the Christian tenet of love thy brother and do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

When did it become in fashion to hate people who are different from us, just because they are different? It seems many of the people who lead the homophobic charge lead a very different life.

Equality for everyone

All people should have the same rights. The rights won’t run out if we pass them around. The rights won’t diminish or dilute when they’re extended to everyone.

In the end, we all just want what’s best for ourselves in our life. Why should the iconic kissing sailor from V-J Day in 1945 be any different from this kiss in 2011? Sailor and soldiers away at sea excited to embrace and kiss their loved one.

Equality does not start with national speeches or legislation. Equality starts with small, simple acts.

Patrick Rhone says it best,

It is about being able to have a seat on a bus.
It is about being able eat a sandwich at a counter.
It is about being able to enter a raffle so you can be the first one to kiss your girl…