July 15, 2009

Teaching the "Homo-Naive"

That's what Loren A. Olson thinks GLBT people, especially older ones, should do when opportunities present themselves. He shares those thoughts as he and his partner prepare for their legally recognized wedding in Iowa. Here's an excerpt that gets to the point:

Because a wedding between two people of the same sex is inherently revolutionary, our wedding will confront all of our guests with their own values about homosexuality and same-sex marriage. Some of our friends are Baptists, Catholics, and yes, even Republicans. Although they all love us and always treat us respectfully, after they leave the reception celebration they will be asking a question they may have censored, "What will they do on their wedding night?"

As members of the LGBT community, where these questions were answered for us during the process of our coming out, we often forget that others are just beginning to examine the nature of our gay relationships. Sometimes we get reactive and are quick to judge others as homophobes and bigots, and some of them are, but many of them, like our relative, are just homo-naïve. Gay marriage can be legislated; tolerance cannot be.

Those of us who are older gay men and women, since our generation is most strongly opposed to gay rights, have a particular obligation to teach others of our generation that our relationships are just like theirs, even though our weddings may not be. We are obliged to teach them that our relationships are simply about loving another person.

I think this is wonderful advice. If someone is interested enough to ask a question, even though it may seem stupid, that can be their way of reaching across and sincerely tryling to understand what this whole same-sex marriage thing is about. As this article suggests, don't smack away that hand, reach back with tolerance of their ignorance and teach them. There's a chance they might take back what they learn and tell their equally naive straight friends. Education and living a life that doesn't "threaten' anyone are two of the best tools the GLBT community can use to bring people in off the sidelines and have them engage as allies in the fight for equality.

Click here to read the rest of the essay at The Bilerico Project.

1 comment:

  1. You got my point. Exactly. Thanks for your contribution.

    Loren Olson