My article regarding Chick-Fil-A in the Huffington Post definitely made some ripples in the social networks. A few hundred shares and comments later, people were alternately praising and critiquing my point of view — something I love to hear. Sparking debate is more important to me than being followed by a choir of “yes” people.
A few commenters on Huffington Post decided to call me to task for my perceived “insensitivity”:
It is really surprising to encounter the tone deafness of such gay activists and advocates. They seem dead set on supplying their own fantasies for others stances, ideas and positions rather than hear all of what people are saying….They will not understand that others are free to hold their own perspectives about the issues that concern them.
To this I respond with cold logic – saying that “X group of people deserves X right” whereas “group Z does not deserve X right” is simply not a point of view that is embraced in America, not legally and not culturally (post-the gains and struggles of civil rights). It simply is not valid – not under the 14th Amendment, and not in the court of public opinion. Why should I accept such blatant double standards and bigotry inequality here?
The response I would receive got me livid.
Because many Americans do not see the validity of relationships codified into marriage between two members of the same gender. The discomfort is elemental…
There is no common sense acknowledgment of the major societal paradigm shift these changes entail, which constitute social upheaval for some. …It is also nonsensical to expect persons who do not understand these relationships to endorse their codification into law and support their equivalence to traditional marriage.
While I support marriage equality, I do not support the demonization of those do not, or the high handed rheteroric of people with the same human frailties of those with different views.
Besides the hetero privilege that this post smacks of (I didn’t even include the “scarcity of ’shrewd’ that he said LGBT activists suffer from), this article belies one major question: why should we, as LGBT Americans, as allies, as forward-thinking citizens, care?
When the Supreme Court, through Brown v. Board of Education, desegregated schools in 1957, they did so against the will of a very angry white populace. The brave adolescent pioneers, the “Little Rock Nine”, went to school under armed guard among taunts and spit of an angry mob determined not to change their status quo. They were given no option but to suck it up and deal with it — all of the laws attempting to “slow” integration would be thrown out, and the South would be integrated, whether the white communities liked it or not.
This is the attitude we must take as activists. I don’t give a damn about the “monumental paradigm shift” that my oppressor is going through, why should I? It is laughable that I should be expected to respect the “sensitivities” of people who are actively advocating my second-class status. It is unconscionable to me that I should be called upon to “be shrewd” when I can’t even expect to keep my job in all 50 states, much less get married.
Nor do I expect to be popularly supported — civil rights gains have historically come from the courts, and almost never from the ballot box. I wouldn’t expect the masses to “understand” or advocate for rights they may oppose. But I am not going to attempt to “understand” a point of view that would deny me my rights any more than I would try to “understand” a real estate agent trying to explain why I was “bad for the neighborhood”. The “No Homo Day at Chick-Fil-A” mindset is a mentality — hetero, good; gay? shut up! — which simply does not belong in American social discourse in 2012 (about any minority group), and must be battled at every front.
I will not respect the mindset of the person who refuses to see me as equal to himself.