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Religious Freedom?

The Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act passed through the state Senate yesterday by a vote of 40 to 10, thanks to the heavy Republican support.  The act will allow individuals and businesses to refuse services on the grounds of their personal beliefs.  It basically legalizes discrimination against LGBT individuals.  Supporters of the bill state that the bill is actually just strengthening the 1st Amendment rights of freedom of religion.  The bill is currently at the House of Representatives for debate and vote, where I hope it dies.

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I am 100% in favor of freedom of religion.  I do not enjoy being told what I should or should not believe, and I imagine the rest of the world feels the same way, regardless of their religion or lack thereof.  What boggles my mind here is that my state wants to give the green light to businesses to boldly discriminate against LGBT individuals and couples while hiding behind a religion they may not even be that serious about.  This opens a door for hateful people to simply be hateful, denying services to others for the simple reason that they don’t agree with who they love, sleep next to, and spend their life with.

This bill is not protecting anyone’s freedom of religion.  This bill is destroying equality for every individual who chooses to live outside the norm of “man marries woman.”  This bill is hurting people who simply want to be free to be who they are.  This bill teaches children that being gay is not okay.  It sends a message that the LGBT community is less than the rest of us.  It sends a message to all that the popular belief is homosexuality is wrong, is a sin, and all who identify as such will be going to hell.

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I don’t want to live in a world where I can go get a coffee, have my haircut, and get a massage while someone else who happens to be gay can be refused those services over what they do behind closed doors.  In a world where we worry about the rights of recently released prisoners, who have raped and murdered and done unspeakable things, why are we so preoccupied with sexual orientation?  How does anyone else’s sex life affect us personally?  I don’t agree with polygamy, but I sure as hell don’t oppose it.  It’s not a choice I would make, but I’m also not affected whatsoever by any polygamous couple anywhere.  Their daily life has no impact on mine.

We need to come together and accept that being gay, transgendered, or bisexual is a fact of life.  I was born straight.  Others are born gay.  Some are born in the wrong body.  Some are gender blind.  We can’t help the way we are born.  A gay person cannot help being gay any more than I can help being a woman with brown eyes of average height.  Hate, on the other hand, is something we learn.  We are taught that certain things are wrong.  We learn to detest characteristics and choices people make.  We build a hatred towards things we don’t understand.  THAT is what we need to work on changing.

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This issue is as important as the issue of racial equality, if not more so, as sexual preference doesn’t stick to certain races or nationalities.  People would be outraged if a business refused service to every Hispanic person that came through their doors, yet we are going to be okay with the same business refusing service to a lesbian couple?  These are foolish and stupid things to judge people on and it needs to stop.  My husband pointed out that it wouldn’t be okay for a business run by a gay person or people to refuse service to straight couples, and if a bill was passed allowing this to be done, people would be enraged.  No matter what the discrimination is, be it skin color or religion or orientation, we should be doing all we can to fight against it, not be passing bills in support of it.

Some may argue that this is needed because children shouldn’t be “exposed” to certain things.  I grew up knowing what cross dressing was, understanding that different people have different skin colors, knowing what being gay meant, and accepting different religions and social/economic differences.  I am a better person for being exposed to so-called harmful things.  Drag queens aren’t going to go away, so what’s the harm in your child seeing one and asking a question?  If you want to argue that it’s inappropriate, then you better start shielding your child from Kim Kardashian, every 20-something during the summer, Facebook, Instagram, TV in general, The Walking Dead, professional wrestling, public places, college, popular music… you get the idea.  When it comes to harmful influences, the label of GAY doesn’t automatically qualify as harmful.

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We need to stop acting as if being gay makes someone a bad person or an affront to any god.  We need to stop calling it a perversion, as we all know that straight people can be more perverted than can be imagined; being into unusual things isn’t based on whether you are gay, straight, or bisexual.  We need to stop thinking that pedophilia is something exclusively affecting the gay community and sticking that perverted label to them.  We need to stop being such assholes, plain and simple, denying basic human rights to people based on things that are none of our damn business to begin with.

I currently have and have had gay friends (and family members), straight friends, bisexual friends, confused friends, slutty friends, repressed friends, and every type in between.  The only time the love/sex lives of any of them affected me is when a friend of mine decided to bang my boyfriend at the time.  Otherwise, they do them and I do me and everyone is happy as pie.  Unless someone is being a nuisance about something, I’m not bothered.  Who they sleep with, pray to, or what country they would travel to if they wanted to visit ancestors is of no concern so long as they are a decent and honest person.

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My mother once told me that if I ever brought home a black man, she would disown me.  One parent among many who will turn away from their children based on who they love.  One person among many who think its acceptable to deny rights, goods and services, or even kindness to another based on characteristics that don’t define character.  My son will likely grow up unable to say that he lives in a world where an LGBT individual receives the same rights and privileges as a straight individual.  In a country that loves to proclaim it’s the land of the free and of opportunities, how utterly pathetic is that?

 

 

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Who We Love

Week after week, month after month, the post that consistently gets the most views on here is one I wrote about the pros and cons of same sex marriage.  It was written sarcastically, with the cons being silly things that people either speculate will happen (the sanctity of marriage will be destroyed) or things that are actually pros (same sex couples would earn the same rights and privileges as heterosexual married couples).  “Pros and cons of gay marriage” is the search term that directs the most people to my page as well, beating out every other topic I’ve ever covered.  While I’m happy that it’s on the minds of many, I have begun to worry a bit that there is a need to do research on the good and the bad that could come from legalizing same sex marriage across the board.

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Whenever I think about my own marriage, one thing that never comes to mind is the way other marriages are affecting my own.  The simple truth is that my marriage and everyone else’s are two separate and independent things.  Not once have I ever been positively or negatively affected by another person’s union.  My marriage becomes no less real when someone gets divorced for the 5th time or when two women say their vows under the moonlight.  My marriage is no less real when two loving men get married, nor is it less real when a woman marries a man for the sole purpose of getting her hands on his bank account.  I don’t care why two people choose to get married because not only is it none of my business, it just doesn’t affect my life, family, or personal happiness.

What does affect me is the sad fact that same sex marriage isn’t legal in this country as a whole, nor it is legal in many places around the world.  It affects me because unless things change, I will not be able to see some of my friends have weddings they deserve in the future.  They won’t be able to do so many things that I can easily do with my husband.  They are barred from these things because their union makes people uncomfortable.  It’s immoral in the eyes of many because the bible says so.  It’s feared because of outdated notions on what love and marriage are.  It’s wrong to so many people for reasons they don’t even understand.

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There is no reasons for a pros and cons debate when it comes to same sex marriage because there are no cons.  What, it makes you uncomfortable?  The woman popping her gum in the hallway at work this morning made me uncomfortable, so can we legally ban her from chewing gum in public?  It goes against your religious beliefs?  No one is forcing you to marry someone of the same gender or attend a gay wedding, so I’m unsure of how your beliefs are being affected.  Gay marriage will destroy the country?  Legal or not, women are loving women and men are loving men.  Nothing has been destroyed yet by that and it sure as hell won’t be destroyed if we just bite the bullet and let everyone get married.

While I do worry that the pros and cons are searched so often, I do hope that it’s being done because people are slowly coming to accept the fact that the right thing to do is to make marriage legal for all consenting adults, regardless of gender or preference.  Interracial marriage was once looked at as critically as same sex marriage is.  With the exception of a small group of idiots, we now look at the idea of making interracial unions illegal as silly.  In the future, the idea of same sex marriage being illegal will also be a ridiculous notion.  But how long do we have to wait to get to that point?  How long do we have to make couples wait before they are no longer made to feel as if their love is wrong?

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If you don’t support it, that’s your right.  Don’t go to certain weddings, alienate certain people, and do whatever makes you happy.  Post Facebook updates expressing your displeasure, write angry blogs, and leave comments on news sites.  But don’t think you have the right to control what others do with their lives.  Don’t think it’s okay for you to control who someone else marries and loves.  Don’t selfishly wonder how it’ll affect you if two men say their vows and the state recognizes that union.  The rights that leave you free to believe what you want, worship who you will, and say what you wish are the same rights that should allow any same sex adult couple to get married.  Stop wasting time searching for an easy reference pros and cons list and just let people live their lives.

No More DOMA

Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines marriage as between a man and a woman, was ruled unconstitutional today by a vote of 5 to 4.  This means that the federal government will now recognize same-sex married couples as married and deserving of the same rights and privileges that are afforded to heterosexual couples.  The 5-4 decision read: “DOMA violates basic due process and equal protection principles applicable to the federal government. Under DOMA same-sex married couples have their lives burdened, by reason of government decree, in visible and public ways.”  This is amazing news for legally married gay couples who have been denied marital benefits, as well as for couples who wish to marry and for our nation as a whole.  I cannot imagine how happy they must be, but i know that I myself am ecstatic!

I encourage you all to get online, turn on your televisions, talk to friends and coworkers, and acquire as much information as you can about this historical ruling.  Unfortunately, this decision does not mean that gay marriage is now legal; it is still illegal in about 80% of our country.  But this is a huge step in the right direction.  This is a turning point and it means that there is one less obstacle standing in the way of loving couples who want nothing more than the marital bliss and benefits that I enjoy every day.  This is a sign that we are slowly but surely coming around.  This is a fantastic day.  Go celebrate, but don’t forget that we still have a lot of work to do.  But with this ruling, my hope is through the roof.  I see great things in the future.

Blurry Lines Between Boy And Girl

I read a story today about an adorable little girl named Coy Mathis.  She is a first grade student at a school in Colorado and made the news because school officials will no longer allow her to use the girl’s restroom at her school, telling her that she must instead use the boy’s bathroom, the nurse’s bathroom, or one of the gender neutral facilities that are available.  Michael Silverman, the lawyer retained by the Mathis family, stated that the school is targeting Coy for “stigma, bullying, and harassment.”  For now, Coy’s parents have chosen to home school her until they can find some sort of resolution that will appease them and their daughter.

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The little girl in question here is transgendered; she has identified as a female and dressed as one for over a year, but has male sex organs.  Her passport and state issued identification both list her as female, but at her most basic, she is still a he.  The school made their decision because of the impact it would have on other students and their families for Coy to be in the girl’s restroom considering her physical differences and the fact that we have separate bathrooms for very specific reasons.  Attorney W. Kelly Dude said that the school is adhering to the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act by not keeping her from attending any classes, by referring to her as a female and allowing her to wear female clothing, and by allowing easy access to other facilities, including the gender neutral ones.

This is a tough situation to look at, as Coy is the same age as my own son and not quite old enough to fully grasp what is going on here.  For her, the thought process is likely “I act and dress and feel like a girl, so I get to use the girl’s bathrooms.”  Unfortunately, the physical differences between Coy and the other girls in the school are more than enough to justify the need for separation.  These are very young children who are barely comfortable with their own body, never mind one of the opposite sex, and not yet ready to handle the complex structure of the LGBT community.  They need to be educated of course, but the level of exposure should be strictly controlled and monitored by the parents until the children mature.

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Coy’s parents state that she began gravitating towards pink and sparkly things at 18 months of age after first taking notice that she was definitely different.  The parents were at a loss until Coy finally told them that she was “really a girl.”  Jeremy, the father of Coy and four other children, said that the revelation didn’t change anything, but simply clued them in to who she truly was.  The parents also state that Coy claimed “the school is just being mean to me.”  They have told her that the school’s proposal for the use of alternate bathrooms is unacceptable, especially since the nurse’s bathroom is for people who are ill, not for students in good health.  Kathryn, the mother, is home schooling all their children because of the school’s decision and because the school “may know a lot about teaching reading, writing and arithmetic, [but] they know very little about teaching tolerance.”

I sympathize with the entire family and hope that they are able to find a way to resolve this that makes them all happy and comfortable.  I also understand that the school’s decision must have been a difficult one, but in this case they did make the best call that they could think of.  Short of assigning someone to ensure a completely vacant girl’s restroom prior to Coy using it, there was no other way to protect the other students and protect Coy other than keeping her out of bathrooms assigned to females with female sex organs.  It’s incredibly unfortunate but it was the quickest way to resolve the situation in the the least disruptive manner.  It was also not a decision that was said to be final; the parents could have easily suggested an alternate route that would appease all parties.  Instead, we now have children schooled at home and unable to properly socialize.

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I support equal rights for us all.  I think it’s of extreme importance to educate children and to ensure they grow up with an open mind so they do not unfairly discriminate against any person or group.  I try to show my son a variety of people and stress that we are different but we are all important people who deserve respect.  That said, I do not want my son in the girl’s bathroom, nor do I want female’s in his bathroom, regardless of how they are dressed and what gender they feel like.  He is far too young for me to begin explaining what it means to be transgendered; he was confused enough after catching a glimpse of RuPaul’s Drag Race and why “the lady sounds like a man.”  When he is ready to understand and learn, I will teach him,  Until then, I don’t want him exposed to certain things and as a parent, I get to decide these things.

If the school was trying to be malicious or discriminatory here, they would not have agreed to refer to Coy as female, nor would they be okay with a boy dressing and acting like a girl.  They could have also argued that a 6-year-old is too young to know that their gender is incorrect and therefore should not be allowed to pick and choose.  Instead, they chose what they thought would be the best way to protect all students by restricting the restroom use with the most basic criteria; boy parts equal boy’s restroom, and girl parts equal girl’s restroom.  It’s not ideal, but neither is a six-year-old trapped in the wrong body.  Nothing about this situation screams sunshine and happiness.  The school did what they thought was right and proper.

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In continuing to allow Coy to use female facilities while still physically being a male, the school opens a dangerous door.  What happens when Coy reaches puberty but is still in a dress?  Are we willing to have faith and assume that this sweet child will continue to be a sweet pre-teen and teenager and be respectful, or can we acknowledge that we don’t know what this child will grow up to want and err on the side of safety?  The child’s sexual orientation is not an issue yet, but will be once puberty begins.  I would not want my daughter to be using the same restroom in school as a male student, regardless of what they look and dress like.  I wouldn’t want to risk the very real possibility that some sort of sexual crime could result because of this, be it as serious as rape or an accidental indecent exposure.  I don’t want other students thinking they can change their wardrobe to get access to areas that are restricted to them because of their gender.  I don’t want to open those doors.

It’s a shame that things can’t be cut and dry and that Coy can’t freely use the girl’s bathroom because she identifies as a female.  It’s a shame that the bad behavior of others and the irrational fears of certain people means that schools and similar organizations have to put the wants and needs of many over the wants and needs of one or a small group.  It’s a shame that we have to work so hard to protect the innocence of children, especially when it comes as the expense of another child.  In an ideal world, Coy would be treated as a female 100% in every possible way.  Sadly, Coy is a little boy.  A 6-year-old little boy who is years away from knowing who she is and what she wants in life.  She may be spot on with her desire to be female or she may be going through a phase.  We don’t know and even she may not know completely, not just yet.

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We have to be respectful of Coy and allow her to embrace life as a female, but we cannot do it when it puts others in any type of danger, physical or mental.  Until we progress to the point where people don’t act as if the LGBT community is tainted or sick, we have to be respectful of parents who don’t want their young children exposed to it until they are older and matured.  We have to be respectful of the very reasonable fear parents have of allowing a male in a bathroom with females.  We have to allow schools to make certain hard decisions and respect those decisions when they are correct, even if they upset us.  The Mathis family is understandably upset, but what they have to grasp is that the school made the best call they could.  Unless they have a better idea that protects everyone, they should not be critical.

In my lifetime, I want to see discrimination against the LGBT community (and elsewhere) come to an end.  I want all consenting adults to have the right to marry who they choose, I want hate groups to vanish, and I want to see people judged on character and not on who they fall in love with.  But until we get to the point where we are all understanding and tolerant, we are going to run into problems like the one Coy and her family are facing.  One day, I hope schools will be properly equipped to handle a transgendered student in a way that doesn’t exclude them or make them feel different, but we’re not there yet.  Not even close.  But the positive side of this is that the school was obviously trying and obviously understanding.  We should focus on that and begin to build on it.  We’ll get there one day.

 

Unchained

My husband and I spent the better part of our Wednesday this week playing catch up on movies we had missed in the theater and on one movie we nearly missed seeing on the big screen.  Thanks to some free Redbox codes, we were able to rent both Taken 2 and House At The End Of The Street to watch at home.  House, starring Jennifer Lawrence, was sadly not as scary as I had hoped.  The plot was interesting enough; a mother and daughter move in next door to a home where a grisly double murder occurred and where the brother of the deceased parents still resides.  We learn the history behind the man’s younger sister who killed her parents and soon discover that there are more secrets than the townspeople could even imagine.  Unfortunately, it fell flat for me at the end, but it’s worth a watch if you have some time to kill.

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Speaking of killing, Taken 2 kept Liam Neeson quite busy keeping his family safe from the vengeful families of the men he murdered in the first film while rescuing his daughter.  The nice thing about this film is that you get exactly what you expect going in.  This time around, his daughter is spared from capture while he and his estranged wife are taken instead.  My one issue with this film was that it seemed to fly by too quickly.  The running time is just over an hour and a half, but it felt like it had come and gone in under an hour.  When the final battle came to a close, I found myself asking if that was all there was.  Then again, I can never get enough of Neeson kicking ass.

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For our theater pick, we decided on Django Unchained since we had previously been unable to get to the theater to catch it because of our lack of baby sitter options.  I am a huge fan of Quentin Tarantino and was even more excited about this film due to the buzz surrounding it; it seemed that he had managed to top Inglorious Basterds with his latest project.  I was also very happy to see Christoph Waltz back in action as Dr. King Schultz, the man who grants Django his freedom and helps him find his wife and become what can only be described as the biggest and baddest character to grace our movie screens in recent times.  Leonardo DiCaprio was disgustingly perfect as plantation owner Calvin Candie, Samuel L. Jackson was on top of his game, and a cameo from Jonah Hill had us cracking up in our seats.  It was a brilliant movie.

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Unfortunately, like any piece of entertainment that addresses a touchy subject, Django Unchained has its share of critics.  The main complaints revolve around the opinion that Tarantino went too far and either glorified or made a mockery of slavery in this country.  The dreaded n-word is used over 100 times in this film by characters who are either extremely racist or extremely sensitive to racial equality.  Django is “Hollywood’s ni**er joke which reveals the inner game of how the Hollywood studio and the plantation slave institutions [have] exploited black people.”  Fellow director Spike Lee even says the film is disrespectful and refuses to see it.  I personally know at least two people who will not see this movie due to the manner in which slavery is depicted.  I’m obviously not a fan of slavery, but I wasn’t about to go into this movie thinking it would be offensive or expecting anything disrespectful to cross the screen.

Django Unchained does indeed show a very harsh and cruel world where black people are less than white, where people are bought and owned, and where skin color is more important than personal character.  The violence is over the top bloody and gory, the lowest class of black people are treated worse than animals, and the manner in which human lives are discussed is enough to make anyone cringe.  But while the story is fiction, the roots are planted in reality and in our history.  No doubt, people were treated much worse than we saw in Django and attitudes towards people of color were much worse than the film showed.  Even now in our modern age, people exist in this world who would go above and beyond the way Candie treated his slaves.  No one can ever honestly say that slavery was a pretty thing.

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The thing about Django Unchained that makes it great is that it doesn’t just show us a world where slaves are suffering and whites are either happy to allow it or too afraid to do anything to stop it.  Django, in his quest to find his wife, becomes a force to be reckoned with and respected as he moves out of his former role as a slave and becomes not only a free man, but an independent being who is able to overcome any person and rise above any situation, always emerging victorious.  He quickly separates himself from passive black men, carrying himself as if he were white and as if it was expected of him to be in charge and assertive.  His partner, Dr. Schultz, proves himself to be both educated and understanding of why slavery exists, yet still heavily in favor of equality among the races.  He is a man of honor and respect, two things that never break or even waver at any moment.

With the aid of bold comedy and over-the-top violence, Tarantino gives us a story that isn’t afraid of its strength and ability to shine.  It’s not simply a matter of black and white either, which you tend to see sometimes in fictional depictions of slavery.  There are very distinct levels that a black person can exist on.  From being a lowly slave confined to a field or a mine, to female slaves who work as maids and cooks, to females used solely for their bodies, to men used for entertainment purposes, to achieving status close to a wife or trusted friend, we see the wide variety of ways these slaves were viewed and used.  It was complex and incredibly interesting to see how Samuel L. Jackson’s character was able to run his mouth like a sailor to Candie while other equally black men could not so much as make eye contact or speak unless spoken to.  Whether they would admit to it or not, these slave-owners had respect for many of their slaves, even if it was just based on what they could bring to the table.

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If I was forced to nitpick and find something about Django Unchained to be offended by, it would have to be the unexpected strange shot of a very private part of Jamie Foxx as he hung upside down by his ankles.  The depiction of slavery was not offensive in the least, nor was the overuse of the n-word, and I think that if the film’s critics would just give it a chance instead of writing it off before viewing, they would be pleasantly surprised by what they see.  If you’re not a fan of Tarantino, you probably won’t be too keen on the outlandish bloody special effects, but you will find it impossible not to be enamored by Christoph Waltz, who deserves every award in existence for his performance.  If the only thing holding you back from seeing Django Unchained is the slavery argument, I highly recommend you put those feelings aside for a few hours, relax, and enjoy the show.  It’ll be well worth it.

Becoming Gay

I recently read about Timothy Kurek, an evangelical Christian from Nashville, Tennessee, who lived a full year of his life as a gay man.  His decision to do this came after a friend came out to him about being a lesbian and how her admission resulted in being shunned by her family.  He stated that his first reaction was to try to convert her, a thought that disgusted him.  His disgust at his feelings was so strong that in 2009, he made the decision to step into her shoes and live a year of his life as a homosexual.  He came out to his family, secured a job as a barista in a gay cafe, and convinced a friend to act as his boyfriend in public.

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The experience, which is documented in Kurek’s book The Cross In The Closet, changed his views on religion and faith while teaching him “what it meant to be a second class citizen in this country.”  His church, like many, condemns homosexuality and opposes gay marriage; it is a sin for a man to lay with a man and for a woman to love a woman.  Kurek states he was taught to believe that gays were all HIV positive perverts who he should fear and avoid.  This twisted type of education results in closed minds and irrational fear that keeps a massive group of wonderful people from having the same rights the rest of us are afforded.

Kurek stated that his mother would rather be diagnosed with cancer than have a gay son.  I can recall my own mother having similar thoughts while I was growing up.  Neither my brother or myself are gay or showed any signs of being gay, but she would always make comments about what her reaction would be if we were.  She would be horrified and embarrassed, she would get us therapy, she would rather us have a disease, and she wouldn’t accept what she called a decision, not something we were born with.  I can understand a parent being afraid, as homosexuality is still looked down upon by many and can result in violent discrimination, but to say you would rather have cancer is just terrible.

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Kurek’s experiment was very extreme and something that most of us wouldn’t ever dream of doing.  It was a drastic way of educating himself and thankfully it seems to have paid off, as he has a new understanding of homosexuals, of religion, and of himself.  His choice is not being well received by everyone though; Emily Timbol published an article on Huffington Post discussing how Kurek was wrong in his choice.  Her main issue with what he did is that he lied to everyone in order to learn what life is like for a gay man.  She went through something similar when her friend came out to her, but rather than pretend to be gay, she decided to educate herself without compromising her identity.  She states:

“My experiences changed me. They also changed my family, who have since decried the discriminatory attitude many Christians hold toward gay people. It wasn’t easy, and like Timothy, we lost some friends along the way. The difference is that those friendships were not lost over a lie. They were lost because some people couldn’t handle the fact that I was straight Christian who grew to love the gay community. That never changed. While Mr. Kurek might say the same, his love was never based on honesty. The importance lies in the sincerity. Every interaction I had was real, because I was me, and my gay friends were being themselves. No pretend.”

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I respect Timbol’s opinion, but I also disagree.  Yes, he lied about his sexuality, but the relationships he developed and the experiences he went through were not lies.  They are something he will carry with him for the rest of his life and they are things that will hopefully help others understand and become more open themselves.  It’s great that Timbol was able to change her mind by educating herself and attending events such as Pride parades, but that isn’t enough for everyone.  Each of us is different and each of us has built up different barriers when it comes to the gay community.  What works for one will not work for another.

It’s not realistic or logical to expect every person who views homosexuality as a sin to pretend to be gay in order to gain an understanding of what life is like for a homosexual and why the discrimination makes no sense, but it made sense for Kurek.  As a religious person, it must have been near impossible to become what he was taught is a sinner and to be that sinner for a full year.  I’ve seen people who are fully accepting of the gay community become uncomfortable when two men display affection or when they find themselves in a gay karaoke bar, so I have no doubt it was an incredible challenge for Kurek.  His experience changed his views and will hopefully change the views of many others.

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Gay isn’t going anywhere.  It’s ignorant to expect a gay man to ignore who he is and love a woman, just as it is ignorant to expect a straight woman to ignore her love for a man and seek out a woman for a romantic relationship.  I applaud Kurek for seeing that what he was taught about homosexuals was incorrect and for taking steps to correct his beliefs and outlook.  Everyone who still holds onto the belief that homosexuality is wrong should take a step in the directions Kurek and Timbol did.  It doesn’t have to be something extreme that would jeopardize who you are and who people see you as, it just has to be something that will shock your system and force you to learn and open your eyes and mind.

Hate and fear comes from ignorance, and we cannot be ignorant if we are educated.  Just about every downtown area of any city has a district that is classified as gay, so why not take a trip down there with friends and grab a drink or a bite to eat?  Expose yourself to a new community and see that they are no danger, that a gay man isn’t out to hit on every man he sees, that women won’t grope you in the restroom, and that there is no real difference between you and them.  No one should be judged on the gender they fall in love with; gay or straight doesn’t make a person good or bad.  If your belief system states it is a sin and you are unwilling to compromise, that’s fine, but be content in silently praying for people instead of shunning them and hating them for it.

imagesWe are all cut from the same cloth.  Regardless of whether you believe we are here because God made us or if you believe we slowly evolved over time, we all come from the same place and are all made of the same material.  Our judgment should be left for those who are cheating on their spouses, abusing their children, injuring and murdering others, and engaging in activities that are honestly harmful and repulsive.  When it comes to the homosexual community, our time should be spent learning, understanding, and accepting.  No more time needs to be wasted in hatred and discrimination.  It’s time to stop.

The Real Pros And Cons Of Gay Marriage

With the fuss in North Carolina, the world seems to be totally focused once again on the issue of gay marriage.  It’s time we put this issue to rest.  Past time we do so actually.  To make it easy, I’ve decided to go over some pros and cons of same sex marriage and its effect on our society.

PRO:  All consenting adults who are in love and desire to be married will finally be allowed to do so.  Same sex marriages, which are now only recognized in certain states, will be recognized as legal nationwide.

CON:  All heterosexual couples who are or have been married will be shamed and embarrassed once the divorce rate plummets after same sex couples, who appreciate the chance to marry better than anyone, show the world what “til death do us part” actually means.

PRO:  Same sex couples will be able to receive the legal benefits that straight married couples are entitled to; tax exemptions and filing statuses, exemptions from taxes on property left to the spouse after death, certain government benefits, health insurance and visiting rights, family benefits such as joint foster care rights and joint adoption, and more.

CON:  Same sex couples could take advantage of the benefits heterosexual married couples already have; they could run wild adopting children in need, take too many visits to the doctor now that they have health insurance through their spouse, and receive tax breaks that current married couples already receive, leaving less money for the rest of us.

PRO:  It would be a major step forward for our country in ensuring all citizens have equal rights and no one is discriminated against based on things such as race, gender, religion, sexual preference, disability, and other factors that don’t determine a person’s self worth and contribution to society.

CON:  Allowing same sex couples to marry cheapens the institution of marriage and destroys the sanctity of marriage because God disapproves.  Yet, God is fine with quickie marriages such as the Kardashian 72 day affair because although they broke their vows, it was at least between a man and a woman.

PRO:  It could be a huge step in ending discrimination against the gay population by acknowledging that a same sex couple is no better and no worse than a heterosexual couple.  The legality of same sex marriage could potentially usher in a change in the mindset of the general population and an acceptance of same sex couples.

CON:  Legalizing gay marriage could make homosexual people more comfortable in their own skin, resulting in countless US citizens deciding to come out and let their family and friends know of their orientation, flooding the country with homosexuals.

PRO:  Children with same sex parents would finally be able to see their parents make their relationship official and get married.  It could also result in the child’s peers becoming more accepting of the “unconventional” family structure, making life much easier for the child.

CON:  If two men or two women are allowed to marry under the eyes of God, He could strike us all down with lighting, bring on a plague, flood the world for a second time, or take vengeance in some other way.  It could equal the end of days for us all.

Hmm… even after laying it out there, I’m still not sure what to believe.  Maybe we’ll never know if it’s okay or not for gay people to marry.  It’ll have to remain a mystery.

NOTE Oct 16 2013:  This was meant as a sarcastic look at the issue.  My opinion is that there are zero cons to allowing same sex marriage nationwide.  If you look at the issue honestly, there are no downsides.  Thanks for stopping by!

Lady Boys And Manly Chicks

My husband posted a tweet on Thursday saying “Sorry transgender lady. Just because you feel a male “identity” does not make you a man. No penis, no manhood. #science.”  His comment stemmed from a story regarding a transgender woman who had yet to complete her gender reassignment surgery but was living as a man; she wished to be placed in a male dormitory but was denied due to the fact that she is not quite a male just yet.  Our society is still pretty critical of the transgender community and I was surprised that Chaz Bono didn’t receive more criticism than he did for joining the cast of Dancing With The Stars.  There’s something taboo about changing your gender, much as there is with being homosexual, and it can be quite difficult for a transgender person to be able to find a comfortable place in society as they undergo their major life change.

It is a frightening thing to learn that you are trapped in the wrong body; a male stuck inside a woman’s form or vice versa.  For them, it’s not a case of being gay or straight but a case of being born the wrong person.  I can’t imagine the frustration of being told to wear a dress and date boys, then being told you’re a lesbian, all when you are truly a straight man who loves women but is stuck in the wrong form.  Thankfully, we have hormone therapy, gender reassignment surgery, and counseling to assist in the transition, allowing a person to gradually assume the gender they rightfully are.

With all our advances, the genital surgery still isn’t perfect.  We can do a lot of things, but no doctor would be able to give me a penis like my husband’s and give him a vagina like mine and have both new organs work as well as they did on their original owners.  I can’t say for sure since I’m not transgender nor have I ever had the desire to be a dude, but I think that if I was told that my new penis would be sufficient, but would lack certain function and sensation, I’d tell the doctor to let me keep my fully functional and sensitive lady bits.  I wouldn’t want to be given something that didn’t work as it should, nor would I want to sacrifice sexual satisfaction with my partner when I’m already living as a man and satisfying her with what I’ve got.  Ideally I’d say, yes doctor, build me a penis!  However, if things that are important to me are going to be sacrificed, I’d hold back.

Another reason for holding back on the last step of gender reassignment and waiting to get your bits tucked in or added on to is the price tag.  Surgery is expensive and recovery time means time off from work.  Not all of us are fortunate enough to have the disposable income and vacation days to get this done.  Not all of the transgender community still has the support from friends and family, which could mean recovering from surgery alone and not having help getting to and from the hospital.

Finally, they may just be happy with where they have gotten and have no need for the genital surgery.  Getting to the point where you are living and feeling like the gender you identify with may be enough without going 100% and getting the full surgery.  The journey is about finding yourself, finding happiness, and finding your identity, and if it is done prior to the full surgery, then so be it.

The problem with not going 100% with the surgery is that you’re not truly the gender you desire to be, and that is the problem the woman in college ran into when attempting to live with the men.  It isn’t fair to the other men to have to share facilities and living quarters with a woman when they are paying to live solely with other men.  They have the right to be separated from their female counterparts, and the same goes for women who face a similar situation with a male living as a woman who wants to integrate fully with them.  I’m totally in support of rights for transgendered people and totally against discrimination, but their comfort shouldn’t come at the expense of others.

If a man transitioning to a female runs into me in a public restroom, chances are that I won’t care; I generally don’t see other people’s no-no bits when I’m trying to pee and I’m not in the restroom to examine people.  If I’m in a locker room, however, and Julie next to me lets her dick out while getting changed, I’m throwing a fit.  I’m in the women’s locker room because it’s penis-free and if Julie wants to be in there with me, she needs to stay securely tucked or get changed in a stall.  If I’m going to a women’s overnight fitness camp and Julie and her penis want to tag along, I think it becomes an issue.  Julie isn’t the woman who I signed up to cohabitate with and get fit with and I shouldn’t have to spot a guy while he benches 100 pounds, then have him spot me with his dangly bits too close to my forehead.  It’s not right.

I’m being a bit crude with my terminology on purpose.  This is not a matter of equality and discrimination, it’s a matter of certain activities needing to be separate when it comes to the sexes.  If you’re not 100% boy, you can’t participate in certain things, such as living in an all-male facility.  Imagine a female, who is transitioning to male and has done everything but genital reassignment, being sent to a male prison.  Rape and violence is bad enough without giving inmates a new guy to mess with who has real working lady parts.  To send this person to a female prison instead is not a matter of discrimination, but of safety and security.  It’s doing what is right, not what makes you comfortable.

If we make it acceptable for a dude in a dress to have all access to ladies only areas, can you imagine how many perverts are going to go snag a wig and a dress to get a peek at some lady parts?  On the other side of the coin, what about ladies borrowing pieces of their brother’s wardrobe in order to peek at some man meat?  The rule can’t become “if you can pass for this sex, you are this sex” because it opens the door for countless abuses.  What a person feels is important and what they identify with is as well, but what they ARE is what matters when it comes to matters involving the privacy, safety, and comfort of others.  I have all the respect in the world for those out there who are choosing gender reassignment because that journey can’t come easy.  I also think they must understand that being transgender is to be stuck in a sort of limbo where you’re in between sexes, and that limbo doesn’t grant you exclusive rights under the sex you want to be.  Until you go all the way, you have to find a way to exist in that limbo, and hopefully the rest of society will refrain from being ignorant idiots as you do so.

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