As I write this ten days have passed since the Supreme Court of the United States granted to same-sex couples throughout the Republic the same legal benefits and responsibilities of civil marriage available to straight couples. I have written previously of why I will not wave the rainbow flag and my views on marriage, and about the attitude and actions of many gay people chasing down alleged ‘rights’.
I’d like to speak now of why I think many gay people, rather than feel grateful that the culture at large has become supportive of us, instead feel compelled to force those few folks who do not support gay marriage or gay relationships to either change their minds or pay in dollars, ostracism and loss of basic liberties.
Students of the history of WWII know that the pink triangle, like the one depicted above, was the badge of identification and disgrace forced on gay male prisoners of the Nazi regime. It was worn to identify our status, not only to prison officials and guards, but also to other prisoners. Estimates of how many gay men were officially sentenced run as high as 50,000. As many as 15,000 are known to have been sent to the concentration camps. The death rate at these camps for all prisoners was as high as 60%.
At the start of the modern gay rights movement gay men and lesbians embraced the pink triangle as a badge of honor rather than the disgrace the Nazis intended it to be. It was a way of identifying with the past, identifying oneself as gay to others in the know while not drawing negative attention, and it was a way of saying ‘no more’ to oppression and intolerance.
Today, gays and lesbians need no pink triangles. Our culture has dramatically changed. For that, I for one say “thank God”. No more does being gay mean one must have a target on one’s back, either for potential death or even for social ostracism. Intolerance or denial of the basic humanity of gay people is recognized by most folks as silly, irrational and mean-spirited. Are there some who would deny this dignity? Of course. Hate will continue until God steps in to say ‘enough’.
There are, however, people who seek more than simple recognition of and respect for this dignity. Though they speak of ‘tolerance’ and ‘liberties’, they instead hope to force the minds and consciences of those they believe are less than fully ‘tolerant’. By that they mean anyone who would deny gay people, to their own minds, the identity they feel so ‘proud’ of.
To merely be ‘tolerant’ is not enough for many folks. If one is not to be called out as a bigot, fined or even lose ones livelihood, one must support us in our choices, our relationships, and our ‘identity’ as gay people. One must not merely give us our dignity or leave us be, one must embrace all that is ‘gay’. More, to be truly ‘gay supportive’ one must wave the rainbow flag, shout one’s sex activity and one’s romance to the roof tops, and despise anything that falls short of total love of all things ‘gay’.
I for one do not subscribe to this absurd notion of pride and identity. My identity is not caught up in what gender I am attracted to. My identity is not dependent on a biological urge I am unable to change and is beyond my choice. My identity is formed by my choices. If it is within my capacity to choose and if it is something I have chosen to value THAT is what forms my identity, not some random and irrelevant biological factor like my hair color or my sex drive. For this reason I have no use for ‘gay pride’.
How or why would I feel pride for something I have not chosen and is beyond my control or decisions? I am the sum of my choices, my ideas and my values. The “I” in “I am” is all that I recognize as important and all that I wish to be valued and evaluated for. My sex drive and sex acts certainly do not fit the bill.
The gay men and lesbians who would sue to force another to labor for them, or because someone will not give them a job, seek to deny self for what they see as that larger purpose. They hope others will do the same. They say “I want to be treated like everyone else’ yet those ‘everyone else’s’ are NOT gay.
What these gays and lesbians want is for the person behind the counter to ignore their gayness so that they can get that cake or that job. In that very moment that they do so they deny their own identity. They blank out on the role that their orientation, up until that point, has played in their lives, and yet their entire identity vis that cake or job is wrapped up in WITH the gender of the person they are attracted to or bed.
No wonder hearing ‘no’ makes them feel so hurt, angry and ‘oppressed’.
Though they argue that all they seek is ‘equal treatment under the law’, what possible right or reason does the law have in saying ‘you must labor for this person, or else’? What possible right or reason does the law have to say ‘this person has a right to this job’?
Though they say that they do not care if others are accepting or respectful of their orientation, the fact that they would couch their arguments in ‘civil rights’, ‘protected class’ and, most noticeably, in ‘tolerance’ and ‘acceptance’ belies such a claim.
No, gays and lesbians who run to government for protection of their ‘right’ to a cake or a job are not seeking ‘equal protection’ nor civil liberties.
By speaking of ‘tolerance’ and ‘acceptance’ while using the law as blunt instrument, they seek to take back from the florist, photographer or potential employer that which they feel has been denied them. They seek the ‘fairness’ of their identity, orientation and values being treated as exactly the same as those who do not share their orientation, their identity or their values. They seek to have their values, identity and orientation validated by government, by ‘the public’, by the local florist, and by any random passer-by.
Without their gay identity, after all, what else is there to ‘self’?: “Why won’t you like me for me?”…”like me for my gayness or else”.
They would thus deny gayness and, more critically, deny self in order to have that same self validated by others.
For folks such as these, identity is not defined by how they see themselves but by how others see them. When someone sees them as ‘gay’ first, and customer second, and would deny them the ‘right’ to the second, the shock to self is too much to bare. They are no longer the same as everyone else. Suddenly, they are the dreaded ‘other’. They are the secret, loathsome gay self they always feared, resented and long wished to deny.
Observe that when telling their stories of such ‘oppression’, inevitably gay folks who have responded with lawsuits speak not of feeling indignant, or perhaps amused or even angry, but rather of how ‘humiliated’ and ‘small’ they felt. They speak of feeling like they were back in their closets.
Since up until that point their sense of identity has been so focused on ‘gay’, the fact that this identity would prevent them from being treated like any other employee or customer leaves their shocked selves with no option but to deny the reality of their gayness in order to get a cake. “Treat me like you would if I were not gay”.
Those who define their identity not by random things beyond their control, like their sexual orientation, but rather by their own choices and their own chosen values feel no threat to self if another does not wish to associate with them. They stand with pride in their choices and values. If another does not respect these they walk away and seek out those who do. They certainly do not feel deprived of their rights because someone will not bake a cake. They simply find another baker.
Gay folks obsessed with ‘gay pride’, ‘acceptance’ and ‘tolerance’ do not have this basic insight into identity. Sad. They are not proud of their own identity. If they were, they would not be so quick to deny it or their gayness in order to get a cake.
They seek the acceptance that they have not yet found for themselves and they hope to force people to give to them – somehow. They feel if they sue and win that their identity, sense of self and their dignity has been validated – by others. The concept of a self sufficient identity eludes them. They are unable to form identity by anything beyond the gender of the person they have sex with and by how others perceive them. They have never identified their own values beyond some nebulous thing called ‘gay’ or beyond how others define them.
One is reminded of children on the playground feeling hurt and angry, crying because someone does not like them. Though out politically, emotionally these gay folks have never left their own closets.
In the concentration camps we were forced to wear pink triangles to identify us. We were denied our humanity and our chosen values. We were denied our identities as individuals, stripped down and identified by merely the gender of the persons we screwed.
It is sad. Some folks do not seem to want to leave the camps.