What would a Six Points post be without a pop culture reference? Of course, Baby Boomers will remember the headline of this piece as the last line to the theme song from The Flintstones, an animated TV series that ran on ABC from 1960 through 1966.
In the light of the June 26, 2015 Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage nationwide, I’ll do my best to be fair and balanced on this one.
1. That word once had a different meaning:
In my parents’ time, the word “gay” was synonymous with “happy; joyous; carefree.”
If, in my time, I had said after a few drinks, “I feel really gay right now,” it would have had a completely different meaning from what that statement would have meant in the 1940s. If I had said that in the 1980s, everyone else at the table would have left.
Myself, I never thought I would be happy, joyous or carefree if I had another man’s schwantz in my butt. But, I’m not wired that way. Some people are, and they deserve the same rights we have.
2. When I was a child, I spake as a child ….
Don’t freak out with a Bible quotation from Six Points. Baptized Catholic, I went to Baptist Sunday school in Akron, Ohio in the first and second grades. Sunday school was the highlight of my week then. That was before the Baptists went batshit crazy.
I was taught we are all sinners, no matter how pure our hearts are, and Jesus came to Earth as God’s only begotten son to forgive us if we accept Him.
On the upside, I was also taught the maxim of “Hate the sin. but love the sinner,” and, of course, the Golden Rule of “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
OK, Bruce, do not put your tool in my poop chute.
And, I always thought “Mr. Rogers” was not exactly right.
3. What was the worst thing you could be?
Where I went to school, it was either gay or black. Here’s an example of one of our eigtth-grade jokes:
“Go ahead, call me a fairy:”
“OK, you’re a fairy!”
“Poof, you’re a nigger!”
In the high school I graduated from with an enrollment of around 2,000, no one “came out” as homosexual. If they would have, they would have faced four years of harassment, along with some severe beatdowns. And that school was predominantly middle and upper-middle class.
I’m sure it would have been far worse in the ghetto.
Collectively, we hated both the sinner and the sin. Only later in life did I discover the book of Leviticus, which calls homosexuality an abomination in the eyes of God, also considers touching the skin of a dead pig to be the same.
Think about that during your July 4 barbecue!
4. OK, off to college:
I remember bathroom graffiti where I went that read “AIDS: Anally Inflicted Death Sentence!”
Our bigotry had softened toward blacks, but in my milieu, homosexuality was still unacceptable. Looking back on that time, we were Schicklgruber in terms of our views toward “those homos.”
We could identify them, or we thought we could.
Once upon a time, I was kinda young and cute, and some homo propositioned me. Solution?
Three of my buddies beat him within an inch of his life.
Shit, I came from a place and time where masturbation was a sin. What else were we supposed to do?
5. And now, off to work:
I had to deal with people who were my equals, and sometimes superiors, who were homosexual.
Never mind that the American Psychiatric Association had removed homosexuality from its list of personality disorders since the late 1970s, it still wasn’t right with me.
The first “out” homosexuals I encountered in the workplace were completely stereotypical, and they reinforced my prejudice.
When you’re a lean straight white man, and a co-worker of your same gender rolls his tongue in his mouth, sticks it out, and smiles at you, you want to put your fist in his face rapidly.
Of course, you’ll lose your paycheck.
Thank you, Nancy Reagan! I Just Said No.
6. Off to work in other places:
I then went to work in another place I still miss, where you could not only take your child to work, but take your dog to work.
Charlie (not his real name) happened to be gay, and he was an excellent account executive. I didn’t even know he was gay until someone told me.
In fact, we had advertisers who were aimed directly at the gay community, but they were served not by Charlie, but by a straight man with two children.
Charlie had brought his big mix of God knows what it was to work, his dog liked me, and my dog, a huge mix of black Lab and Rottweiler, liked him.
And, as professionals, we respected and liked each other.
As human beings, can’t we also respect each other as long as we don’t intrude in each other’s space?
Extra Point: Different Wiring Is No Abomination
I’m left-handed. I’m wired that way.
In childhood, I had my left hand slapped when I picked up a pen or pencil with it. It was not considered “normal” to be left handed. I’m not kidding.
It took me over 40 years to accept that homosexuals are not subhuman, but just simply not wired the way I am.
I got a break. It took about eight years for people to accept I’m left-handed.
Left-handed or right-handed, straight or gay, my rights as an American citizen should be the same whether I’m in Ohio, Alabama, or anywhere else.
Finally, apologies to my female readers. I’m straight.
Two-Point Conversion: Let Them Marry
In 2004, Kenneth Blackwell, Ohio Secretary of State, got an issue on the ballot to prohibit gay marriage in Ohio. It passed by about a 60-40 margin, and with the social conservatives it brought out, delivered the election to George W, Bush.
Now, it’s 2015. An amendment to Ohio’s constitution on the same issue would most likely fail by a 60-40 margin. Gay rights is the fastest sea change on an issue in American history. In one generation, we realized some of us are, just, wired differently, and we accept them. And, in many cases, we befriend them.
To my friends on the right, the government will force no church to perform gay marriages. If Bruce and Jeremy want to get married in church, the United Church of Christ will gladly perform the ceremony, and I’m sure the Unitarian-Universalists will. The conservative Baptists most likely will not. And, those Baptists should not, and will not, be forced to perform same-sex marriages.
The separation of church and state works both ways. As it should.
We heterosexuals have proven we can fuck up marriages enough. Let them have their turn.
And, imagine the hilarity of Divorce Court in five years with Bruce and Jeremy fighting over the Hummel plates!