Thursday, January 28, 2010

The road to acceptance

Wow, it's been almost a week since I last posted.  Not totally unprecedented - A couple of years ago I went an entire month without posting on my blog.  I didn't even look at my blog or comments nor did I look at other blogs during that month.  I was starting to worry that I was becoming addicted to blogging; so, I just wanted to prove to myself that I could stop if I wanted to.

Anyway, no such grandiose reason this time - I just haven't had anything to say.  I actually have a few posts I started - but decided against posting.  Maybe some time in the future I'll share those thoughts.

I have to confess, I didn't really watch much of the State of the Union address last night.  I started to watch it; but, I got bored and decided to read the synopsis in the morning newspaper.  So, instead, I watched American Idol which was recorded on our DVR.  They showed the Dallas auditions last night - which actually took place in Arlington (the home of the new Cowboys stadium).

I received the Log Cabin Republican's formal response to the SotU address via email.  The entire response can be found here; but, what I did find interesting was their response to how President Obama addressed DADT (which was not mentioned in our local newspaper - go figure)
President Obama in his address Wednesday night specifically advocated for a repeal of the discriminatory 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy, which he has reiterated on several occasions both as a candidate and as the President. In an alarming contradiction to his stated public policy position, President Obama has instructed his Justice Department,  to fight the only lawsuit in modern times challenging 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' of which Log Cabin Republicans is the sole plantiff.

“Again, President Obama calls on Congress to do one thing, yet he instructs his Administration and his Justice Department to take the opposite action. Which way is it, President Obama?"
I know a lot of my blogging friends voted for Barak Obama and continue to support him after his first year in office; but, I just don't think he is the friend of the gay community that everyone hoped he would be.  Not suggesting that John McCain would have been better - but, at least, we would have known where we stood.  President Obama seems content to just keep kicking the can down the street on GLBT issues rather than doing anything of substance.

All of this talk of DADT has caused me to reflect on how much I've changed over the last 20 years or so.  When the DADT policy was first introduced in 1993 by then President Bill Clinton, I sincerely believed it to be a sign of the end of times.  I could not fathom why anyone would want homosexuals to serve in the military.  I really was quite homophobic - but, I think I was trying to convince myself more than anyone else that I wasn't gay.

Jump ahead to 2000 when the US Supreme Court ruled that the Boy Scouts of America can legally discriminate against someone if they are gay.  While I was still several years from accepting my own homosexuality - my position had softened considerably.  Although I was serving as an adult scout leader at the time, I did not support the BSA's ban against homosexuals - even if they did have the legal right to.  I felt they should leave that decision up to the chartering organization.  If an organization did not want gay scout leaders (like the LDS church, for instance) then let them enforce the ban.  But, if a chartering organization didn't have a problem with homosexuals then why should the BSA?

When the topic of same sex marriage first came into the mainstream public consciousness, I did not support 'marriage' per se - but I did support civil unions.  At the time I believed that marriage had a long historical basis as being between a man and a woman.  I had no problem granting gay couples all of the same legal rights as a married couple - I just felt that they should call it something else.  I believed this even when I started this blog a little over 3 years ago.  I've since evolved into "if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck - then it's a duck" sort of philosophy.  If we are going to grant gay couples all of the same legal rights and privileges as a heterosexual married couple then there is no convincing reason to not call it 'marriage'.

So, I've been on this road to discovery for quite some time.  Along the way I had to first shed my homophobia before I could begin the process of accepting myself as gay.  I had to learn to accept other homosexuals before I could accept myself as a homosexual.

And so my journey continues - I wonder where it will take me?


Other Species said...

I'm rather torn, because I think DADT protects homosexual soldiers from undue homophobia from the less tolerant crowd. However, I don't like any policy that actively encourages hiding one's sexuality, as I am a victim of having to do so myself.

Anonymous said...

We are evolving in similar ways as I could totally relate.

Where will you end up?

If we continue on similar paths, it make take you here:

I found I conquered one area at a time and each area had it's own unique issues that resulted in my making discoveries about myself that brought about sometimes dramatic changes in my personality.

(for instance, I discovered when I came out at work that I was not born shy but had at a very young age developed a strategy of avoiding closeness with others as a means to protect myself)

It is no longer "them" versus "us". People are just people; some good, some bad.

(I use to be comfortable being openly gay only around other gay people)

I now judge a person based on the content of their character instead of their orientation.

(I was always aware straight people were judgmental about gay people but it never occurred to me that I also being judgmental about straight people)

I am most comfortable around "gay positive" people, regardless of orientation.

(I no longer limit myself to the gay community which seems like one big closet now)

(My current worldview is that most people are either supportive of gay people or could care less and that only a relatively tiny minority would hurt or reject me. This is in contrast to my previous worldview that focused almost exclusively on those that would hurt or reject me)

My evolution, like yours, has taken me from intolerance to tolerance and now to integration which is still ongoing.

Integration to me means no longer focusing on my sexuality because it is has become so much a part of my life; it's stays more in the background now instead of the forefront.

By the way, I don't think this process of evolution is unique to gay people.

I went through a similar process as a person of color.

In other words, I think this evolution is perfectly naturally response to the hurt inflicted earlier in our lives.

Where I think lots of people get stuck is wanting the "bad folks" to acknowledge the hurt inflicted but the "bad folks" won't. So, instead of healing, you stay angry and resentful.

To get unstuck you have to forgive, but not forget, so you can get on with the healing.


Abelard Enigma said...

Other Species - If they eliminate DADT, a person could still choose to remain closeted to their fellow soldiers. The difference is that the choice is theirs rather than the choice being forced upon them.

Phillip - As always, I appreciate your insights. I think you are spot on about getting hung up on wanting people to acknowledge any hurt they've caused.

Other Species said...

This is where it gets sticky. I am acquainted with many in the armed forces circles and in the various conversations I had with them, there is the looming fear that repealing DADT might cause a mass exodus of straight men who might be a little unnerved to be serving with people different from them. Hearing such speculation is rather disheartening, but it's sadly plausible.

Scott said...

A friend of mine who is in the Army was sitting through a meeting with a few hundred other soldiers) receiving instruction on several items, including sexual harassment policies and DADT. Several in the meeting wondered why DADT was necessary and the higher-up that was presenting argued that soldiers shouldn't need to worry that their fellow soldiers were going to hit on them.

"Wouldn't that be covered under the sexual harassment policies you just went over?", several inquired, and from what my friend said, nearly everyone attending seemed to agree.

Everything I've heard has indicated that there is massive support within the Armed Forces for the repeal of DADT.

Philip said...

Other Species: "there is the looming fear that repealing DADT might cause a mass exodus of straight men who might be a little unnerved to be serving with people different from them."

I wouldn't be surprised if the same fears were expressed when the military was racially integrated.

We could probably learn a lot by contrasting fears expressed back then with the fears being expressed today.

As far as I know, there was not a mass exodus of white men who were a little unnerved to be serving with people different from them.