Sunday, May 12, 2013

Being Gay Part Three: From the Sunnyside up of the Lollipop.

    'Things always getter worse before they get better'. I've heard this phrase so many times its not even funny. It's not funny because its completely and entirely true. Although there is a certain bit of painful irony in this phrase no matter how unintentional. We of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex identities think of equality, full equality as the light on the other side of the harrowed woods. As an openly gay black man (yes we exist even though there's only like fifteen of us) I can say with confidence that the light on the other side is only guaranteed by the people who have worked for it.  The modern African American community is drastically different from how our forefathers and foremothers envisioned it. For better or worse this is because of what we as a community have done and what choices we have made and what trends we have allowed to turn into staples. 

I've been reading a lot of articles opposing gay marriage that are attempting to approach in a secular rational way despite still being structurally flawed. I won't link them or mention the website because if you will probably read them on your own anyway or already have. Sensible bullshit is so much fun to deconstruct because it actually requires me to use some brain power. Sure it's just a toned down secular version of the constant sputtering of 'the gays are devoid of morals and evil! EVIL!' but it is still fun to me. It's like when you get a gift from your grandparents that they thought was the hip and latest thing but you know it's just a knock off of the real thing. So in this post I am going to breakdown the arguments against gay marriage, gay adoption and if I can get fit it in transgender issues as well. Brace yourself ladies, gents and non gender normative folks. It's gonna be a rough one!

1) LGBT Marriage Creates a Genderless Society- Surprisingly enough I've heard this argument more from women than i have men. It baffles me because I think to myself 'has rigid gender roles and identities really helped you ladies all that much?' It's much like a black man during the 1960's arguing that desegregation would result in a raceless society. But getting to my point, yes marriage equality removes gender codified language from marital law. It defines marriage as one consenting adult and another consenting adult. A usual trope of anti-gay marriage promoters is that this will lead to polyamory marriages because we are removing the limits to which marriage can be defined. There is this assumption that when you allow gays be legally married anything goes. This is rooted in the other idea we are the other, the moral less, hedonistic other. We aren't. But there is no factual evidence besides false equivalencies. This argument boils down to mostly 'if we allow X then we can't stop Y!' This is assuming X is something so completely different from the norm. If you can't see the difference between two gays getting married and a woman trying to marry his cat or six year old niece you have more pressing issues than what I do with another consenting adult.

2) LGBT Parenting Destroys the Family- Your first thought is probably how we 'How?'. Well to sum up one talking point gays being able to adopt means straight couples will get passed over in attempts to create politically correct statements. Secondly gay men using surrogates is like human farming and makes children a commodity robbing them of. a link to half of themselves. The same can be said to lesbians using sperm donors. Oh I'm not done yet this talking point then goes on to to say that if a spouse divorces or becomes a widow but then comes out as gay and gets a partner this s forcing the child to accept a face in lieu of their other parent and we are subsidizing divorce. Basically we are such selfish greedy people for wanting children because we aren't thinking about what the child wants and only what we want.

Did you survive the storm of bullshit? Good because I've got a recovery package for you: all of this canbe boiled down to 'straight people already do this'. Sure it's a simplistic often quoted response but that makes if no less true. Divorce and the loss of a spouse are tragic things that already happen to straight couples. Many of these couples remarry. Isn't that also spurning the other divorced parent or replacing the memory of the dead one? If you're going by the logic above yes and no. Yes because in action it's the same exact thing no because gays are gross.

Now onto this matter of surrogates and sperm donors. First it bares reminding that these methods were not created solely for homosexuals nor are we the only ones who do it. I know this is common knowledge to any sane and rational person but if you went by the rhetoric of the opposition you'd think otherwise. Surrogacy and sperm donation are concepts that have literally been around for centuries. If the story of Abraham is to believed as true then to my Christian opponents you need to stuff it. Sperm donation has been around for as long as we have been a nation. It's not a new concept and people have been doing it far longer than homosexuals have. Was it as talked about? No because it was generally no one else's business how a child was conceived.

Single women have been using these methods for many decades as well and nary is a faint word heard. The reason there seems to be an issue with gays and lesbians doing it is because its more apparent. If you see two gay guys with three kids you know by the nature of their biology they didn't have them on their own. Is that a bad thing? No. In my opinion and also in the opinion of the law if a man or woman enters into a consenting contract with another couple to conceive a child the terms of that contract are completely valid and enforceable. You know what you are getting into if you donate sperm, an egg or become a surrogate. Many times these people who offer their services do so not wanting to be involved in the child's rearing. This is a way of making money for them. Is this making children into a commodity and the object of child rearing into a business? No more so than the education system makes money off our children and depends on their constant churning out. But we don't think of that in a cold cynical way. It is a means to an ends.

There seems to be this myth that genderless marriage will lead to biological parents having no access at all to their children. This conjures up images of children being taken away from their straight parents and tossed into homes with Bob and Brenden. This is misleading and these people from the opposition are knowingly misleading. If two heterosexuals get married and stay married the kids produced from that union are theirs legally and they can legally do what they want with them. The same is and should be true for homosexual married people because the third person required to bring forth life usually understands the terms of the contract they are entering. Also many surrogates and donors still stay in their child's life by request of the same gender parents. I have a friend who has repeatedly offered up her womb if I ever met a guy I wanted to have a family with. Although they wouldn't call her mommy she would be in their life because the more family a child has the better. It's understood me and my husband are the parents but extra support isn't discouraged. For some same gender couples they prefer to avoid this and ask for the surrogate or donor not to have contact. That is up to them. I can't judge that.

3) Marriage is About the Production of Children- No it is not. Historically marriage was a way of men making sure they knew that they would produce heirs with their exact lineage and continue the family name. Whether or not said couple produced any children was up to them. But just in case they did the man wanted to make sure they were his for inheritance purposes. Humans being the emotional creatures we are attached emotions to this and marriage was seen as a symbol of love and fidelity. Monogamy as a marital concept didn't occur until way later around the tail end of the Middle Ages and even then in many cultures multiple wives was seen as a thing people did. It didn't become illegal in America until the mid 1800's. Our government then began to give benefits to married couples of opposite genders of the same race. Black people were forbidden to marry white people because weren't even seen as fully human. That has relevance. I will explain that later. All throughout this long stretch children were and continue to be produced outside of marriage.

Our organs do not turn on as soon as we say 'I Do'. The opposition often uses 'how natural' marriage between men and women is by referring to how in nature even the primary family structure is composed of a man and a woman coming together to make children. Sure that's neat and all but being up how many animals also practice homosexuality and live in same gender pairings and then nature gets dismissed as an argument. Marriage is in my opinion what you make it. I want to get married because I love my partner and want to spend my life with him AND if we are doling out benefits to couples I don't see why we should be left out of the loop just because of our genders.

Now the argument then becomes shouldn't the state be concerned about who gets married and making sure it produces citizens? They point to gay marriage as a reason as to some cockamamie excuse why society will break down. Because apparently everyone who gets married has to have children. When we point out many straights do not have children but are married we are told this is irrelevant. No I think it's very relevant. Because if marriage is about children then shouldn't all married couples be cranking out kids by the barrelfuls? According to the opposition's logic yes but of course they won't admit that. We get told this is a non sequitur. It's like they keep coming up with reasons as to why we shouldn't have it and when we debunk it they don't want us to talk about that anymore.

In the black community 70% percent of children are born out of wedlock or raised in non wedlock situations. The amount of these kids being raised by two unmarried parents is not known. I made this point to say that biological life will continue whether or not men and women get married. We don't have to worry about where future citizens will come from. Straight people have been doing what they wanted long before we all came out en masse. Then they try and pin us for their fuck ups. I remember one politician stating how in the Netherlands more children were born out of wedlock as gays were allowed to get married so that's why gays shouldn't allowed to get married. So because some Dutch people couldn't use birth control I can't get married? The actions of one group should never be conflated with the actions of another group unless there is a serious overlap.

During the 60's interracial marriage was the marriage equality fight for that time. It was almost even worse because as I mentioned we weren't even seen as humans by many people. So interracial marriage to many was considered beastiality. When it was finally legalized people protested, there was violence, there were many murders and hate crimes but eventually most people moved on. By the 80's it wasn't as big of an issue anymore. With gay marriage equality the hardest part will be legalization. As for how people react to us things are moving swifter in our favor. We have a long fight ahead us for other things besides marriage rights but we are fighting the good fight. And we are winning in many cases. But we shouldn't be delusional to think its gonna be rainbows and sunshine from here on out. Our perfect world is dependent on whether we work towards maintaining it after our primary goals are won. We can't change everyone and how they think. But we shouldn't let how they think cloud how we move forward.

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