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Come Out, Come Out Whoever You Are

By John DuBois

With apologies to Glinda, I only changed one word to make a point. I’m sure she won’t mind because she’s an ally who supports equality and justice for all, gay, straight, or otherwise.

Whereas Glinda had asked the little Munchkins to come out of hiding, I ask that all future LGBT folk come out, too. Not from hiding in the bushes like the Munchkins were, but hiding from their true selves — or even from themselves.

Today more non-LGBT allies are championing us and lighting the way (thank you Lady Gaga) and we have more opportunity to express ourselves than in other times and places.

Which reminds me, a while back the Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, was asked how gay people in his country were treated. His response? “There are no gay people in Iran.” To which I retorted (yelling at the TV), “Yeah, as soon as they come out, they’ll either be arrested or killed!”

In the good ol’ U.S. gays are not threatened with execution, but we may be bashed, bullied and lashed with barbed tongues yelling “Faggot!” The original meaning of faggot was a stick of tinder used to light a fire, which conjures images of kindling for a good witch burning. (The term may actually have come from old women who were once called faggots from their job of gathering wood which later translated, oh so graciously, to the effeminate stereotype of gay men.)

Funny how old, fearful sensibilities hold on. We are still fighting to break “codes” and “ranking” systems along with the notion that sex is only for procreation and not something to be shared and enjoyed… or even discussed.

If people are taught to fear gays (or ethnic minorities or anyone else) they will most likely hate. Period.

No wonder so many still fear coming out of the closet.

But even if we don’t come out we will still be harmed. Psychologist, Carl Rogers, tells us that the further our real self strays from our ideal self the more anxiety we will feel. This gap also lowers self-esteem and inspires jealousy of those who lead authentic lives. No wonder closeted gays are so often huge homophobes. That gap between real and ideal may then lead to aggression or even violence against ourselves or others. And who wants that?

Staying in the closet keeps us shameful and keeps us feeling we have something to hide.

By bringing our ideals closer to reality we can become more content and happier from living in a state of harmony.

And so I say to one and all, come out into the clear light of day and be proud of who you are.

This was written by one of my students, who gave permission to post it.

October is LGBT Month.

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If Gays Can’t Rule on Gays, Can Whites Rule on Whites?

Anti-gay rights activists want to overturn a ruling to allow same-sex marriage in California. In their most recent attempt, they maintained that because San Francisco Chief Judge Vaughn Walker is gay, and could personally benefit, he acted with bias when he rendered his decision. This week Judge James Ware rejected the claim, calling it warrantless.

No one calls “bias” when whites or men make rulings that benefit them. Affirmative action cases, for instance. White Justices have been known to rule in ways that would benefit their own white children and grandchildren.

Meanwhile, Chief Justice John Roberts seems to vote consistently
in ways that benefit Republicans, and therefore himself, as a member of that
party. As court watcher, Jeffrey Toobin, observes, “In every major case
since he became the nation’s seventeenth Chief Justice, Roberts has sided with
the prosecution over the defendant, the state over the condemned, the executive
branch over the legislative, and the corporate defendant over the individual
plaintiff… Roberts has served the interests, and reflected the values, of the
contemporary Republican Party.” Yet no one says that Roberts should recuse
himself from said cases.

Worries of bias seem only to rise when members of the LGBT community, women and people of color hold positions of judicial power. Many wondered whether Sonia Sotomayor could judge without favoritism as a Latina.

Meanwhile, in their search for justice gays, women and ethnic minorities have usually been at the mercy of white, straight, males. In the past it’s been argued that minority judges can’t be objective on affirmative action. Why would a white judge be fairer? It has been claimed that women can’t be objective on abortion rights. Why would a male judge be fairer? And now accusations that gays cannot rule objectively on gay marriage. Why is
the privileged perspective constantly deemed more fair-minded?

Why? Because most of our information has come to us over the years through straight, white men’s eyes, whether via the media or over the political, corporate, or religious pulpit. We are so inundated that after a lifetime, their view comes to seem like the “normal” and unbiased way of seeing.

But really, if gays can’t rule on issues affecting gays, should whites be allowed to rule on matters that impact whites?

June is LGBT Month

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