Wednesday, November 05, 2008

I'm not surprised about Prop 8

It is very sad indeed that the last bastion of deep seated prejudice in America is against gay people. It is difficult to connect the step toward real human progress that the vote for Obama represents with the passing of propositions that seek to ban gay marriage in America. Obama himself has not come out fully in favor of gay marriage and I'm sure that this is not out of personal conviction, but political reality.
But the fact is, people still cannot get over homosexuality. It apparently is too much to ask from men and women to understand that homosexuality exists in nature and that gay men and women need to be equally protected and served under the law.
Centuries of religious and social prejudice in pretty much every culture in the world make this a bias that is extremely difficult to overcome. If you are a racist, you can live your life segregated from those you hate or fear. However, the fear that you may be that which you fear or hate is a different story, and much harder to combat. The concept of homosexuality brings terrible private sexual anxiety to people. It is almost a physical, biological reaction, the absolute denial of the possibility of such an option in yourself. And allowing gay people to fully express such an option within the framework of society just fans those fears and ignorant hatreds all the more.
The hurdles to overcome this particular prejudice may be very similar to what certain minority groups have to deal with, but they are also very different. They are more visceral, more personal, and more private. Honestly, it surprises me that gay people treat this as if it was any other prejudice and they are shocked when the rest of society doesn't go along.
In order for homosexuals to gain the full equality they deserve under the law, they need to understand that the nature of the fight is different. I don't know exactly how you combat these deep seated fears and prejudices. I guess by education and example. And by making this a legal issue, a constitutional issue, an issue of equal rights. But it is clear that culturally it is not an easy fight and despite the progress that has been made so far, the puritanical, conservative majority in America, which in this case spans across race and class, is still not ready for a mature discussion and understanding of human sexuality, which is what this issue is about. It may and should be ultimately resolved via the law, but we are dealing with our own concept of human nature.
Spain, a country that was deeply Catholic and conservative for centuries, now has legalized gay marriage and nobody bats an eye. America, a country founded on the most progressive, humanistic principles on Earth, can't, for the life of it, see beyond its 0wn sexual hang ups. I am still waiting for fucking New York State to act, and I ain't holding my breath. This is one of the most difficult contradictions that we have in America and therefore I think this fight requires different thinking and different measures. Because as heroic as it is, and as much as it has achieved, we are still not there yet.

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