Here in part 3 of a 5-part series on LGBTQ/NB/GF I will focus on marriage and family in relation to this population and how we, as family, friends, and citizens, can support people of any sexual orientation in their quest for love, children, family, and the universal dream of belonging.
Last year I came out as gay to my family and friends. Of course, I overshot my mark when I finally admitted my attraction towards women. It’s not an unusual occurrence, especially for those of us who remain in the closet for years and when we finally open the door, it’s as though a flood has been released when at last the dam was broken.
Of course, I’ve been able to figure out I am at least bisexual, and now in a committed relationship with a wonderful man. Most of my friends and family don’t care, as long as I’m happy and loved. Some don’t understand.
That’s okay. I will explain it here.
For those willing to understand, this will help. For those unwilling, nothing may edify or enlighten, so this is my final word on the matter.
My boyfriend understands and loves me for who I am anyway. I told him the day we first met face-to-face that I’m also attracted to women. He’s cool with it, so who else matters?
When I am committed to someone, as long as I’m loyal and faithful, my baseline orientation is not at issue. When a woman marries a man, you don’t hear her friends asking, “But, you’re attracted to other men. How can that work?” Likewise, asking me how a relationship with a man will fare because I’m attracted to men and women in general is just as silly.
Sexuality and orientation are not something we can necessarily define clearly or put in a box. Although the most pervasive idea of a “couple” is a man and a woman, most likely married, and who usually have children if they are able. In society, a couple is also part of procreation. It is a moral imperative and social responsibility.
Unfortunately, this moral imperative and social imposition on couple hood, marriage, child-rearing, medical and legal issues within these relationships, and end-of-life decisions—all cloud the judgment of family, friends, and community. People who do not fit the “norm” of a couple as defined by law or morality, or both, are ostracized, ridiculed, persecuted, and even discriminated against within our society. In many states in the USA, many are denied marital rights, benefits, and the ability to make legal and medical decisions about their partners when the time comes. They are denied the ability to adopt children, get custody of children from prior heterosexual marriages, and sometimes even denied visitation with those children if their character is besmirched enough in court by their exes.
There is no doubt that the LGBTQ community has come a long way in the last 40 or 50 years. However, discrimination not only remains, it is building in strength with a resurgence of moral and political strong-arming to strip gays, lesbians, and bisexuals of their marriage and family rights—those granted by former President Barack Obama and upheld by the Supreme Court.
Even worse, the transgender community continues to be targeted by those who would place them in the same company as rapists and child molesters. Public bathroom use remains a hot topic. President Trump vows to rescind the rights granted to the LGBTQ community.
This campaign of hate is not new. Human beings have been engaging in such shenanigans since the beginning of time. Most people do not like or trust what they do not know or understand. The problem is, most are unwilling to learn.
In essence, the truth remains that Love is love. No matter who you are, your orientation, where you live, where you’re from—love is the reason we are here. It is what motivates us, holds us together, makes us stronger, and gives us wings. Love is our right as human beings.
We should be able to exercise that right responsibly with whomever we choose, and to make the important decisions all couples are able to make with one another regarding finances, health, children, education, retirement, and end-of-life. When we deny persons of the LGBTQ community these essential and inherent rights, we lose our connection to other human beings, piece by piece.
It may be that the cure for what ails humanity right now is quite simple:
Live and let live.
Love and let love.
A simple refrain, yet so difficult to maintain.
About the Columnist
Kim D. Bailey, a Pushcart Prize Nominee, writes Women’s Fiction, short stories, poetry, non-fiction, and a weekly column for FIVE:2:ONE. She is currently writing a third novel. She’s published in several online literary journals and print magazines. Kim lives in her hometown of Chattanooga, TN. To connect follow at www.kimbaileydeal.net and on Twitter @kimbaileydeal