In the previous three installments of this column series, I addressed the personal issues and ramifications of those of us who are part of the LGBTQ community, via family or friends, or ourselves.
Today, I’m taking off the gloves.
We have a crisis in our country, and it’s a sick political climate. This cancerous entity has progressively, and retroactively, sought to fight against any rights for women, people of color, people of faiths other than Christianity, and the LGBTQ community.
Throughout history, women and people of color have fought to have equal rights, natural and otherwise, in the shadow of white men. Later on, the LGBTQ community began to take up the fight as well. Progress has been made, but regression has occurred. The old saying, “One step forward and two steps back,” is a familiar place for those of us who have historically been disenfranchised.
People of privilege, mostly white men and their cohorts, don’t understand disenfranchisement. It’s as foreign a concept as homelessness, poverty, rape, or sexual abuse. If it didn’t happen to them, then understanding what it feels like to live in the margins of society is hard to do.
However, some can learn and make progress in support of minorities—and they do. Still, not enough are speaking up and, more important, acting in support of those who need it.
Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual relationships have been held as legal nationwide since March of 2016, and this push was made possible in 2013 with the decision per United States v Windsor, where the Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional to define marriage as only “…the relationship between one man and one woman,” as per the Defense of Marriage Act. The court held this act unconstitutional under the Fifth Amendment’s due process clause of equal protection and awarded Windsor the rights due a spouse after her partner died and left her the entire estate.
Now we face the pushback, or regressive phase. Our new president and his administration are actively seeking to rescind these recent decisions and make LGBTQ marriage illegal again, as well as adoption within LGBTQ families, which is legal in all 50 states for gay and lesbian couples. The Vice President is vehemently opposed to anything in support of the LGBTQ community, and his reasons originate in morality, or more specifically, his interpretation of Christianity.
Mike Pence is a dangerous man in this regard. His policies are punitive and exclusionary, and they smack of the Salem Witch Trials when examined closely.
His support of Conversion Therapy to help those who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender to be “cured” of their “disease” is a crusade against the LGBTQ community on a grand and dangerous scale. His supporters: Ben Carson, who compares homosexuality to incest and rape, and Newt Gingrich, who compares homosexuality and LGBTQ rights to “gay fascism.”
Pence has made it clear he believes in religious and moral restoration of society. This was made plain when, as governor, he signed into law, Indiana Senate Bill 101, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act in May 2015. This bill allows individuals and companies to assert that they’re religious freedoms have been infringed upon as a defense in legal proceedings.
Like I said, witch trials.
So, the pendulum is swinging back. Our society is so afraid of the unknown, or anything different, they will deny other human beings the same rights as they themselves are privileged to exercise. “As long as it doesn’t directly effect me, then I can support such legislation because it’s the right thing. Right?”
Wrong. The issue is more gray than black and white. Right and wrong are subjective. When we pound our morals and beliefs against another, we are acting no better than the Pharisees, those religious Jews whom Jesus challenged in when he went to Jerusalem.
According to the Christian bible, in Matthew Chapter 15:
Then some Pharisees and experts in Moses’ Teachings came from Jerusalem to Jesus. They asked, 2 “Why do your disciples break the traditions of our ancestors? They do not wash their hands before they eat.”
3 He answered them, “Why do you break the commandment of God because of your traditions? 4 For example, God said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’ and ‘Whoever curses father or mother must be put to death.’ 5 But you say that whoever tells his father or mother, ‘I have given to God whatever support you might have received from me,’ 6 does not have to honor his father. Because of your traditions you have destroyed the authority of God’s word. 7 You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you.
We are witnessing the replay of history. Any time the majority, who hold more power, are threatened and their way of life is challenged by another group—they rise up and find a fatal flaw within that group to suppress and even obliterated it, if possible, so they can continue their lifestyle unaltered. Religion has been used since the beginning of time to control other human beings and make them submit to the popular majority “norm.” Mike Pence and his sycophants are no different than the Pharisees who opposed any law but their own interpretation, those who killed others in the name of Christianity during the Crusades, or those people of the early colonial towns who felt uppity women, and some men, were witches, whom they sought to hang for their “blasphemy.”
Human beings are essentially flawed. Our tendency to shun anything or anyone “different” from us is astonishing and damaging. Families, friends, marriages, parent and child, work, and societal relationships all suffer because of this fatal flaw. We seek to make others think and act as we do. We insist upon their conformity to our normal, thereby obliterating their identity, value, and inherent human rights. We justify our actions and beliefs through religion and law, which is the coward’s way out of understanding and compassion as far as I’m concerned.
Now is the time for courage.
We must continue to speak up for those in the margins. If we aren’t, then we need to start.
It’s time we stopped hating others for being different from us.
Learn the laws. Connect with your local support groups and get active on the grass roots level.
Don’t just talk the talk of being a loving person, or Christian.
Walk the walk and show others you do care about them and love them as they are.
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