Today I’m taking a break from the professional development and going to go a little personal. As you, my readers may know, I identify as gay and advocate for equity in my own subtle ways. I accomplish this mostly through my blog and my openness with my students when they ask questions or if they need a support system or resource.
Over the past few weeks and months I’ve been watching the news and legislation being passed, and am on the edge of my seat with everything that has been/is going on. If you’ve been living under a rock, the LGBT is coming to a pivotal tipping point, and my gut feeling is that 2014 will be the year in which we find out which way the wind is going to blow.
Now, I best understand myself when I write, so I’m going to just touch on a few major recent events in the LGBT movement and share my thoughts and perspectives.
In regards to Russia and the Olympics, I personally am not a fan of the Russia government and legislation in prohibiting “gay paraphernalia” etc. I respect the fact that they are their own nation and they have the right to legislate they way they wish and create the laws that they wish. My heart goes out to the LGBT Russian people and I hope they find ways to express their life and love in a confined atmosphere. However, my disappointment crux lies with the International Olympic Committee and their decision to support Russia and their legislation by continuing to host the Olympics. While I respect that the International Olympic Committee acknowledged that they do not share the ideals of Russia on LGBT Rights, their decision to allow Russia to continue to host the Olympics seemed to negate the purpose of the Olympics. Russia’s anti-gay legislation is a violation of human rights and a violation of everything the Olympics stands for;
“Olympism is a philosophy of life, exalting and combining in a balanced whole the qualities of body, will and mind. Blending sport with culture and education, Olympism seeks to create a way of life based on the joy found in effort, the educational value of good example and respect for universal fundamental ethical principles.” – Olympic Charter, Fundamental principles, paragraph 2
I still watched the Olympics, but part of me was disappointed by the lack of stance and support the IOC and Olympics showed in regards to the LGBT community, the effects of such legislation on Olympic athletes, and society in general, the intolerance of populations of humanity, and the lack of leading by example for the world to see.
Today is the second day for the hearings on same-sex marriage in the context of raising children for the state of Michigan. Both camps are sticking in their heels and this will be an interesting and long 2 weeks of testimony and evidence. Of course I’ve got a particular interest in this because it’s my home state and any legislation will directly effect me. I always try and understand and respect opposing sides for their view and opinions, however, what really gets me in this case is that children are having to be used as the justification for marriage equality now. The fact that two people in love is not justification enough to allow same sex marriage.
First, while I respect that there are those who’s faith and religion teach them to believe that homosexuality is wrong, why are they able to stop me from a right that is conferred by the government and not the church? Second, we have children who should be able to legally say “My moms” or “My dads” and have those benefits and protections that are provided with marriage, and why are we preventing that? Lastly, (which really isn’t that last one I have, but for this blog it is) during the first day of the trial, statistics of break-ups between same sex partners was brought up and that they were high numbers. Just a thought, but perhaps they are high because since homosexuals are not able to be married, longevity has never been a strong consideration in the gay community. Having the concept that no matter how long you are together you are not protected by the law, nor get any benefits, can create a mind frame of “then why be in a long term relationship?” (Granted, on the flip side, this means that “the gays” have the lowest divorce rates right now, but still…)
Meanwhile in Arizona….there’s legislation. And goodness, what legislation it is. Now, its not LGBT specific but it is one of the driving causes for the proposal. The now infamous bill that is awaiting the signature or veto of the Governor of Arizona allows businesses to deny service to any individual if they have a direct religious conflict, regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, etc. It basically undermines the state and federal governments anti-discrimination laws and policies.
Now, what’s surprising is not that it was proposed (because let’s sadly admit that tons of ridiculous bills are proposed yearly) but that it flew through the State House and Senate with flying color and that the Governor even has to make a decision on the issue.
Just consider it: A majority of the representative body for the people of Arizona consented to deny service to individuals if there is a religious conflict. How sad.
I’m eagerly awaiting the Governor to veto the ridiculous bill, that was frankly a waste of time.
Hate, intolerance and discrimination do not need a helping hand, and bills such as this, not only gives it a hand, but carries them on its back to victory.
It has been said that the LGBT Movement and equality for all is getting closer and closer. However, sometimes it feels as though while it seems we are getting closer, those who oppose it are digging in their heels even more firmly and are bound and determined to prevent equity.
2014 is going to be an interesting year, and no doubt is going to be a pivotal point in the fight for equality. Just some of the thoughts and musings I’ve had cross my mind over the past few weeks and months.
Until next time!
Peace, Love and Pandas!