Friday, April 29, 2011

Less

As you'll see in a previous post, I recently came out to my parents. I have continued to feel closer to them, less tension in our relationship, and just generally better about our relationship. [Because I was raised in a house where lying was the absolute worst offense, and to this day, I CANNOT lie to my parents. Or anyone else really. Keeping it from them felt like lying.]

As expected, there are nagging issues that my impatient self would like resolved RIGHTNOW, but I realize that this is a big thing and it will take time to get there. What's important to me is that my parents are willing to try. (To a point, at least. Don't get crazy.)

One such issue is my father's refusal to support same-sex marriage rights. Did I expect my parents to suddenly be allies? Hell no.
But having my father look me in the eye and tell me that, knowing the "they" he referred to is me, knowing that the relationships he was calling "not the same" included my relationships, really had its own special level of suck. Today I stumbled across the perfect words (not my own) to describe it:
"There is something uniquely demeaning about being told by a man who brought you into this world, and/or brought you up in it, that it is not a world to which you deserve equal opportunity, equal access, your fair share, but a world in which you deserve less.
Less respect. Less dignity. Less agency. Less autonomy. Less opportunity. Less voice. Less ownership of self. Less of your humanity, because humanness is a zero sum game, and a little of yours must be given to him."
"To the Daughters of the Angry Emailers" at Shakesville. The post is on gender, not sexual orientation,  but it rang deeply true for me and for this situation. I highly recommend her post, as well. :) ]

You see, what I cannot explain to the straight people in my life is why I am so invested in equal marriage rights. Do I want to get married? Maybe. I wouldn't bet on it, though.
I could explain eight ways to Sunday why, should I choose to use the rights or not, I should be guaranteed all of the same civil rights as everyone else.
I could try to explain systemic oppression, "marked" or marginalized groups, "othering," second class citizenship, social consequences of legal forces, hegemony, privilege vs. oppression, how separate is not equal, and every negative or horrible experience I have had because of my sexual orientation. And while they may be empathetic, they can never truly understand.

It's easy to say, "what's the big deal about marriage?" when you have that right guaranteed to you. It's really easy to accept compromise for other people. It's really easy to gloss over it with, "why are you so worked up? Gays have rights" when no one's ever told you to just be happy to get ANY rights.

I live in a society that tells me, at every level, you do not deserve equal opportunity, equal access, you deserve less.
Less respect. Less dignity. Less agency. Less autonomy. Less opportunity. Less voice. Less ownership of self. Less of your humanity.


Being in love can get me killed.

Think about that.

Some people, uncomfortable with acknowledging reality, may try to brush me off as overdramatic. I'm not. Pick up a newspaper. Anti-queer violence is very common.

I guess I can accept society as an unfortunate reality. But it's much harder to just accept my own family thinking of me as less.

8 comments:

e9757a88-b5d8-11e0-906f-000f20980440 said...

No one can take away your human dignity or respect because these things are given to you by the fact that you are human. You will always have value no matter what you DO.

When someone disagrees with a certain behavior (perhaps sexual behavior), it does not mean that he/she values you less.

Don't our parents react the same when we DO anything that is wrong to them and don't they disagree with ANY behavior of ours that they consider wrong ?

And when they consider our behavior as wrong, does that mean that they do not love us or do not respect our inviolable dignity ?

People can be opposed to homosexual behavior, such as homosexual sexual relations, but that does not make them opposed to homosexual people!

Some desires that people have they may not have the ability to control. But we CAN (unless impaired) always control our behavior and relations (including sexual) with others.

This may not be what you want to hear and even though I do not know, I want to say this because I want what is best for you.

K. Makenna said...

Okay, anonymous commenter, I will give you your one comment so that I can respond, but further irrelevant hate-posts WILL be considered antagonism/trolling and will not be approved.

First, you win the missing the point award.

Second, this is NOT about "homosexual sex" (sex acts do not have a sexual orientation, FYI). This is NOT. ABOUT. SEX. Of ANY sort.

I'm guessing, based on the content of your comment, that you are Catholic and/or subscribe to the Catholic Church's view of same-sex orientations.
Having gone to a Jesuit university and taken an ENTIRE class taught by a Catholic priest on "homosexuality and the bible," I'm quite familiar with the position and the "logic" behind it.

Same-sex sexual orientations are no more about sex than heterosexual sexual orientation. The gross oversimplification presented is highly insulting.

As is the "love the sinner, hate the sin" attitude. Asking someone not to express who they are, and asking them not to love or be loved, is asking them not to be human.

"No one can take away your human dignity or respect because these things are given to you by the fact that you are human. You will always have value no matter what you DO."
And yet people like yourself treat me otherwise.

"When someone disagrees with a certain behavior (perhaps sexual behavior), it does not mean that he/she values you less."
Sure. But sexual orientation is no more "a behavior" than being a woman or being Black. So that is irrelevant.
ALSO, it is not FOR anyone to "disagree" or agree with my sexual behavior, unless it directly involves them and it's an issue of consent.
And I most CERTAINLY do NOT involve my parents in my sex life, thank you very much.

"Don't our parents react the same when we DO anything that is wrong to them and don't they disagree with ANY behavior of ours that they consider wrong ?

And when they consider our behavior as wrong, does that mean that they do not love us or do not respect our inviolable dignity ?"

If you read the original post, my parents do not condemn me for my sexual orientation, nor do they view it as "wrong." So this is entirely irrelevant.

"People can be opposed to homosexual behavior, such as homosexual sexual relations, but that does not make them opposed to homosexual people!"
Yes, yes it does.

And any "hetero" who has in engaged in oral sex and/or anal sex, even with a partner of the other sex, has engaged in what you call "homosexual behavior"/"homosexual sexual relations".

"Some desires that people have they may not have the ability to control. But we CAN (unless impaired) always control our behavior and relations (including sexual) with others."

Once again, this is not about sex, which, logically, is implied by "desires." Though you DO seem to acknowledge that this is, in fact, an immutable trait.
So despite your seeming acknowledgement that I was born this way, you still take a condescending, holier-than-thou attitude. Hmm.

"This may not be what you want to hear and even though I do not know, I want to say this because I want what is best for you."
More condescending tone, and this false "concern"...
I've heard it all before, I'll hear it all again, and I've certainly heard worse. None of it is going to stop me from being who I fundamentally am, and I refuse to be ashamed of it. So really, you're barking up the wrong tree.

And for future reference, it is inappropriate to lecture me about my interactions with my parents, or about their beliefs etc. They can speak for themselves, and they certainly do.

DSHNYE said...

This is a delicate topic, and I do not know what it is like to be you or have your desires. You do not have to listen to my comments but I wish to express a few things because I do care about the entire situation and homosexual people.


First of all, let me be clear: I believe sexual relations should be between a man and a woman only because of the natural law. So I believe such relationships, if someone wishes to join one, should be heterosexual because that is what Nature tells us by the complimentarity of men and women and the reality of the possibility of bringing new life into the world.


Now, this is my personal view about such relationships. True relationships are grounded in friendship, and friendship is the greatest of any relationship.

The expressing of romantic/sexual desires towards someone need not always be expressed, as we know since we (usually) restrict ourselves from doing so with our close friends who aren't our partners or spouse.

When I say "homosexual sexual relations" I mean any sexual relations between a man and man or woman and woman.


The role one's sexual orientation
plays in one's life is up to that individual. People act like sexual orientation means everything in their life, when this shouldn't be.

Who one is and what is most valuable in them is their character, which is from their choices in life (least of which are sexual or concerned with partners), NOT their desires, which may be born in them and out of their control.

What makes one great is not that they have these desires or those desires, but what they choose to do with those desire and how to persevere, and we DO have that choice on how to act with our desires.



I want to repeat again: One's "person" and character, and who they are, is much more than orientation. How one perseveres despite tough times and suffering, how one is kind or patient, how charitable or loving one's heart is towards another or how hard working one is, or the intellectual/spiritual/physical abilities someone has, or what kinds of friendships one starts or how good of a friend one is to others IS about who one is. Sexual orientation is not the most important aspect of someone even though everyone in this modern age acts like it.



I personally don't like it when people refer to individuals who have desires towards others of the same sex as "gays". Because that labels all of who that person is completely by their sexual orientation,(which is only one smaller part of them) rather than by something like character or values.


The priest, who taught you at the Jesuit university, is an example of someone who has chosen to dedicate his life to celibacy, where he has no partners/gf/bf's and no sexual relations with others. Even if at one point he desired another person as a partner or even if he still has strong sexual desires towards others, he (assuming he stands true to his vow) remains free entering such relationship or expressing his desires.

Many many men and women as priests, brothers, and nuns do this and they will tell you how FREE they are, NOT repressed like the world so falsely teachers everyone else.



Most of this will seem unimportant or RIDICULOUS or RUDE or just plain WRONG, but I am personally convicted that this is what is true, and I wish to share with you so that maybe you'll consider it true.

K. Makenna said...

Okay, random commenter (I see you signed in on that last comment), I decided to throw you a bone because despite the fact that you're trolling, I don't think you're doing it to get a rise out of me and you're doing it in a civilized, decent way (with manners) and my appreciation for civilized discourse got the better of me.
Also, I'm hoping you set an example for future trolls.

Again, it is wildly inappropriate to come to my blog and lecture me about, well, anything, but especially about who I am.

PC police: referring to us as a group as "homosexuals" or any variation thereof is generally considered offensive. (Maybe not quite on the same level, but it's kind of like using "colored.") The term originates from psychologists (mistakenly) believing same-sex orientation was an illness. Although there's a big split in the community between "the gay community" and "the queer community," either of those is acceptable to most of us, as are "gay people" and "queer people" and "people with same-sex (sexual) orientation" to refer to us as a group. (Just please refrain from using "the gays" or "the queers".)
I'm sure you didn't know (it's not like we can put out memos on these things), but now you do. :)

"First of all, let me be clear: I believe sexual relations should be between a man and a woman only because of the natural law. So I believe such relationships, if someone wishes to join one, should be heterosexual because that is what Nature tells us by the complimentarity of men and women and the reality of the possibility of bringing new life into the world."

Ah, but you would be incorrect. That's not "natural law," that's "natural law according to Catholics." You are well within your rights to subscribe to that belief; however, you are not within your rights to try to force it on others.

"The expressing of romantic/sexual desires towards someone need not always be expressed, as we know since we (usually) restrict ourselves from doing so with our close friends who aren't our partners or spouse."

Yes, people who aren't our spouse. No one's suggesting queer people go round having sex with people of the same sex just because or to express friendship. We (on the whole) just want what straight people (on the whole) want: to settle down in a long-term (hopefully life-long), committed, monogamous relationship with a spouse who is ideally the love of our lives. "The expressing of romantic/sexual desires" comes with having a spouse, someone to love and who loves you, and your suggestion is that all queer people should suppress who they are and NEVER love or be loved. That's not human, and that's not dignity.

K. Makenna said...

When I say "homosexual sexual relations" I mean any sexual relations between a man and man or woman and woman.

Hahaha Okay, you might, but your religion does not. Catholicism does not differentiate by gender of individuals. The "sin" involved is non-procreative sex. Full stop.

Allow me to break it down for our viewers at home who might not be familiar:
The Catholic Church believes sex should have two purposes: 1. It should serve to unify the couple (bring them closer together), and 2. It should be open to procreation. Any sex that 1. does not unify the couple, and 2. is not open to procreation is a sin.
The second one is why the Catholic Church, although recognizing that (essentially) gay/queer people are "born that way," argues that they should lead a life of celibacy and loneliness. (Celibate same-sex relationships are also not okay, because it's too tempting, etc.) Same-sex couples, because they cannot have penile-vaginal intercourse, are committing a sin because they can only have sex that is not open to procreation, like oral or anal sex. However, what our commenter here seems to be forgetting is that the "sin" here is not same-sex sex, it is non-procreative sex. Sex/gender are irrelevant; any sex between any people that is not open to procreation is the SAME sin. So, any heterosexual couple who engages in oral sex, anal sex, pulling out, using a condom, using oral contraceptives, using ANY contraceptive, 'finishing' outside the vagina, rimming, handjobs, etc. is committing the EXACT SAME SIN.

"The role one's sexual orientation
plays in one's life is up to that individual. People act like sexual orientation means everything in their life, when this shouldn't be."


Much easier said when you're telling OTHERS to eliminate some part of themselves.
No one said it means everything. However, having someone to spend your life with is arguably a big part of one's life.
And most of us queers would rather the rest of you didn't make such a big freaking deal about it. We're not the ones doing that.

"Who one is and what is most valuable in them is their character, which is from their choices in life (least of which are sexual or concerned with partners), NOT their desires, which may be born in them and out of their control.

What makes one great is not that they have these desires or those desires, but what they choose to do with those desire and how to persevere, and we DO have that choice on how to act with our desires."


Spare us all the morality speech. We know all of that.
However, your subjective view that a same-sex orientation is bad when expressed is just that: SUBJECTIVE. No one's asking YOU to be gay with them, so mind your business. Be a bigot if you want, but do so quietly, to yourself.

K. Makenna said...

"I want to repeat again: One's "person" and character, and who they are, is much more than orientation. How one perseveres despite tough times and suffering, how one is kind or patient, how charitable or loving one's heart is towards another or how hard working one is, or the intellectual/spiritual/physical abilities someone has, or what kinds of friendships one starts or how good of a friend one is to others IS about who one is. Sexual orientation is not the most important aspect of someone even though everyone in this modern age acts like it."

Exactly. And yet you are obsessing over mine. So what does that say about you?
My sexual orientation is not all of me, but it is part of me. A big part of me, made bigger by how society and other people perceiving it affects how I may live my life.

I'm quite proud to be who I am. All parts of who I am. And I am no more going to be ashamed of or surpress or deny being queer than being Italian or a daughter or an amazing cook or whatever else. If you have a problem with that, that is your problem. No one is forcing you to read my blog.

I've heard all of your holier-than-thou bullshit before. You're not doing me some favor by trying to shove your personal beliefs down my throat.
And you're kidding yourself if you think you're "saving me" or any other obnoxious way of putting it. Since we're clearly working with the lens of religion here, let me put it this way: God made me and A LOT of other people this way. God doesn't make mistakes. And if He has a problem with the way I live my life, that is between me and Him. I'm sure you're not perfect, so why don't you concern yourself with YOU?

"Maybe I'll consider it true"? You're freaking joking me, right?
Look buddy, read a book. Educate yourself. I highly suggest starting with Helminiak's "What The Bible Really Says About Homosexuality."

Oh, and the priest mentioned before (who also has a PhD, which is why he taught the class) is a Celtic Catholic priest. So he doesn't have a vow of celibacy to follow, and he's been with his significant other since college. Who also happens to be a man. So far God hasn't struck him down with fury.

Now, comment troll, this thread has been derailed so far from the post it's ridiculous. Your trolling stops here. Further comments will not be approved.

K. Makenna said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
K. Makenna said...

For anyone who may be following these shenanigans, the troll responded only with some yammering bullshit about how I could choose to live alone and unloved and how noble that is.
Like a nun.

Yeokay, player.

And his support for why I should do this was that I "obviously believe in God."
Sure dude. But not your version.

Also, no legitimate response to anything else I wrote. HMMMM....


Also, to the troll and everyone else: Your religious beliefs are just that: YOUR. PERSONAL. RELIGIOUS. BELIEFS.
KEEP THEM TO YOURSELF.
YOU DON'T GET TO FORCE OR IMPOSE THEM ON ANYONE ELSE, ESPECIALLY AS "JUSTIFICATION"/"SUPPORT"/"REASONING" FOR LAWS.

The fact that I'm condemned to hell for being attracted to women is, I'm sure, fascinating and OMGSUPERIMPORTANT to you, but the rest of us pretty much don't give a flying fuck. No one's asking you to marry someone of the same sex, so STFU. (And if they were, I'd suggest you take it up with them.)