Gay Rights: A Student’s Perspective
Growing up bleeding-heart in Southern California, gay rights have never been an issue for me. My third grade teacher is gay, as is one of my mom’s best friends, and a lesbian couple lived next door for years. For as long as I can remember, I have accepted without problems the truth that gay rights are not a controversy. Honestly, when I was little, I didn’t really understand what it all meant.
My first real experience with LGBT rights came in second grade, when Kirby said that gay people get married with just the right note of revulsion in his tone. I confronted my mother.
“What does ‘lesbian’ mean?”
Panicked, she said that lesbians were just friends, and then pulled me aside a few days later to tell me the truth. Honestly, I don’t remember that much about that conversation, but I do sort of recall feeling somewhat… surprised. Surprised as in, “This is it? This is the big mysterious secret thing? Who cares?” I just didn’t get it.
In sixth or seventh grade, I asked my (Christian, conservative) friend whether she thought gay people should be able to marry. I watched as she struggled, aware that I was seeing a battle of wills between what she wanted to say and what she knew she should say. “Well… well, I mean- like, they should be able to get married, but you shouldn’t call it marriage, you know? Because the Bible says that marriage should be between a man and a woman.”
“Like civil unions.”
“Yeah.” I nodded, smiled, and decided not to get into the whole fewer-benefits-lower-status-basic-premise-that-your-religious-beliefs-should-dictate-my-marriage thing.
Earlier this year, when Kelly started talking about Rick Perry’s idiotic “Strong” video, I braced myself for something homophobic and was pleasantly surprised when she talked about how stupid it was. At my school, while people still throw around “that’s gay” and no one is out (in fact, one alumna came out as bisexual her freshman year at a religious high school, which I think says something about the culture at my nondenominational school), no one has ever explicitly stated a bias or disciminatory belief, though I’m sure some have them.
Most, though, do not — which shouldn’t be surprising. After all, a recent Gallup poll showed that support for gay marriage is at 70% for 18- to 34-year-olds. Since my classmates and I are younger than that, I would guess that support is even higher — perhaps not at my school, but in general. Having a poll on that topic would be fascinating and, in my view, would bring a new dimension to the gay rights “debate,” especially considering the recent controversy when President Obama talked about the effect that his daughters had on his decision to support gay rights.
Since we’ll be the ones who eventually decide the issue, it does irk me a bit that no one is bothering to ask us about our views, but I’m fairly confident that, when we eventually get the chance, my generation will do the right thing.
Photo Credit: powerbooktrance