I Pledge Allegiance to the Flag

When I hear the word “family” I experience a flash of warm feelings. Gratitude, acceptance, love, and open-mindedness are all qualities that my biological and extended family possess. Considering that the majority of my family resides in North Carolina where the words republican, homophobia, and religious are thrown around with pride, I’d say that I’m pretty darn lucky. Unfortunately this is not the case for many homosexual (we all have to label things nowadays, don’t we?) people living in conservative places throughout our country and all over the world.

I got a phone call from my father who lives in a small town mountain city in Arkansas yesterday evening while I was driving. “Do you have a second to talk?” my dad asked. He seemed emotional. I immediately was overcome with worry. It sounded serious. Someone died, I thought. “Of course dad, what’s up?” I asked. “When I was in my senior year of high school, living in Seoul, South Korea on the American military base…” I already knew where this was going. I had heard this story countless times before. You see, my dad is someone who will enthusiastically tell the same story over and over. I never stop him because no matter how many times I have heard them, they never fail to captivate me. “…we used to have to have to recite the pledge of allegiance every morning. My two friends and I did not stand up. They called all of our parents. No one could understand why we didn’t stand up! And when we explained that it was because of the last line of the Pledge Allegiance ‘freedom and justice for all’, they still didn’t get it. ‘Our best friend is black, and we wouldn’t stand up because he doesn’t have the same rights as us’ they didn’t know what to do.”

The whole time that I am hearing him express this story with as much earnestness as if it happened yesterday, I have a smile on my face. These defiant, humanitarian, activist qualities were all traits that passed on to me. It has gotten me in a lot of trouble, especially in school, but it is something that I am most proud of.

“I want you to know that if I had to rise and say the Pledge of Allegiance today, I wouldn’t stand because of you.” My eyes got watery. I know that my dad is accepting of my “homosexual” relationship. I quote homosexual because even though I am in a relationship with a woman (a very amazing one at that!) I don’t like using labels. I like to say that I am just attracted to awesomeness is people 😉 . It makes me emotional not only to hear once again that I am supported for just being me, but also for all of those that aren’t as fortunate as I am.

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender youth are four times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers. Studies show that LGBT youth who are rejected by their families are 8.4 times more likely to attempt suicide; however, all it takes is one ally to dissuade high-risk youth from attempting such a horrendous act.

Please support your local gay-straight alliance and the young members that are struggling in your community. Visit the GSA Network website to discover how you can get involved. You never know whose life you could be saving.

Writing about LGBT activism is something that always comes easily for me, but never without intense emotions. I am so incredibly thankful to have such a loving, accepting, and inspirational family. I recognize that sometimes I can take it for granted, nonetheless, I am forever grateful.

Happy coming together 😉

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

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Attention Heterosexuals: We Want To Be Miserable Too!

It was only yesterday that I started this blog. While I knew I definitely wanted to discuss various topics on homosexuality, I didn’t think I’d be going there so soon. Everyone and their mom loves talking about gay marriage nowadays. One question that I keep hearing over and over is “Why do gay people want to be a part of an institution that doesn’t recognize them?”. I have been asked this by some of the most open and liberal thinkers that I know.

It seems that the first idea that people first jump to when they hear the topic of gay marriage is that gay couples want some sort of fairy tale wedding, united by God, in a church, the whole nine yards. And while I’m sure that is the case for many people, the majority of same-sex couples want to be married for the simple reason of having equal rights. It isn’t about wanting to be apart of an institution that calls us an “abomination”, it is about fair treatment. I always love stressing that this isn’t a GAY issue, it is a HUMAN issue. It is more about ethics than anything else. There are 1,138 protections and rights that are granted to straight married couples. Here is a link to the Human Rights Campaign where they list just a few of the federal benefits granted to heterosexual married couples:

http://www.hrc.org/resources/entry/an-overview-of-federal-rights-and-protections-granted-to-married-couples

So why not a civil union? While a civil union does offer some benefits within the state that you obtained it in, it does not offer protection from state to state, or allow joint tax claims, and denies many health benefits that a marriage license can provide. Lawinfo has a great simple breakdown of the differences between marriage and civil unions. Check it out here:

http://resources.lawinfo.com/en/articles/marriage-license/federal/the-difference-between-marriage-and-civil-uni.html

We are constantly being programmed. Every second of every day our brains are taking in information and deciphering whether or not we agree or disagree, whether it is right or wrong, so it is no surprise that a vast majority of our citizens agree that gay marriage should not be legalized when they are constantly being pumped full of information that it is sinful and goes against the bible. For anyone who questions the biblical interpretations on homosexuality, I highly recommend For the Bible Tells Me So. It is a very entertaining and informative documentary. You can watch it for free here:

http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/for-the-bible-tells-me-so/ 

I could probably write a thousand more points and debate endlessly about gay marriage. However, I have limited time and I would like to spend it watching TV with my beautiful girlfriend. You know, like straight couples do? 😉