This post is also featured in the SLO New Times
Billy, a smart and handsome 30-something young man, and I cozied-up over a delightful glass of a California red blend wine in a noisy, hip, artisan Sonoma restaurant last Friday night. We wanted to get to know each other better. His wit is as sharp as his beautiful eyes. Well, I’ve always been a sucker for a good-looking man with gorgeous eyes and we were the perfect pair.
Worry not. This is not a tale of how an aging 60-something grandmother seduced a younger man. It’s a tale of contrasts and dismay.
Our wait person poured another bit of wine into our glasses. Billy put his arm around me and asked, “Did you always know that John was gay?” His question was a bit off-putting in that John and Billy are betrothed, with a gala wedding planned this year. I’ve known John since his high school graduation, and this particular occasion celebrated his 40th birthday.
I collected my thoughts and words for Billy while I grasped the long glass stem of my wine-filled goblet and spun it about to inject some air and rouse the wine’s fragrance. “You know, I never thought of John as gay or not gay. It never mattered then and it surely doesn’t matter now.”
“Really?” Billy replied.
“Really,” I returned, and then brought the wine to my lips and enjoyed the art of a fine red blend.
Concurrent to gathering my thoughts on this matter, red-hot exchanges charged the internet about Arizona’s Legislature that passed a bill “…that would allow business owners, as long as they assert their religious beliefs, to deny service to gay and lesbian customers,” according to a CNN report . Arizona’s law trails the failed Kansas anti-gay law HB 2453—again, allowing those with religious beliefs to refuse service to same-sex couples—all based on religious freedom.
“Somehow, Billy, I missed the anti-gay calling. I worry if you are a good human. Do you love and treat our planet like you would your child? Do you treat other humans with compassion and respect? Are you kind? Do you give back? These are the issues I find important as opposed to one’s attraction to their same-sex.”
The boisterous restaurant cut short my preach about this current wave of “my righteousness trumps your heart and soul’s purpose.” But I wanted to add that I find it rather silly that this gay-hate business is cloaked in religiosity at the exact same time that other religious leaders welcome all loving couples to their places of worship.
There are bigger issues on the world table right now. To question or worry about another’s loving attraction to another consenting adult is laughable in the face of the assault and rape of women across most nations, the starvation of children from warring clans and greedy national leaders, extreme poverty with no way out, blatant human rights abuses, and a degrading environment.
With this feverish far right movement of denial of just about anything that is real, will history get another rewrite when the gay-hate folks discover that Alexander the Great, Socrates, Pope Julius III, Richard the Lionhearted, Michelangelo, Leonardo de Vinci, Francis Bacon, and J. Edgar Hoover took on male lovers? Will works by respected poets, musicians, writers and actors who were LGBT, like Walt Whitman, Leonard Bernstein, Tchaikovsky, Willa Cather, Gertrude Stein, Charles Laughton and James Dean be banned because it impinges upon one’s “religious freedom”?
Homosexuality follows human history. I can’t change that. You can’t change that. And LGBT folks can’t change that. Do we enter this lifetime with attraction to opposite or same gender by DNA? By karma? By conflation?
It doesn’t matter.
As for people in business, I can’t fathom a reason to turn down money from any customer—this from my twenty years as a retail business owner. I remember one man who stamped on every single dollar he spent and on his checks “This money is from a gay man.” He repeated his message-money a thousand times in my business.
So, no I don’t care that Billy and John are gay. I am glad that each of these fine men understands who they are. I am glad that they have found love and a promise to life-commitment—because that is something that eludes so many, regardless of gender identity.
Should this offend one, perhaps one should dig deeper into one’s heart and ask what harm a LGBT person brings to one and one’s business. Look beyond the sex. Look into that person’s eyes for the truth in that person’s heart. Billy and John both have amazing eyes.
4 thoughts on “The Contrast & Dismay Of Gay Rights and Law”
I am Billy’s father (you may call me Darth). It was a pleasure reading your blog on this topic and the two young men you built the piece around. I never knew much about gay and really still don’t. What I have learned from Billy and from John is that it simply isn’t an issue unless you make it an issue. I look at Billy and John and what I see is exactly what a father wants to see. There stand two young men who have become responsible adults, productive citizens, they respect themselves and those around them. They are successful in the personal and professional lives. They have great friends who they have been gracious enough to introduce their parents to. They are thoughtful and caring people and we love them about as much as you can love other human beings. In a few months they are taking a huge step and committing themselves to each other for a lifetime. Do I understand this? Probably not. Am I pleased, proud, curious, amazed and excited for them? Every minute of every day. If the world was filled with more Billy and John like creatures we would not only have more great pairs of eyes, but this planet would be a far nicer place to hang out in. Thanks for the inspiration and the opportunity to say my piece
Isn’t it wonderful when we see people for the good souls that they are, as opposed to fretting over some label? I love this quote from Leonard Pitts Jr., “…these laws amount to little more than temper tantrums by last-ditch bigots who don’t realize history has passed them by…”
Thanks for reading. Thanks for your lovely comment.
I am John’s friend from New Mexico… his “crazy volunteer” … and I now have tears in my eyes at the lovely way you have portrayed both he and Billy. I know John to be witty, and a bit wise beyond his years. He and Billy bring each other joy, and I could not ask for more. Thank you for your wonderful comments.
Claudia, Thanks for reading and commenting.
I could babble on about how all this phoney righteousness, condemnation, and attacks under the guise of faith and freedom…but I think that’s what a blog is for.
As you write, the joy that Billy and John bring to each other spreads out beyond them. Why would one not celebrate that? Regards, Charmaine