Cliff Gardner

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Wow, what a day!

This afternoon I went to a wedding. All my friends are getting married and it's freaking me out a little, I'm not going to lie. Still, Ryan and Alletta are two of the nicest, smartest folks I know and they really love each other so I was glad I could be there when they got hitched. I cried a little during the ceremony and I'm not ashamed to admit it...it was touching in the way the first five minutes of Love Actually are.

Anyway, while there I got to talking with my friend Moses and I've decided I have a fundamental problem with the whole notion of "coming out of the closet," or at least the pressure to do so. I don't feel the need to tell folks that I'm straight unless I want them to know. The idea that homosexuals should feel unique pressure to tell people their preferences is a double standard that I think represents a form, albeit a relatively passive one, of descrimination. If you want someone to know what you're in to and telling folks makes your life better, great, have at it. However, I don't think that gays and lesbians sharing that knowledge should be any bigger deal than straight folks doing the same, and I think making "coming out of the closet" a big deal is what makes it a big deal.

What I'm getting at is this: sexuality should be whatever you want and no one should ever feel compelled to share anything about themselves that they don't feel comfortable sharing, especially when it doesn't really matter anyway and we're all just people looking for someone to love.

12 Comments:

  • I couldn't agree more

    By Anonymous munchmunchahha, at 5:30 AM  

  • Preach it brother Thomas!!! LOL, you make a very good point and I don't really think there should be a pressure. I could imagine that saying it out loud for the very first time might be nerve racking, but I can't magine that NO ONE knows. You know?

    Anyway, I'm not eally making snse to myself right now. I've got strep throat so my mind is reeling. Anyhoo, Love Actually ROCKS! And I feel you on all your friends getting married. I'm a bridesmaid in three weddings this year. How is that fair?

    By Anonymous Kim, at 10:19 AM  

  • "I don't feel the need to tell folks that I'm straight unless I want them to know. The idea that homosexuals should feel unique pressure to tell people their preferences is a double standard that I think represents a form, albeit a relatively passive one, of discrimination." Well... yeah. Homosexuals ARE discriminated against. The reason straight people don't feel pressure to "come out" is because heterosexuality is the norm. I think you are just sort of stating the obvious is an odd way.

    Although you have a point, "gays and lesbians sharing that knowledge should be any bigger deal than straight folks doing the same". You're right, if this were a perfect world that would be true, but it's not. So, I would have to commend any homosexual who comes out. It's easy for some, but other have to face even getting kicked out of their own family and loosing friends if they come out.

    You have a good message to send, Tom. But the problem is: not everyone feels the same way. Coming out can change a persons life forever, you can't just say "and I think making "coming out of the closet" a big deal is what makes it a big deal"" because that is making a very complex and difficult situation into a small one, which belittles what many people have had to go through.


    It shouldn't matter what your sexuality is, and in my opinion it doesn't. But some people do care, so for all of you who have had to go through some sort of difficulty for being gay I say: I respect that you're homosexual, and I hope that one day everyone will be able to.

    By Blogger Megan, at 11:03 AM  

  • You make some good arguments, Megan, but I'm not trying to minimize what I'm sure is very difficult for many people. I think my point was that sexuality is very personal and that no one should feel forced or feel pressure to reveal anything they don’t want to, that’s all.

    By Blogger T-Mac, at 11:27 AM  

  • "All my friends are getting married and it's freaking me out a little, I'm not going to lie."

    Yep, I'm in the same boat. My old roommate of two years was married yesterday, and I was in that wedding. My debate partner is getting married in two weeks. Everyone I know seems to be getting married and it seems so weird because I still think of 21-22 as being pretty young.

    By Anonymous shea, at 12:18 PM  

  • I'd agree that people shouldn't have to reveal anything they don't want to... but the point often made by GLBT community is that the standard assumption is of heterosexuality -- both by the society and the individual.

    When the individual figures out they are actually gay, it begins a long and difficult process the straight community knows little about. For many people the process includes "coming out" -- and being honest when they refute the assumption of heterosexuality.

    Additionally, there is an argument from strength in numbers -- saying that with each person who comes out, it becomes just a little bit easier for those who follow.

    Maybe the key is to practice ambiguity about your sexuality -- use gender neutral terms to refer to your lover etc.. so as to make it clear that it is nobody's business whether you are gay or straight.

    By Blogger Inside the Philosophy Factory, at 12:20 PM  

  • Shea--wow, I didn't know Scott was getting married, wow. Congrats for him!

    Patty--good call on the standard being heterosexuality...I think that's just a bogus standard, too, so if telling folks you're gay means refuting that standard and makes it easier on other folks, awesome. Again, I'm NOT against people coming out of the closet if they want to, that's great. I just think that GLBT people shouldn't feel obligated to do so when straight folks feel no such obligation.

    By Blogger T-Mac, at 12:48 PM  

  • I too went to a friend's wedding yesterday afternoon--I guess it was a popular day to get married. This is the 5th wedding of a high school friend so far. I have another next month and another in August. Don't even get me started on next year's agenda. While its all a celebration of wonderful blessings, I can't help but feel a little depressed about it all.

    By Anonymous Sharl, at 12:51 PM  

  • I do see where your coming from, Tom. You're right 100% right, no one should feel obligated. It's sort of like "Fear of the name only increases fear of the thing itself" If people think it's a big deal to come out then it must be a big deal to be gay, which is wrong because there is nothing wrong with being gay.

    Didn't mean to put words in your mouth, sorry if I did.

    By Blogger Megan, at 1:29 PM  

  • No worries, Megan! You rock! :-)

    By Blogger T-Mac, at 8:05 PM  

  • WOW. Thomas, this is why I really like you. You just lay out what you feel and have no issue with it. You look at situations from both sides and make your opinions and views based on that. You have true talent and gifts my friend.

    By Blogger truax, at 8:53 PM  

  • Good point--a rule of thumb I tend to use is: is this a person that I would date? Do they have a hot sister that I would be willing to date? Do they know anyone who has a hot sister that I could date?

    If the answer to any of those questions is no, then there's no reason to tell anyone--at least until they try to fix you up with a guy you're "sure to love!"

    By Anonymous kindersczenen, at 8:34 PM  

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