There is much to be depressed about these days, with the country drifting seemingly irrevocably toward militarism, classism, and really stupid reality TV shows. However, there’s one issue that pleases me to no end, and that’s homosexuality. Every new development regarding homosexuality, like the recent Massachusetts Supreme Court decision that a ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional, or the Episcopal church’s election of a gay bishop, causes me to chuckle with glee. I feel hope and optimism about homosexuality. Yay for homosexuality! Hooray for gay!
What, you ask, am I talking about? Well, as you have probably noticed, right wingers are almost pathologically obsessed with homosexuality. Gay people really, really freak them out. I mean, ostensibly the reason is that homosexuality violates scripture, but hell, all _kinds_ of things violate scripture. You don’t hear nearly as much hue and cry from the right about stealing or adultery or failure to love one’s neighbor as onesself or failure to purify women after childbirth or all the many other behaviors condemned in the Bible. It’s just the homos. They talk about gays more than _gays_ talk about gays, and gays talk about gays a _lot_, especially on Bravo.
Thing is, it’s not only the wingnut evangelists. Most people above a certain age are profoundly uncomfortable with it. Even people who pride themselves on being totally rational abhor it. And if you press them, you find out quickly that there are virtually no reasoned arguments against homosexuality–or homosexual marriage, or homosexual adoption–that don’t collapse into incoherence almost immediately. Even when they appeal to scripture or “nature,” they sound like they’re looking for a peg on which to hang a pre-decided opinion. In the end, it just seems to come down to this: ick. Gay is icky. Some people just seem to feel that way on a level that’s deeper than argument or reason can reach.
Why is that? One might wonder. One might speculate. One might connect it to repressed homoerotic thoughts and desires. One might connect it to misogyny, with disgust at the idea of a man “taking it” like a woman. One might connect it to a certain defensive, emotionally closed-off, uni-dimensional view of “manhood” with deep historical roots.
But whatever. Who cares? I don’t care. If you think God cares about the gender of the person you love, well, you’re a dumbass, but go ahead and be a dumbass. Guess what–there’s no need to persuade bigots that homosexuality is “OK,” or that gays should be allowed to marry. Young people overwhelmingly feel a big “so what” about homosexuality. This is one area of the “culture wars” where the right is slowly but inexorably losing. Cultural attitudes about homosexuality are shifting, and there’s no trend I feel more comfortable and confident about. Within 20 years, gays will be getting married as a matter of course, and adopting, and being open about their sexual preference, and the sky will not fall, and marriage will retain its “sanctity” (such as it is), and our values will remain intact, and young people will think it odd that anyone ever cared enough to argue about it in the first place. It’s inevitable as the tides and the turning of the earth. No matter how much wingers squawk about it or try to make it an election issue or try to pass idiot constitutional amendments, it’s gonna happen. And I’m going to savor every little victory along the way.