Since I follow NOM on Facebook, I have at least one “WTF!?” moment every day when I see something on my newsfeed.
Today, I learned that I’m a fascist.
I don’t know how much credence can be given to this story that a woman got bullied at her front door by a liberal, pro-gay rights activist. Anyone can go on Rush Limbaugh or any other call-in radio show and make up anything they want. But for the sake of it, let’s pretend that this really did happen and this woman really was intimidated by a canvasser in her own home to the point where she felt threatened by this “evil person”.
Apparently she was asked to sign a petition against the ballot initiative in Minnesota to define marriage between one man and one woman and she told this canvasser that she supported his right to his own opinion but she disagreed with his views on marriage at which point the conversation went from bad to worse. According to the caller, “Then he really went off the wall and started yelling and screaming and shouting and waving his arms.”
First of all, I would like to apologize to this woman first and foremost as a canvasser. Supposing that this really did happen. As a canvasser, I do everything I can to approach people with sensitivity, recognizing that not everyone I talk to is going to agree with me on politics. In fact, I had my own interesting run-in last weekend. Long story short, no one should ever feel intimidated by a canvasser. That’s not our job. Our job is to connect with voters, to have conversations, to exchange ideas and try our best to sell ours. If people don’t want to talk to us, we shake the dust off our feet and go on our way.
Secondly, I would like to say that when we frame political discussion based on extremes, we get nowhere. The only way forward is earnest discussion between reasonable people of good faith. People who “go berserk” are not going to lead the way forward, whatever side you’re on. People who compare gays to Nazis or terrorists are not going to lead the way forward. People who propose an “underground railroad” to save kids from gay parents are not going to lead the way forward.
As an advocate for LGBT rights, I ask heterosexual people who oppose LGBT rights to examine what exactly they’re opposing and why. As necessary as legislation is, the best way forward is for all LGBT people to live their lives as authentically as possible – something that’s not always easy, which is why I would like to particularly call on other gay men to do so since we, as a group, enjoy the greatest privilege of any letter in our community. (Of course I don’t want to say that all gay men enjoy the same level of privilege, any number of other factors come into play from religion to socio-economic background, to where you live, etc.)
The more visible we are, the more authentic we are as queer people, the less credence the Right Wing has when they point to stories like this about “gay fascists” taking over America and trying to “take away religious freedom”. People will be able to dismiss these stories when they know our faces, when they know our own stories, when they know that we’re they’re friends, co-workers, children, sisters and brothers.
I’m out. Are you?