In all actuality, I pretty much ignored what was happening, though I simmered silently and I made a point of letting those around me know that I wouldn’t put up with anti-gay talk in my presence. I wouldn’t put up with any kind of judgment against anyone. One of the very first things I learned in church as a child was that we were not to judge our fellow human beings, but only to love them as God loves us all. Those who claim to be Christian are dishonoring Christ when they make judgments about the lives of others.
It wasn’t until late 1998, after the death of my husband, that I became even peripherally involved, after I joined AOL and began using their message boards. It was a story on AOL that led me to the boards discussing ‘gay issues’ and I have to say that some of the nonsense some people were posting made me physically ill. One of the issues I remember most clearly was the Supreme Court decision that voided laws against ‘sodomy’ in all fifty states. It clearly effected gay men more than anyone because those were the laws most police agencies used to persecute gay men. I pointed out to one fellow that, as the SC said, it was an invasion of privacy. I also pointed out that those same laws, because of the way they were written, could be used to arrest a man and wife who occasionally enjoyed anal or oral sex. (That was when I learned that the oral sex my late husband and I had enjoyed was illegal in our state!) I asked one man how it would make him feel if the cops burst in to his home while he was having sex with his wife. He said it couldn’t ever happen. Asked him what state he lived in, looked it up and told him that he COULD be arrested if he and his wife had oral sex because that was written into the law against ‘sodomy’ in his state. (Also provided him with a link where he could read it for himself.) I don’t think it changed his mind about homosexuality, but it sure made him pay more attention to exactly what laws were being passed in his state and in the country and the wording of them.
The ones who have always ticked me off are those who refuse to look at the evidence or refuse to believe said evidence. Those who still blame AIDS on homosexuality; those who make claims that somehow the gays in their cities (or even in remote cities) are somehow ‘to blame’ for their son or daughter (or nephew/niece or uncle/aunt or brother/sister) “becoming” gay. For some reason they just cannot accept that no one “becomes” gay; that a person either is or isn’t gay through no choice or action of their own or anyone else’s. Tell them that a gay man who lives to 100 as a virgin is still a gay man and they’ll argue with you. (Tell them I’ve not had sex since my husband died in 1998 and they’ll try to say I’m “no longer” a heterosexual!)
Another group that pisses me off are the ones who try to claim this is a “Christian nation”. Point out that there are only two mentions of religion in the Constitution and both of those are prohibitions, (Article VI states quite clearly that “….no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.” and the 1st amendment which, by declaring freedom of religion, prohibits any national religion) and they’ll try to argue the way the date is recorded or jump to another document, claiming relevance of the wording of the Declaration of Independence or other documents as ’founding documents’. I’ve even read claims that the 1st Amendment means “freedom to choose any denomination of Christianity” but no other religion!
Then there are the ones who try to tell me I’m not Christian because my beliefs don’t march in lock-step with theirs. Ask them to define “Christian” and they’ll give you a litany of their beliefs, rather than stating the obvious: A Christian is one who believes in and follows the teachings of Jesus Christ. Ask them what Jesus taught on just about any subject and they start quoting Old Testament verses, rather than the words in the Gospels that are His words and teachings. Point out His teaching that we are not to judge others and they’ll find verses from other books saying we are, completely misunderstanding that those books are talking about judging within their own church, not anyone and everyone.
In short, I guess my activism (mostly on-line in various forums, though I have occasionally confronted bigots in person) stems from my belief that no one has the right to tell another how to live, except in cases where actual harm can be caused. As I see no harm being caused by two gay men or two lesbians getting married or simply living their lives, or by a transsexual expressing his/her gender, I will not sit by and watch as others attempt to insult, degrade or persecute them. Just as I will not sit by and watch as anyone tries to insult, degrade or persecute another for not following any certain religion.