Monday, July 12, 2010

The Rare Benefits of Homophobia

Some would argue that being denied the right to give life-saving blood donations to their local chapter of the Red Cross or marrying anywhere in the U.S. are infringing on their ability to live normal lives. To those gay men and women, I am very sorry that you feel this way. Personally, I have embraced some of the homophobia and can now recognize the benefits offered by it.

Blood Donation: Any man who has had sex with other men since 1977 cannot donate blood. This FDA regulation was set forth in response to the AIDS crisis. Gay men are in a high risk group for HIV and hepatitis. Now, when someone in my office asks me to donate blood – regardless how diligent the campaign – I simply refer to the homophobic regulation still in place, “The FDA doesn’t accept blood donation from gay men, so I’m exempt.”

Gays in the Military: The restriction that prohibits gay men and lesbians from serving in the U.S. military says that “it would create an unacceptable risk to the high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion that are the essence of military capability.” I don’t really get it, but I get that I don’t have to serve in the U.S. military and that’s great with me. If our country can be one of the last Western civilizations to ignorantly ban homosexuals from military service, then I say gay men and women should appreciate our men and women who keep us safe everyday and just keep it moving. You can’t imagine how many would allege to be homosexual if we institute a draft.

Marriage Equality: I am a supporter of marriage equality and cannot understand how someone who is NOT gay would care if gay men and women were married. I believe, as comedian Wanda Sykes mentioned in her act, that the greatest threat to marriage is DIVORCE. That said, I don’t require the approval of mainstream America to validate my long-term relationship and don’t need Middle America to give my partner, my son and I permission to be a family. No piece of paper will bring us together, tear us apart or keep us together should we want to bounce. As ignorant an opposition as there was to marriages between individuals of different races in our nation’s past, we will look back and see how ignorant this issue is. If you’re NOT gay, why do you care if two consenting adults tie the knot?

Get Educated or Shut Up: Sherri Shepherd, a co-anchor on the popular daytime show The View highlighted the need for real education regarding the spread of HIV. She ignorantly declared that the rise of HIV infection in black women could be attributed to the large number of down low black men. Black women are NOT disproportionately affected and infected by the high number of down low gay and bisexual men of color. The Centers for Disease Control have dispelled that rumor, but it is ignorance like Sherri’s – who also believe (d) that the world is flat – that is remembered and shared. Let’s share the truth. First, you should treat EVERYONE you have sex with as though they are HIV positive. Second, get tested at least every other physical examination. Stop looking for a group to blame and educate on how to protect everyone.

Look, I don’t care for being discriminated against and I absolutely detest homophobia, but I accept that neither will go away in my lifetime, so while these issues are toggled back-and-forth I’ll look to turn lemons into lemonade. Hey, I don’t like either, but at least I can stomach the latter.

Keep passin’ the open windows…