Well, should it even be an issue? I ask myself this question every time the topic comes up. My parents always told my brother and I, “You are no less and no more than anyone in this world; so never think you are more important or less important than anyone regardless of class, race or gender — you are equal” (in addition to more revolutionary words, in which I will cherish and keep to myself ) and we continue living with this philisophy. However, coming from a very Catholic and Latino home, homosexuality was perceived as an unnatural way of life in which should be lived in silence — living in an open partnership was unconventional, let alone marriage or children! Apparently, I was not alone in this upbringing…
I went to a High School predominantly consisting of Latinos and African-Americans. So one can imagine homophobia brewing within an environment filled with thousands of adolescents trying to “fit-in” all with a similar perception of what homosexuality is. Being labeled, “gay”, “lesbo”, “faggot” was feared by many hetero’s and even closetted individuals. It was after graduation where many explored sexuality and felt secure enough to embrace their orientation. Once again, education is key and it helped me understand many things beyond excerpts from a bible and the universality of love and attraction.
In a society where everything is deemed black and white, the attempt to view the gray area of everything takes a little more work and a little more work is a concept many people choose not to bother with. Within the realm of politics in our society many will label themselves democrats or republicans, conservatives or liberals. In the realm of color, for years there was either black or white and now that brown comes in the mix and more work is required to understand the diversity within a gray area of race — some choose to stereotype, persecute and promote xenophobic policies. The same goes for the topic of gender where only the role of man and woman co-exists with each other along with sexual orientation.
The formula to this narrow-minded concept is: A baby is a either a boy or girl and this boy or girl become a man + woman who will eventually at some point come together to make children and form a family.
However, gender and sexuality holds a gray area as well. Western culture recognizes only two sexes, however as many do not know there are three major subgroups of sexes in which humanity can fall under; a mixture of sexes or intersexes. These are hermaphrodites (herms), female pseudohermaphrodites (ferms) and male pseudohermaphrodites (merms). But even this information is limited as sex can be vast but it is unexplored as it can become complex for society…so thanks to science, it has simplified it down to boy or girl.
Once science determines the sex of the baby (boy/girl), the door to gender roles open. Blue/Pink, Dresses/Navy Outfits, Barbies/G.I. Joes all choices based on the sex of the baby. And these are never-ending choices in which a child must choose according to their sex; where if they don’t, it can be deemed a cause for concern. And as the choice for a life partner arises so does a typical and “natural” expectation occur, it must be the opposite sex. But sometimes it isn’t and thus society chooses to stigmatize and punish ignoring the gray area of it all. Society as progressive as it can claim to be, digresses back to religion and the question of morality/normality & the preservation of it all.
Today we live in a society that swears by the word progress and a culture in which state and church are said to be separate. Our society denounces any other nation-state in which church and government are intertwined, labeled “archaic/developing”; countries in need of OUR help to progress. But this is the pot calling the kettle black as church and state have not completely eliminated their ties with one another. Clear example: Gay Marriage. Considered sodomy and illegal in some states, homosexuality is looked down upon as a monstrous way of life to some. And now New York State is put to the test, should it legalize gay marriage?
In one of the most diverse states in the country, New York represents what the world is today… a melting pot. A melting pot of decisions, ways of life — cultures. The Assembly has passed the proposed bill and now on to the Senate. Consisting of a Republican majority, the bill is one vote shy away from it being passed and all it needs is a Republican vote. However, the Republican party has announced that any Republican Senator supporting this bill will lose support by the party itself if they vote to pass the bill. This following religious representatives such as the Catholic Archbishop denouncing homosexuality and the Republican party reinforcing their mission on, “preserving family values” — this coming from a party that freaks out when the government so much hints at involving itself with any economic issue (ie: Corporate America).
Gay marriage should not be an issue as it is more of a private and individual choice. Just like a Latina can be with a person of another race (well at least after the anti-miscegenation laws were eliminated in 1967 in the U.S.) no one should have the ability to deny a person to be with another simply because it is not deemed “normal” by our society. Who we choose as partners does not depend on our government nor can government deny individuals rights others already and automatically enjoy simply because they are different. By passing this law (in which if Senate passes it, Governor Cuomo has announced he’d sign it), New York will establish a sense of equality and example for other states in which should treat and permit the LGBTQ community to live their lives as everyone else. And not be set aside as a specific group simply because they choose to live their life differently to what society deems acceptable. Instead they choose to live in a gray area, in which many people need to learn about and respect.Follow @BellaCereja