Coming to Terms .
Yesterday night I got a Lavender Latte at Milk & Honey with a friend. We began talking about dating and what we wanted in our lives. Little did we know, we got into a deeper conversation than we bargained for.
Through talking out loud, my friend came to realize that he was angry about many things. A big part of his underlying anger comes from being gay. He was unknowingly made straight and gay equivalents of good and bad. As a result, everything becomes compartmentalized. Going out with straight friends was the good thing to do, while going to gay events and places seemed less favorable. Lines were drawn and things became black and white. I asked him to look within himself, to ask what it is he wants and what it is that makes him happy. It seems so fundamental, yet sometimes even the best of us forget to think about it. Going with our feelings always seemed to be the right thing to do, but it’s not necessarily true, even if it’s the easier thing to do.
It’s disheartening to see a friend so angry and unhappy. However, an even greater heartbreak is the realization that it isn’t just my friend that is disconcerted with being gay, but a vast number of the gay community. The first question that usually comes to mind is “Why?” Why do people choose a gay lifestyle? Why are they different or weird? Why are they so unhappy? The question that should come to mind is “Why do people treat others differently based upon their sexual orientation?”
Society draws lines to protect people from hurting each other. Lines are created to keep people from crossing them and going to far. These rules that are created to safeguard us are the same ones that hurt us. Men are supposed to be masculine and the breadwinners, while women are supposed to be mothers, teachers, and nurses. Rules and norms are created to benefit and lead us to a greater society, but what’s good about the rules if they limit our potential?
The population that wishes to protect their family through projecting their dismay upon the gay community is the same one that breeds hatred. They’re leading a generation towards a future of intolerance and a lack of emphasis upon understanding others. They put definitive rules on a world with seldom constants. As a result, people become even more fearful of the unknown and grey area. Instead of fueling a drive to uncover knowledge and the underlying currents, people learn to dissociate themselves and make fun of what they don’t necessarily comprehend.
Being part of the community already comes with challenges and questions. “Why me?” “Am I Bi” “Will my family still love me the same way?” A number of people in the gay community grow up in hostile environments which cause them to have difficulties adjusting socially and even mentally. They grow up with complexes such as father complexes and trust issues. It’s more difficult for some than others. Some are able to grow from the less than ideal circumstances, while others fall victim to society’s empathetic shortcomings. Being different makes people in the community question themselves and what it means to be gay. It’s rather dispiriting to see people shattered by labels such as masculine and feminine. Even within the society, labels constructed by society take its toll. Words can be debilitating as sticks and stones without social support to recover and adapt.
The world we live in should teach us how to draw lines to protect us, not the ones that divide us. Being gay is not a condemnation of a bad life, it’s a condemnation of vulnerability to a large part of society’s narrow and limited views. Though everyone has different dreams, at the end of the day we all just want to be happy and loved. People don’t have to be gay or interested in the same things to strive to understand and support one another. You just have to be human.
Most people think that I was named for the state, but it’s not true, I was named for a battle ship. The U.S.S. Arizona. My grandfather was serving on the Arizona when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, and he saved nineteen men before he drowned. Pretty much everything my father did his whole life was about honoring that sacrifice. I was raised to be a good man in a storm. Raised to love my country. Love my family. Protect the things I love. When my father, Colonel Daniel Robinson of the United States Marine Corps, heard that I was a lesbian he said he only had one question. I was prepared for “How fast can you get the hell out of my house?” But instead, it was “Are you still who I raised you to be?” My father believes in country the way that you believe in God. And my father is not a man who bends, but he bent for me because I am his daughter. I’m a good man in a storm. I love your daughter. And I protect the things I love. Not that I need too, she doesn’t need it. She’s strong, and caring, and honorable. And she’s who you raised her to be.
Knowledge is Power .
“Research on children growing up in lesbian or gay families, compared with those growing up in heterosexual families, dismisses these fears (disturbances in gender identity or sexual identity). For example, an overwhelming number of children growing up in lesbian or gay households have a heterosexual orientation (Allen & Burrell, 2002).
The adjustment and mental health of children in lesbian and gay families are no different from those children in heterosexual families (Gartrell et al., 2005; Golombok et al., 2003; Patterson, 2006).