Here's Rant #4. You can find Rant #1, along with info about what prompted it, here:
Rant #1: Change!
One of the posters to the Yahoo! group thread I was ranting on mentioned that my speaking up on that group took courage. Here is my response:
I must disagree that what I wrote took courage. I have been speaking up for people like me for a very long time. What takes courage is living as an out lesbian for over 40 years.
I do find it interesting that a few of the folks who spoke up expressed some trepidation about doing so, even though none of them are gay themselves. That tells me that speaking up for equal rights is still a scary thing to do, even here.
When I was young in the 1960s I spoke up for black people when I joined the Civil Rights Movement. Then I discovered that, as a women, I was lacking many of the rights I was trying to help others obtain, so I joined the Women's Movement. When NOW tried to purge the "lavender menace" from their ranks, I finally realized that I belonged in an even tinier ghetto of people who would be the last (if ever) to obtain equal civil rights.
My family has been in this country for 400 years and members of my family have fought in almost every war this country has waged, from the Revolution, through the War of 1812, the Civil War, and World War II. (Somehow we missed the Great War of 1914-18.) Given the principles on which this country was founded, I find it astonishing that equal rights for everyone is still such a contentious issue.
I would like to mention that I no longer speak up for myself. I am 68 years old, and it's too late for me. I'm speaking up for the young, some of whom are your own children. I don't know how many children the members of this group have altogether, but I guarantee you that some of them will turn out to be gay or bisexual. Some may even be transgender. I speak up to remind you that every time you say something that indicates your disapproval of gay and lesbian people, you may be telling your own child that he or she is not OK.
Tyler Clementi came out to his parents moments before he left home to attend Rutgers. By his own account, his mother didn't take it well. I can't imagine how she must feel now if she considers that a few accepting words from her might have been enough to prevent his feeling so utterly abandoned that his life was no longer worth living.
I'm sorry to bring up such a heavy subject on this mostly lighthearted list, but this is a serious issue, and I think most heterosexual people believe it has nothing to do with them. Where do you think gay people come from?
Catherine M Wilson