You know what they say about people who make assumptions. Take for example the following exchange that occurred at a brunch an acquaintance of mine organized.
"Of course we must vote for Hillary," our host declared when the topic of the democratic primary came up. The other heads at the table all seemed to nod in agreement. In fact, a majority of our dearly beloved LGTB community is rooting for her victory.
"I actually haven't decided yet," I offered at the time.
With that I managed to bring the entire table to a standstill. You could have heard a freakin’ pin drop.
Mouth agape and fork midair, our host, nearly choking on his Bloody Mary, asked incredulously, "What do you mean you haven't decided?"
"I meant exactly what I said," I answered, becoming quite perturbed. "What? You don't think I'm going to vote for somebody just because every other homo is?"
Well, dear readers, apparently the answer to that question is yes.
Now before you all get into a snit and blow the foam off your lattes, I assure you, this is not going to turn into some tirade about why I like or dislike the former First Lady, current Madame Senator, and possible future Presidential Candidate. I'll leave the campaigning to her. Nor is this about extolling the virtues (or lack thereof, some would say) of her opponents.
What I am going to rant and rave about is how upsetting and uncomfortable it is to be a free thinker among a group of people when the expectation is that I be a good boy and follow and obey the laws of the pack. The herd mentality, if you will. Now granted I'm a big boy, but the last time I checked, I'm not cattle.
You can stop snickering now.
When it comes to having an active voice and participating in life, though I’m a proud member of our LGTB community, I’m not prepared to swallow the status quo. One of the things that I’ve always prided myself on is that I have never been a follower just for the sake of following. Peer pressure just ain’t my thing. If I stand behind something (or in front of, or on top of, or underneath it for that matter) you can be damn well sure that it’s because I believe in it with every ounce of my being. And not to put too fine a point on it, that’s a lot of ounces.
For instance, I believe that marriage, regardless of gender or orientation, is something that the heart should decide, not the government. This is a popular consensus. But I also think that though monogamy is a brilliant concept, its not the only way and its absence doesn’t necessarily promote or equate promiscuity. This is a not so mainstream train of thought. I think too many of us are obsessed with the more trivial aspects of our lives like wealth, youth and beauty, while we’ve become a bit too complacent when it comes to more important issues like AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases, substance abuse, and violence. I believe that there is room in our community for not only the L’s and G’s, but the B’s and T’s, and furthermore the Q’s, the I’s, while a lot of people don’t want to take the time to embrace anything outside of what the know and have experienced. And sadly, I often feel we live in a world that devours and corrupts our young, while we blatantly disregard our elderly. We say a whole lot and put on big airs, but how many of us actually get in the thick of things to be part of finding a solution? Instead we put all of our faith in someone else or an organization to fix everything for us.
What does all this mean? Simply that my beliefs are my beliefs. Others may support them, many may disagree with them, but ultimately everyone should accept the right that everyone is entitled to have the ability to be unique and have their own point of view, majority acceptance or not. I think if more people opened their eyes and really examined their beliefs and feelings, they wouldn’t necessarily jump on board any concept because it’s the popular thing to do, but because in their hearts they know it’s the right thing to do. Perhaps if more people would consider this, we wouldn’t have had to accept the conditions our country has endured the last eight years.
And by the way, in case you were wondering, I did in fact vote for Mrs. Clinton, obviously not to score any brownie points among my beloved people, but because we do share a common opinion about her. I happen to think that with her background, beliefs, experience, and her proposed plans for our country, that she is quite simply the best man…er, woman for the job.
Essential Download: "Dancing In My Dreams"
Artisit: Tina Turner
Available On: Wildest Dreams
Originally published in the March 2008 issue of The Empty Closet, New York State’s Oldest Continuously-Published LGTB newspaper since 1973, through the Gay Alliance of Genesee Valley.