In A New York Minute
A Gay Opinion 10/07/01
by R.A. Melos

It's been a month since the terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington DC, and except for a few days of human decency toward one another, nothing has changed. Yes, people have died, but ignorance and intolerance still abounds in the United States.

The Rev. Louis P. Sheldon, founder of the hate group Traditional Values Coalition, spread his ill-will with the declaration, in his opinion, organizations providing assistance to the families of the victims of the terrorist attacks should not provide aid to partners of same-sex relationships.

The Rev. Jerry Falwell, whom I've already mentioned in previous entries, two days after the attacks, stated gays, lesbians, abortionists, Pagans and the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) were partially to blame for God lifting the curtain of protection he held around the United States.

Well, aren't these two men just so special? Don't they show a side of organized religion we so rarely get to see? No. And no.

In the days following the mass murder I witnessed on my television screen, the American military issued orders banning discharges. Well, not all discharges, only discharges of straight military personnel.

Homosexuals are accused of having an agenda, as though groups like the Traditional Values Coalition, and the American military don't have an agenda? Am I missing something? I don't think so. I'm seeing ignorance, intolerance, and hate being spread on a daily basis.

Well, that hasn't changed since September 11th. The hate these men, and the many others like them, spread, was being spread long before September 11th.

I don't see much of a change in the American people since September 11th. Yes, the American Flag is flying everywhere. Patriotism is at the highest it's ever been in this country, but there is still ignorance and intolerance toward a very real portion of the population.

There were several homosexuals among the victims of the terrorist attacks, and they are dead because they are Americans, because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time, and not because they were gay. Well, I guess I am wrong. Something has changed.

Finally, homosexuals can get killed for being innocent bystanders and not because they are gay. I wouldn't call it a step in the right direction, but at least it is a change in the status quo of the ignorance homosexuals have to tolerate each day.

One of my coworkers, a naturalized citizen, formerly an Egyptian citizen, took offense when a local newspaper, The Home News Tribune, ran a letter from a bigot, er, gentleman, which essentially was anti-Muslim. He complained to me, and everyone else in the office, how terrible this was. My reaction to this was to tell him, as a gay man I've seen letters such as the one he was referring to, and I've felt it wasn't safe to walk down the street or even be in my own home at times. I guess I wasn't all that sympathetic to his feelings of being the victim of discrimination.

Although, when I reminded him I was gay, like he needed a reminder, I could see he lost interest in my feelings just as I lost interest in his feelings of being a persecuted Muslim. I don't feel any religion should be singled out as the one right or one wrong religion. I can see being persecuted doesn't open minds to the plight of gay victims of persecution. I can see, where ignorance and hate are concerned, nothing has changed.

I never thought such a thing was possible, but terrorists, mass murderers, have become the great equalizer. Terrorists don't discriminate when it comes to killing. So something has changed in the world. Homosexuals are now good enough to die along side heterosexuals. This is a sad commentary on the world in general.

When I was very young, and in grade school, probably 3rd or 4th grade, I remember being taught youth was the future promise of the world. We, the young people, were the hope for a world filled with peace, love and intelligence. I guess, somewhere along the way, the youth dropped the ball.

I didn't expect much in the way of change after the terrorist attacks, but for a brief moment, I felt the same things all Americans felt. I felt loss, and confusion, and sadness. Well, the sense of loss is gone, and the confusion is clearing, but the sadness is still with me. Not for the victims of this mass murder, but for the world in general, which still harbors ignorance and hate and thrives on closed mindedness in the wake of terror.

Yes, I do have an agenda. My agenda is to live my life as an open, out and proud homosexual. My agenda is to stand up to everyone and anyone who would deny me equal rights to heterosexuals. My agenda is to live with or without the approval of ignorant closed minded individuals who was clinging to outdated, outmoded acceptance of opposite sex relationships being the only type of relationships.

This is a new century, and we are facing a new type of war, and it's time we face a new world where homosexuals are just another segment of society, and not something to be denied because heterosexuals don't understand us.

The world changed in a New York Minute, and it will change again. I'd like for the next change to be a positive, pro-human being, change. I'd like to see ignorance and intolerance put aside and acceptance of homosexuality be the next change.


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