It's very important to have pride in yourself, in who you are as a person, and to believe in yourself as a person. The world may currently be in a state of confusion, but that doesn't mean homosexual issues have to take a back seat to world events. We are a world event. A terrorist attack may have killed many good people, and some of them were homosexuals. I want to believe they had pride in themselves, and wish they could've had the kind of equality to heterosexuals I speak of every day.

Have pride in who you are, and don't hide who you are.

Pride Life
A Gay Opinion 6/02/01
by R.A. Melos

As I sit here listening to the Bob Marley CD One Love, specifically the song "Three Little Birds" with the lyric "Don't worry about a thing, cause every little thing gonna be all right," I've just finished reading an e-mail news brief about George W. Bush, and his refusal to sign a proclamation for the month of June to officially be Gay Pride month. Now it's not that there won't be Pride Parades around the country, or even, by refusing to acknowledge homosexuality in a public way, all the homosexuals will pack up and disappear back into the collective closet so people like Mr. Bush can live with their head buried firmly in the sand blinded to the fact of homosexuality, which worries me.

I know the out homosexuals will parade, and many others will still come out. What worries me, or more precisely angers me, is the damage caused to many homosexuals, those still questioning themselves, those living in fear of coming out at this time, or being discovered at this time because of the political climate. The current head honcho has the nerve to say his reason for not signing a proclamation is that "sexuality is a private matter."

Well, once again, Mr. Bush proves his ignorance. Sexuality is not a private matter. The actual sexual act which takes place between consenting adults is a private matter, but being able to walk down a street and safely hold hands with your life partner is not a private matter. Being able to marry the person of your choice, to share a life with that person and proclaim your love and devotion for that person is not a private matter.

Every day, heterosexual couples walk down streets holding hands, and no one blinks, or snickers, or makes rude or threatening comments to them. Every day, heterosexual couples marry, and hold expensive, lets face it, over priced celebrations of their love for one another, inviting all of their family and friends to share in their joy. Every day heterosexual couples buy houses, without causing financial and legal difficulties just so they can own and share a home together.

No one questions a heterosexual couple on the type of ownership they have in their property, for it is assumed husband and wife share equally, and should one partner die the other would automatically inherit the property. No heterosexual risks losing everything they have to a "legal" family member of their late spouse, like so many homosexuals risk if they don't have proper legal documents drawn up between partners.

Hell, even if they have the proper legal documents drawn up, a relative can come along and challenge those documents simply because they disapproved of the lifestyle of their late relative and wish to express their disapproval by hurting the one person their late relative so obviously loved.

By subtly ignoring homosexuals, pretending they don't exist, or denying them the same respect and legal acknowledgment extended to heterosexuals, George W. Bush is sending a homophobic message to society. He is essentially telling the homosexuals to lie, keep your sexuality a private matter, hidden from straight society, don't flaunt it or have pride in who you are by birth.

Pride is the issue here, not a private sexual act. Having pride in yourself for being an honest and open person who isn't ashamed of having love for another person, and wanting to express that love publicly in the form of a parade, or a marriage, or a simple walk on the beach holding hands without fear of ignorant people threatening or attacking you, is what is truly at stake.

This is an issue of being respected as you are, just as homosexuals are expected to respect heterosexuals and simply accept the fact heterosexuals are given legal rights which are denied the homosexual community. There is nothing private about loving a partner, nor is there anything shameful about loving a partner, which should be kept private.

The message Mr. Bush sends is truly one of closed minded ignorance, proving he is a political leader who does not look at all sides of a situation before checking his own popularity rating to see which decision he should make. I'm sure his "religious right" friends are thrilled with his decision, which brings me to another point.

Is it just me, or has anyone else noticed how, in a land where church and state are separated, so many politicians spout their religious beliefs as being the same as their political platform? Is it just me, or have I heard more homophobia from politicians during the past six months, in the form of the phrases "sanctity of marriage," and "family values," than I heard when Barney Frank came out?

Ignorance, homophobia, denial of basic human rights, these are the things which keep me up at night, these are the things which worry me, because overlooking one denial, one lie, one threatening or bigoted remark, one incident of discrimination based on sexual orientation, is tantamount to the Holocaust in my mind. The Holocaust was the main event, but it is the events which led up to the Holocaust, the decisions which led to the deaths millions of Jews, blacks, and homosexuals in prison camps, simply because society chose to look the other way, which worry me.

Matthew Shepard was murdered because he was gay, and this terrible event because a turning point in the history of homosexuality. His death marked the time when homosexuals decided enough was enough, open cruelty was not going to be tolerated anymore. Just as the Stonewall Riots had done decades before, the issues of homosexuality came out of the closet in a very public way. It's time we, the homosexual community stopped allowing the ignorance of homophobic political leaders to deny us the respect and legal acknowledgments which are rightfully ours.

We have to stop allowing men like George W. Bush to turn our lifestyle into an issue of sexual act rather then sexual orientation. We have to publicly acknowledge our pride in ourselves, and show the heterosexual community sexual orientation is about more then a sexual act. We have to acknowledge our fallen heroes, like Matthew Shepard, who died simply because of who he was by birth, and have pride in the fact a young man like him lived and was not ashamed of himself.

George W. Bush is not ignoring a sexual act, or even sexual orientation, but rather he is ignoring the basic human right to have pride in yourself. He is coming to the conclusion the only thing separating homosexuals and heterosexuals is a sexual act, and not acknowledging all of the other things which go into being of one sexual orientation or another. He is not acknowledging the need for every human being to feel pride in themselves because they are good people, and loving people, choosing instead to focus on Gay Pride as a sexual act.

June is Pride Month, whether or not George W. Bush acknowledges it as such. This is the time when homosexuals celebrate who they are by birth, but perhaps we have to take this a step further, and abandon Pride Month for something more important. Pride Life.

We don't need one month to acknowledge our pride in ourselves, when we are given three hundred and sixty-five days a year in which to acknowledge our pride in who we are as people. We don't have to limit ourselves to thirty days, when we can wake up every morning and acknowledge our pride in who we were born to be, and wear our pride publicly by living our lives as we choose to live them, without the need for approval by men such as George W. Bush.

Yes, our lives are made more complicated by current rules of society, but there are many ways around those rules, through legal channels and some religious beliefs, which allow us to bond together in the eyes of the universe, and which help us maintain that bond through legal documents providing us with the legal protection we need in order to be equal to heterosexual society.

There will always be differences, legally, between heterosexual and homosexual marriages, just as there are differences between the way heterosexual and homosexuals view themselves, but one point where there is no difference is pride. We, the human race, are proud. Now let each individual feel that same pride, and live that pride.



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