Thursday, November 02, 2006

Choice

I recently saw an episode of South Park a week or two ago and it was a catalyst that set off this entire blog, I hope some dialogue forms from this...
So the episode in question was the one about the town's flag and how Chef was incredibly offended by it - it showed a bunch of white stick figures hanging a black stick figure. Clearly the flag is a racist representation and symbol about the small white-breed hick town and it's racist past. But what got to me was how goddamn indecisive the people of the town were and how very realistic that is amongst the liberals/democrats of North America.
Throughout the episode, you had news casters constantly asking the populace questions like:
Should the flag be changed despite the tradition it holds?
And then came people's responses:
"I DO believe the flag is racist; but I do hold honor towards traditoinal values"
"I am a traditionalist at heart; but the flag is so very clearly racist, so I really don't know what to do"
Then come the KKK and how they support the option to keep the flag as it was - strictly for white power's sake. *always chanting 'white power, white power' in the background*
The non-racist, traditionalist people of south park don't want to be affiliated with the KKK and then comes the next news caster's question:
Should the KKK have their right to say their beliefs due to freedom of speech?
And then came people's responses:
"I am not a racist; but I do believe in freedom of speech"
"I completely believe in the freedome of speech; but I don't at all agree with what the KKK support"
At this point, Chef shoves the white guy outta the way saying "Get outta my way, you undecisive prick" or something to that accord.
And from that comes another story:
A few months ago, I was having dinner with a friend, whom I'll name Perry. We began talking about the Rev. Phelps and his Church of God congregation, going to the funerals of dead gays (dead from AIDS) and soldiers (dead from fighting in Iraq) and protesting the funeral saying that the gay person died because God hates gays and that the soldier died because God punished him/her for going to war (and killing is a sin).
Perry made a statement similiar to:
"I don't agree with his beliefs, but I agree he has a right to say those things; more importantly, no one has the right to tell him to stop"
Well, I'm sorry, for Chef, this white boy is making a stand. Rev. Phelps is wrong and shouldn't be allowed to broadcast his opinion to the world.
From this conversation, it went from Freedom of Speech, to Exodus - the ex-gay group, that advocates, if one chooses, they can join the group and lead a heterosexual lifestyle.
Perry, defended the right for the group to exist, speaking for those homosexuals that have a much harder life than me or Perry and couldn't simply live the "gay life".
I countered with "The option for a gay person to lead a straight life shouldn't be an option for that person - here choice is the enemy. Just because something is a choice, doesn't make it right for someone to choose it, even if they want it. We need to dig deeper and figure out why they want a straight lifestyle so bad and educate them to respect themselves."
I don't mean to sound preachy but it's how I feel. Perry went on to speak of a friend of a friend that was gay, but chose instead to get married, have a wife and couple of kids, and once the kids were in college, him and his wife (who knew of her husband) divorced. Perry countered with, "If he chose to live a straight lifestyle, his wife knowing full well about her husband, and them agreeing that the marriage was better than being shunned by his family - whose to say what they did was wrong? It was their choice"
Well sorry Perry, it's wrong. This person denied himself as no one else could. For the sake of his family, he lived a lie. Even if that lie is better than the truth, that makes him a coward; that especially makes him a coward. His children were rasied by a coward, will have to live with the knowledge their father is a coward and will learn that their grandparents never really loved their children, if their father was too scared to come out to them and live his life they way he wished. Instead, he belived one of the many viable options out there was to live as a straight person.
To me, this isn't choice. This is fear. There was no choice in the matter - either be straight and loved by your family or be gay and be hated and shunned by them. I'm not angry at the man's choice; I'm angry that this was his choice. That his culture, my society, his family all have this idea that being gay is something to be fixed; and what's more depressing is that this choice to not be gay is something to be fought for on par with my right to marry a man, or for a woman to choose when she wants to have a child.
This is me, a white boy, making a stand, that NO it's not a viable choice for me or any other gay person. It is not a right I will fight for the gay community and it is nothing to be proud about. There is no choice here - be gay or be dead - and I've made mine.

4 comments:

Bren said...

you told me to read your blog so i did. you make some bold statements. no offense, but it's a wonder how you try to advocate openmindedness in such a black and white paradigm. you can say people shouldn't have the choice to do or think such and such but there's no way to deny them of that choice. you can punish them after the fact which still doesn't eliminate the element of free will. or i suppose you could implement a deterrence. but those deterrences would be based on fear wouldn't they? people would be bullied or peer pressured by statements like "your family will hate you" and "be gay or be dead". and giving into social pressure like that would make someone a coward by your standards. that is unless everyone agreed with you view 100%. but where's the free will there?

people's choices are their own. the only choices you can make and judge are your own.

this is a half-white boy taking a stand. watch Last Supper.

Darek/Darciu/Dariusz said...

I've seen Last Supper - one of my favourite movies actually. I'm not judging anyone. I'm not telling him what his choices are - he made them, he created a family based on a lie and was fine with that. My question digs deeper - WHY did he feel the need to create a family?

Was it solely his own choice to deny his sexual orientation, create a family and then once that was done, divorce his wife?

Was it family pressure? A pressure I have no idea (my parents want me to marry a girl, but know I won't) about - maybe he felt he asbolutely had to create a family.

I have no idea.

If it's the first option, more questions arise. His wife knew her husband was gay, he clearly knew he was gay and I'm assuming his children did as well. Here's the question I wanted answered, that I asked Perry, "Say it's 10 years ago, and your friend and his wife are still married, have their young children and you're eating dinner with them. At this point, you're just a person at their dinner table, not a friend, but a complete stranger, if you asked your friend point blank - 'Are you gay?' what would his response be?"

I never got an answer, because Perry had to go leave. But the question is important. Could his friend answer, in front of everyone, that he is gay? Or would he deny it? If it's the former, fine, he made a choice, I don't agree with it, I wouldn't it advocate it as a choice for younger gay people that are struggling to come out, but I would have to accept it.

What if it was the latter and he denied it?

Coward. Period. In fact, the very defintion of the word:

Main Entry: cow·ard
Pronunciation: 'kau(-&)rd
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French cuard, from cue, coe tail, from Latin cauda: one who shows disgraceful fear or timidity

That's where my post came from - pretending to be something you are not and giving, what seemed like, hope to others (like Perry). The idea of "what people do, in private and in consent, behind closed doors, is their own business" only applies if people like Perry's friend, when push come to shove - admit to who they are and admit to denying their life.

Perry told me that his friend and wife knew about everything and they were fine with it. I told him I found it hard to believe that any woman (any person) can be "fine with" knowing her husband isn't sexually attracted to her; that anytime they had sex - he needed to think of someone else to get sexuall aroused.

We agreed to disagree at that point.

Jamie said...

We've already semi-hashed this out on MSN, but I am "Perry", and I am rather surprised by your George Bushian binary thinking. The Reverend Phelps is a monster, everyone (minus a few nutjobs) is well aware of that. I don't think he should be able to protest outside of funerals but he should be able to speak his mind (no matter how severely warped it is). Some very savvy gays have raised sponsors who donate money to gay charities every time Phelps makes an appearance--that's turning something evil into something good.

The same applies to Exodus International. You are walking a very dangerous line if you are suggesting they be shutdown or shutup. I for one would not want to live in a country with thought police. I never suggested people who have it harder should just try and "go straight" I merely suggested that it is not our place to say Exodus should not exist. We can educate and enlighten, and hopefully foster acceptance but to try and black out alternate views isn't helping anyone.

Your final argument is the one I find most frustrating. I actually had to walk away from my computer because it has this sense of urban arrogance: "There is no choice here - be gay or be dead" that is not like you at all. For many being gay IS being dead. Making snap statements from the comfort of an urban City, surrounded by accepting friends and a boyfriend is a lot easier than actually living it.

My friend's gay friend who married a woman did so in complete understanding. They were each at a point in their lives where they wanted to start a family. Wanting to pass on his genes, he married his friend and they started a family. Was it an ideal situation? hell, if I know, but apparently YOU do--enough to call a total stranger a coward and pass judgment on how he chose to live his life. Isn't the acceptance of queers largely based on reserving judgment until you know the complete story?

I think I can see where you wanted to go with your argument but then you just got really closed and strangely militant and I just found myself shaking my head.

Anonymous said...

I'm a coward and proud of it