Being gay in america essay


Legalizing gay marriages essays

Deans and professors promote the humanities as a training in critical thinking, but critical thinking leads to criticism, the last student activity university administrations want to encourage.

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It is not my place to judge my success, but during those years my self-declared goal was to make a stone weep, because maybe the weeping of stones would bring about change, real change—would make us understand that we have no future in the rape of the world, that we have no future in dividing and subdividing into nations and clans and fortified mansions with manicured lawns and access codes, that we have no future except through love. Leaving my last class of the semester, I encountered a student so lost in her texting, so oblivious to the living, breathing, gorgeous, fragile world, that had I not stepped aside she would have collided with me.

For me, veteran of the AIDS era of terror and anger and heartbreak, her oblivion precipitated the past into the present. Not even Dante could have devised a punishment so perfectly suited to the crime: the use of a weapon, to quote Cornel West, of mass distraction; a device that, by robbing us of our need to remember, facilitates forgetting. What we met and worked and marched and wrote and died for was radical transformation. What we settled for was marriage. The brave, righteously angry civil rights activists of the s became the brave, righteously angry AIDS activists of the s and early s, but we died or lost ourselves to grief, and by the time the white coats figured out the cocktail, by the time the drugs healed instead of killed, the people they saved were shells of themselves, and all that the survivors had the energy to do was lie on the warm sands of Fort Lauderdale or by the pool in Palm Springs and contemplate the mystery of survival.

State-sanctioned marriage would tame an impassioned bunch of outlier renegades. The crowd consisted almost entirely of white men; I saw only two black men in the audience. Afterward I approached one of the speakers to suggest that the demographics conveyed a message about the supporters and primary beneficiaries of same-sex marriage. He dismissed my observation as irrelevant, saying that such audiences always skewed male. The assimilationists have won, with state-sanctioned marriage as the very mortar cementing the bricks of the wall of convention that separates us from ourselves, from one another, from all that is unfamiliar, strange, challenging, and thus from learning and growth.

The assimilationists have won, with the neocons building their Wonder Bread philosophies upon the ashes of queers who laid their lives on the line in the fight for AIDS visibility and treatment. The assimilationists have won, those men and women whose highest aspiration was to be like everybody else, whose greatest act of imagination was picturing matching Barcaloungers in front of a flatscreen television and matching, custom-designed wedding rings.

The evolution from ACT UP and Zen Hospice to state-sanctioned marriage is precisely analogous to gentrification—the creative outliers do the heavy lifting, and when a certain level of safety has been achieved, the assimilationists move in, raise prices, and force out the agents of change. But while we recognize and make at least cosmetic efforts to address the darker aspects of gentrification, we have forgotten or marginalized the in-your-face, in-the-streets activists of the LGBT left.

So long as we, the outliers, insisted that we had something to offer, that our world, where we formed enduring relationships outside the tax code and the sanction of church and state, where we created and took care of families of lovers and friends and strangers alike—so long as we insisted that this world was richer, more sustainable, more loving in so many ways than the insular world of Fortress Marriage, we got nowhere.

Only when we exchanged our lofty ideals for conventionality was our struggle embraced. State sanction of same-sex relationships conveys certain privileges—I hesitate to call them rights—to a subset of the LGBT community even as it mimics mainstream discrimination by reinforcing a hierarchy of affection. Once, loving same-sex relationships served as an obvious critique of any necessary connection between love and marriage.

Now the American Family Association and Lambda Legal are in agreement: serious relationships lead to marriage. Everything else is just playing around. The legalization of same-sex vows is another step in the monetization of all human encounter. Under capitalism, love, like everything else that was once sacred, has become inextricably entangled with Social Security perks and property transfers and thirty-thousand-dollar weddings accompanied by prenuptial agreements written in anticipation of divorce.

When its advocates spoke of marriage as a civil right, they were speaking not of love, which remains mercifully and always indifferent to the law, but of property—its smooth acquisition and tax-free disposition, the many advantages it affords, one might say, to the married. Popular culture has always created and sustained an elaborate myth yoking love to marriage. In their novels, women are and understand themselves to be commodities and marriage the ultimate commodity transaction. Same-sex marriage extends that right, if it is such, to any couple willing to submit their hearts to the oversight of the law, though in the absence of the economic inequality imposed on women I struggle to understand why anyone undertakes such a course.

Should Gay Marriage Be Legalized?

I call them the laws of fear. That there are exceptions to this rule—marriages I know, admire, and respect, in which spouses work to bridge the wall, engage with the community, invite solitaries into their lives—does not belie the predominance and glorification of Fortress Marriage as the norm: the married couple whose friends are all couples, who divide the world into inside and outside, who practice an intense, couple-centered version of collective narcissism. Why does this matter? Because our salvation, our literal salvation in the here and now, in this nation, on this planet, requires our abandoning those ancient clan divisions in favor of the understanding that we are all one.

As the Buddha abandoned his family to undertake the search that led to enlightenment, so Jesus, that communitarian proto-feminist celibate bachelor Jew, rejected the ancient clan divisions in favor of a new order—Matthew — While he was still speaking to the people, behold, his mother and his brothers stood outside, asking to speak to him.

T o turn the counterculture question on its head, can someone be gay without being queer? Who puts what where is in fact important, not because of the obsessions of the homophobes and misogynists but because in sex the receptive partner is vulnerable, open, at greater risk. These, it turns out, are the essential qualities of love, the essential qualities of queer. It was so outrageous, you could not go any further. So you had to find a way to use it. Their lifelong, selfless practice rooted itself in their fecund, uneasy difference: their queerness. These queer writers and artists took unbreakable vows to their art, dedicating their lives to showing us, their audience, the human condition.

Through their art they showed us that the solitude we so fear, that we will do anything to escape, even marry—that solitude is an illusion, a scrim preventing us from seeing how we are all one, we are all in this boat together.


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Today, so long as we live in certain states and work for certain employers and have certain incomes and submit to received conventions of dress and gait and accent and beauty, we can assume the mantle of amnesia that is the prerogative of the powerful and prosperous. Now to be LGB T remains beyond the pale is no longer to be forced to look outside the norms, since our largely white, entirely prosperous leadership has so enthusiastically embraced the norms. Now we can get married. Now we are become the suits. Y ears ago, reporting on that ongoing capitalist tragedy called eastern Kentucky, I interviewed Harry LaViers, a Princeton graduate, as it turned out, and among the last of the old-time coal barons, complete with the gold Cadillac and an unmarked office.

He told me that anybody he was interested in talking to knew how to find him. Capitalism is the best system devised for getting goods and services into the hands of people who want them, he said, then added that it was also extremely cruel.

I appreciated his frankness—none of this trickle-down, supply-side folderol. One might think a truly civilized nation could acknowledge and ameliorate the cruelty, and yet since the Reagan years our government has been hell-bent on restoring unfettered capitalism, with its reliance on conquest, extraction, and exploitation, to its late-nineteenth-century shrine. What can liberate us from this death spiral of consumption we have created for ourselves?

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Each and every gesture carries a reverberation that is meaningful in its diversity. With enough gestures we can deafen the satellites and lift the curtains surrounding the control room. Capital, backed by a growing and ever more heavily armed police force trained to shoot, so thoroughly monitors and controls every expression of resistance that the violent demonstrations of the s come helplessly to mind. Our current political crisis arouses a dark urge to respond to the rhetorical violence of Donald Trump with the literal violence it encourages.

Would the Vietnam War have ended without riots on campuses?

Gay Rights and Religious Freedom Essay - Words | Cram

Would African Americans have made any progress without the burning of cities? Those events, and not World War II, challenge my commitment to nonviolence. Wojnarowicz could be describing our age when he writes,. In a country where an actor becomes the only acceptable president.

And yet if Pussy Riot can risk years in prison for defending the rights of women and freedom of expression, then my challenge is to rise to the model of their courage. The world is held together—really it is held together—by the love and passion of a few people. Our challenge is to bring their love, reinforced with knowledge, to the forefront: to showcase it as the true desire of the heart, to act out the biological fact that creation and civilization build themselves as much around cooperation as around competition; to teach, in the most emphatic way, our young to be queer, which, as every parent and teacher knows, is through example.

We do a little more than we think we are capable of doing, in the place and moment where history has put us.

I write in peony season—extravagant, sweet-scented peonies, reason in and of themselves not for optimism but for hope. Thanks to science, we are the first empire in history to possess the knowledge of what we are doing to ourselves, the causes of our environmental self-destruction—though, as prophets and artists and writers demonstrate, the visionary imagination has no need of data to read the writing on the wall. We are at an all-hands-on-deck moment in which we demonstrate either that knowledge may lead us to wisdom or that there is no necessary connection.

Spiritual matters and conservative ideas may oppose the legalization of gay marriage, what is primordial is that the freedom to choose what is right and wrong has been accorded to all human beings. Thus, conflicting ideas on matters pertaining to the legalization of gay marriage must be weighed down in the most equitable manner.


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  • Essentially, there are three major arguments that support the position that gay marriage should be legalized and these include respect on individual rights, non-interference of the church in governance and respect on the ability of gays to raise a family.

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