Published on August 30th, 2012 | by Healthy Gay Lifestyles0
Senate Bill 137: Why Do Republican Leaders Hate the Gays?
by Kage Alan
It’s an odd feeling to think of your life as a threat to the lives and loves of those who call themselves the moral majority. I usually try to annoy people on purpose and here I’m doing it by merely existing. It’s also an odd feeling to see so much of religion being brought into government after those before us specifically set the government up to keep them separate. In moving towards this reunification, it unfortunately feels like open season on the GLBT community, but there’s a difference between tragedy and preventability.
Back in September of 2011, there was a 14-year-old high school freshman who passed away when a cinder block wall collapsed on him in the school locker room. It was a tragedy and I can’t begin to imagine the pain his friends and family went through. Nobody could see something like that coming, though. He couldn’t have known. The architects didn’t say anything to him, an inspector didn’t raise any concerns, his friends didn’t try to weaken the wall before it fell and his parents didn’t suggest he avoid it. None of that happened and it would be silly to think that it would.
Now let’s consider the number of young gay teens who are committing suicide. Tragedy? Sure. Preventable? I’m going to have to go with a resounding ‘yes’ on this one. Not all, but many. These kids were bullied and many of their cries for help have been met with indifference or even deaf ears. How many teachers knew? How many administrators knew? How many parents knew? How many friends knew? But then…who knew it was bad enough to drive them to take their own lives? These things make the news all the time and the Republican leadership response has been a nearly resounding silence. And if not, the perception is that of a nearly resounding silence and perception is everything these days.
Michigan-where I reside-enacted anti-bullying legislation in the fall of 2011. Senate Bill 137 passed and the final version embarrassed the father of the young man it was named after and who needed its protection. Why embarrassed? Because even if had been passed prior to his son’s death, it probably wouldn’t have protected him anyway. Again, the question is why?
Senate Bill 137 includes a provision that states the legislation won’t cover First Amendment free speech rights and won’t prohibit expression of religious or moral viewpoints. We already know the moral majority doesn’t like LGBT folks and chances are their kids don’t either. You see, bullying can continue business as usual because all any of these folks needs to do is say they were doing so because of their religious and/or moral convictions. This part of Senate Bill 137 was insisted upon by Republican leadership in order for it to pass.
I’m reminded of a favorite film of mine, The American President. Michael Douglass’s character, the fictional president, is trying to pass a gun control bill that doesn’t do anything to stop illegal guns being on the street. Finally, he decides to take it off the table for consideration, go back, rewrite it so that it makes sense, then gather the support he needs to pass it. Did that sort of thing happen in Michigan? Of course not. This isn’t the wonderful world of fiction.
So what did it do? It made bullying in Michigan legal. And why? Because it’s obvious these same leaders-the vote was split down party lines-don’t like us and could care less if our kind are bullied and commit suicide. Their actions-or, rather, their inaction-speak loudly and it’s evident they could literally care less about it. It does at times make me wonder why they don’t just go the extra step and admit they’d rather we did all die off. That’s certainly how it feels. Remember that perception thing I mentioned earlier? Stick with me. It applies here, too.
What does it say about our leaders when they pass a bill that has no hope of accomplishing what it set out to do? What does it say about our leaders who say it’s acceptable to tell the people that it’s okay not to rent to us, give us jobs or allow us to see our non-recognized partners in the hospital? Isn’t the US supposed to be leading the world? And what does it say about us letting these leaders get away with it?
I just married my partner last February on the day of our seventeenth year together. President Obama has drawn a line in the sand between the two major political parties about this. No, not my marriage, but all gay marriages. As if I should be so popular. Well, I am, but just in my own mind. If he stays in office, our community stands to gain additional recognition, which amounts to the same recognition everybody else seems to enjoy while the other party maintains we’re asking for special rights. It sounds a bit like one of those jokes you hear in a bar, doesn’t it? And speaking of the other party, should they get into office, we can kiss any advancements we’ve achieved in the last couple years-as well as our well-muscled buttocks-goodbye.
But it’s all not doom and gloom. How do we prevent this from becoming a tragedy? We vote. We get vocal. We get word out. We correct the lies that are being spread about us. We use the truth to counter the accusations of propaganda. We put a face on who we are and that we’re no different than anyone else despite our advanced taste in good pop music, flair for sarcasm and shopping for deals at Macy’s. (That last comment was meant for my husband. It’s okay, though. He doesn’t read my work, so I can get away with saying things like that without fear of retribution!)
Kage Alan is the Babylon 5 watching, B-52s listening author of “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to My Sexual Orientation,” “Andy Stevenson Vs. the Lord of the Loins,””Gaylias: Operation Thunderspell,” and the short story, “Spacehunters: Master Elite and the Maternal Order of Loganites Beyond Uranus” in the forthcoming 2013 release of the “Butt Pirates In Space” anthology. http://www.kagealan.com