“If you voted for Amendment One, then fuck you.”
Strong words indeed. This was a Facebook status a friend of mine posted shortly after May 8 this year, when Amendment One was passed, defining marriage in North Carolina as exclusively between a one woman and one man. It was a disheartening moment for the LGBT community, not simply because the measure passed, but because it passed with an emphatic 61 percent vote. In times like these, it is very easy to have an image of gay rights foes as faceless, overzealous bigots with no regard for human dignity. Hence the Facebook status above. But the truth is that these people are in fact not soul-sucking demons.
What I am saying may seem trite, but consider this. I originally come from Houston, Texas. Without getting into specifics, the culture I grew up around generally treated homosexuality as a foreign and off-putting concept (my last post somewhat briefly mentions this topic). Texas law forbids same-sex marriage. But from being around these folks my whole life, I know that for the most part, they are not hateful. Rather, their attitude towards the LGBT community stems from a fundamental lack of understanding, which leads to their overblown fears of the consequences of same-sex marriage. I believe that the same can be said about the average person who
One might reckon that this failure on behalf of gay rights detractors warrants our resentment, shown above in its extreme form. But having such feelings is not constructive, as it does not solve the main problem of a deficiency in familiarity. The only way to overcome such a huge deficit is through education. We see this more and more as homosexuality becomes a more recognized aspect of our society, which has resulted in increased support of gay marriage nationwide. So let us not distance ourselves from our opposition but instead embrace them, because only through mutual understanding can we expect to help them appreciate the true challenges that the LGBT community faces.
The issue of gay rights is one that I unequivocally support, but I try not to judge or disdain those who do not see eye-to-eye with me. With the election coming in less than two weeks during a time when the country is more divided than ever in recent history, I think it’s important for everyone to know a positive, effective method of civil discourse. Be proud of who you are and of your viewpoints, but have an ounce of respect and empathy for those who disagree with you if you ever want them to treat you the same way.