S/he said: Love, gender roles and coming out

By |2018-01-16T09:30:50-05:00February 18th, 2010|Opinions|

Compiled by Howard Israel

“A 13-year-old knows a lot about his sexuality. Think back to when you were 13. Maybe your tastes have changed, but you were still you, and you knew when you had a crush. I imagine your son would like to hear – even now, belatedly – that you’re proud of him for telling you this (there’s no way it was easy); and that you love him, always have. Your love presumably has never been contingent on who he loves, so why start now? Also assure him that he can come to you, since the road from 13 to independence is hard for everyone. Parents and kids are both in the business of finding a comfortable and stable emotional place in the world, and anytime they can be each other’s allies in that quest, both are that much better for it. This has nothing to do with anyone’s sexual orientation.”
– Carolyn Hax, syndicated advice columnist, responding to a mother’s question about her 13-year-old son who informed her that he is gay, Detroit Free Press, http://www.freep.com, Feb. 11.

“I nowhere in my blog said we should lock homosexuals up in prison. What I said is that our public policy toward homosexual conduct should be the same as our public policy toward intravenous drug abuse. Homosexual behavior represents a severe threat to public health, and is even more dangerous to human health than intravenous drug abuse. Because of the health risks involved, curtailing homosexual behavior should be as much a public policy concern as curtailing intravenous drug abuse. Quite simply, if intravenous drug use is against the law, homosexual behavior should be too. It’s a simple matter of common sense, sound public policy and a concern for public health.”
– Bryan Fischer, American Family Association director of Issues Analysis and radio host of “Focal Point,” in a Web site posting titled “Why Homosexual Behavior Should Be Against the Law,” http://action.afa.net, Feb. 3.

“A popular question among heterosexuals who are trying to figure out this whole gay thing is ‘Who’s the man and who’s the woman?’ They want to know about gender roles because heterosexual society has a strict and uniform place for men and women. Any gay man who has ever been called a flamer, sissy, nancy or fairy, and any lesbian who has ever been called a dyke understands that disrupting these iron-clad gender roles is a big ol’ no-no. Regardless of what the rights are that we’re fighting for, there’s evidence that sexism and homophobia are strongly related. Evaluating the similarities and differences of our cause diverts attention from the fight we’re both waging against those who hate us. Instead of engaging in a contest to see which right is more valid, we must join together against those that believe that a woman’s right to choose a pregnancy or a man’s right to choose a husband are the same thing – sinful abominations.”
– Abbie Kopf, in her column titled “Why Every Gay Rights Advocate Should Be a Feminist,” about the gay rights and the women’s movements sharing common enemies and common goals, http://gayrights.change.org, Feb. 4.

“Rich says that it’s no big deal to live hiding one’s sexual orientation. If you’re straight, try it for one day. Try never mentioning your spouse, your family, your home, your girlfriend or boyfriend to anyone you know or work with – just for one day. Take that photo off your desk at work, change the pronoun you use for your spouse to the opposite gender, guard everything you might say or do so that no one could know you’re straight, shut the door in your office if you have a personal conversation if it might come up. Try it. Now imagine doing it for a lifetime. It’s crippling; it warps your mind; it destroys your self-esteem.”
– Andrew Sullivan, in his blog, about the debate about repealing “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com, Feb. 8.

“The researchers administered a detailed, anonymous questionnaire to nearly 1,900 students in 14 Montreal-area high schools, and found that those teens who self-identified as gay, lesbian or bisexual, or who were unsure of their sexual identity, were indeed at higher risk for suicidal ideation and attempts. However, teens who had same-sex attractions or sexual experiences – but thought of themselves as heterosexual – were at no greater risk than the population at large. Perhaps surprisingly, but consistent with previous studies, the majority of teens with same-sex sexual attraction or experience considered themselves to be heterosexual.”
– From a posting titled “Youth Who Self-Identify as Gay, Lesbian or Bisexual at Higher Suicide Risk,” about a new McGill University study of LGB youth that concluded that self-identity is the crucial risk-factor, rather than actual sexual behaviors, http://www.sciencedaily.com, Feb. 6.

“Although Valentine’s Day is supposed to be a celebration of love and friendship, for many people, Feb. 14 conjures up feelings of sadness, loneliness and hopelessness. For LGBTQ youth, surviving any holiday can be challenging: a Thanksgiving dinner with family members who are not accepting of their sexual orientation; youth who were kicked out of their homes because of their gender identity. Indeed, it is often the days which our culture and society identify as the most celebratory that can ultimately be the most devastating for LGBTQ youth. Valentine’s Day can be especially tormenting for the younger members of our community as they navigate the complicated world of romance and love – from a first crush to a first kiss, to a first date or a first relationship. Many LGBTQ students feel excluded as their classmates exchange Valentines and they sit as bystanders, perhaps feeling too scared to share their feelings for that special someone, or refusing to hold their significant other’s hand for fear of being bullied by their peers. If you’re a young person who identifies as LGBTQ and you find yourself feeling sad, lonely, helpless or hopeless today, please remember: you are not alone.”
– Charles Robbins, executive director of The Trevor Project, the leading national organization focused on crisis and suicide prevention efforts among LGBTQ youth, in a posting, http://www.lgbtpov.com, Feb. 14.

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BTL Staff
Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 27th anniversary.