Who Cares?

Comment: Why do people feel the need to publicly announce their sexual preferences and all this crap about being scared and alone? If you’re okay with your life choices and proud of who you are, then what’s the problem? Who cares?

Response: Who cares?
How about Alan Turing who was one of the great mathematical minds of the twentieth century, who broke the German enigma code in WWII saving thousands of lives, but was arrested and chemically castrated because it was illegal to be gay. How about the untold masses of gay people who have been persecuted because of their sexual orientation? They care, because being able to speak freely about their sexual orientation without fear of persecution enriches freedom and it honors the memory of those who suffered.

Who cares? How about the next generation of LGBTQ who read in the news about bathroom laws. They need to know that it can be a safe world for them someday and that they can succeed in the face of a hostile society.

Who cares? How about LGBTQ service men and women? They proudly serve our country despite the ignorant bigotry displayed by those they protect. They also know that freedom isn’t free and that freedom is something that must be exercised or lost. In this light, their service and sacrifices should be acknowledged and celebrated, not hushed.

Why do you need to hear it? Because speaking about it is a first step to being able to live your sexual orientation without fear of reprisal. Heterosexual people speak of and demonstrate their sexual orientation ubiquitously. Why can’t LGBTQ people? Men and women hold hands together without comment or derision. Men and women kiss in public, grab each other’s butts in public, and so on. The advertisement industry operates on the principle that sex sells (mostly heterosexual sex of course) and it succeeds. To those who profess they don’t care, I’d look into your heart to uncover what your reaction to a gay or lesbian couple kissing in public would be? Would it be indifference? Would you not care?

I acknowledge the first time I saw it, I had an uncomfortable reaction. But that reaction belongs to me and as I meditated on it, it became clear that someone else’s freedom cannot be hinge on my comfort level. Barriers to freedom must be contingent on harm. Being uncomfortable does not amount to being harmed.

Why do you need to listen? Because elected officials, in the majority, are actively seeking to repress and remove freedoms from people who are LGBTQ. They are able to do it because of the view that the LGBTQ community is dangerous. But if you listen to the voices of the people coming out, you discover that sexual orientation isn’t a predictor of evil. People like Stefanie Dolson, UCONN Women’s Basketball champion, Tim Cook CEO of Apple, Robin Roberts, anchor of Good Morning America, Michael Sam, football player and the 2013 SEC Defensive Player of the Year, Djuan Trent, Miss Kentucky 2010, and Pat Patterson, WWE Champion all contributed to society in meaningful ways, often defying the stereotypes held about LGBTQ people. Those stereotypes are feeding ignorance, which in turn is fueling nonsense legislation like the bathroom laws. If you think being quiet is a way to overcome injustice, you’re not paying attention.

If you profess not to care, fine, don’t care. But I suspect you do care (and I encourage you to care from whatever position you like). If you care, then you need to listen, and know that while your opinion deserves to be in the marketplace of ideas, it doesn’t mean it’s right.

What do you think? Have we put the past behind us with respect to sexual orientation? Is listening to all these celebrities come out doing more harm than good?

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