You and the World Blog 1 - Gay Marriage

The You and the World project is a year long research and blogging project in English class focused around an issue that is important to “you.” The project will help educate ourselves on an important issue. In the spring, we will finish the project by using our research to make an impact in the world around us. As my favorite youtubers like to say,  we will “help decrease world suck.” I hope to do just that.

My issue is gay rights and gay marriage. Though I personally support gay marriage, I am doing research to help see all perspectives on the issue, because one must know what they are fighting against in order to fight it. I am also researching how gay rights struggles reflect the struggles of African-American people in the 20th century, and the controversy on whether gay rights are civil rights or not.

Let me give a little background information. Homosexuality, by definition, is having sexual feelings for someone of the same sex. Homosexuality has been shunned upon for centuries due to different understandings of religious texts and the time-old fear of anything different from the norm. Some Christians believe homosexuality to be a sin. Others believe that marriage can only be “an exclusive union of a man and a woman,” never for a man and a man or a woman and a woman. In some countries still, homosexuality is a punishable crime. For example in Iran, any people caught having same sex relations are punishable by death. 

Screen Shot 2012-11-28 at 10.40.16 PM
Screen Shot 2012-11-28 at 10.40.16 PM
(Click here to see a gay rights photo essay of pictures like the one above)
In the USA, gay marriage rights are slowly gaining the majority votes and seeping into state constitutions. A recent poll shows that 51%, the majority, of Americans support gay marriage. 60% of young adults support gay marriage, while 66% of senior citizens oppose gay marriage. This may show that as time goes on, when that 60% of young adults have children who also support gay rights, the country may become more and more accepting of gay marriage. Our country is also still divided by political views, as 81% of “very conservative people” oppose gay rights, and 75% of liberals support gay marriage. Gay marriage or no gay marriage, the country will never be happy.
Screen Shot 2012-11-28 at 10.40.01 PM
Screen Shot 2012-11-28 at 10.40.01 PM
(Click here to see more charts like the one above)
Some people against gay rights pose one strong opinion regarding gay rights.  These people believe homosexuality to be a choice--a personality trait one chooses to learn and a trait one can easily unlearn. When pro-gay activists argue that gay rights are civil rights, the opposition uses the idea of chosen homosexuality to fight back. Marshall Brown, a Council Member in D.C, says "You can choose to be gay or not, but you can never choose to be black or not." A pro-gay rights activist may argue back that homosexuality is a trait an individual is born with. They might argue that gay rights is a continuation of the struggle for equality black people so passionately fought for. Marshall Brown argues back that homosexuality is so easily hidden, whereas no one can hide the color of their skin. So who is right? Are gay rights civil rights?

The civil rights movement was partially driven by the idea of black pride, celebrating ones heritages and embracing oneself. Isn’t it that same idea, of pride in being oneself, that drives that gay rights movement? Marshall Brown’s last point about being able to easily hide ones sexuality addresses this same point. If it was possible to hide the color of your skin, would you do it? The civil rights movement was a fight against having to live a life built for them - a fight to live independently and equally with everyone regardless of their differences. LGBTQ people want a life where they can live without being judged by their differences - a life where they have the rights to the same privileges as everyone else regardless of sexuality. Aren’t those fights the same? If so, can LGBTQ people win like African-Americans did?

I want to help show young people that you should take pride in being oneself - whether you are gay or japanese or black. I want to show how your own struggles with race and faith reflect gay rights and sexual equality. I want to show that everyone wants to be happy as much as you want to be happy, and why ruin anothers chance of happiness when you do not get a reward? True happiness is being free of judgement - so why not free someone else? 

Here is a list of websites where you can learn more about gay marriage and what you can do to help.
Freedom to Marry
International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association
Human Rights Campaign

Here is a link to my bibliography Stay tuned for my next blog!