If you have been reading blog for any time, then you probably know that I don’t believe that marriage equality is the most important LGBTQ issue, however, it may seem like a bold statement to claim that ending the ban on gays and lesbians in a private organization is more important than the 1138 legal rights and benefits that marriage provides, but that’s what I am saying. The other day I wrote about the Boy Scout ban, and addressed the Family Research Council’s three reasons to defend the ban. However, their fear-mongering attempts can be summed up this way. All the Homo-hating efforts are about Othering us. Hate groups must make gay, and lesbian people out to be “not like everyone else.” The more our lives and our relationships seem “like everyone else” the more people accept us and come to understand why we deserve respect, fairness and equality.

 

I used the phrase, gays and lesbians, as the folks that are being Othered by the Homo-haters. What about bisexual, trans and queer folks? For the Homo-haters these folks aren’t even on the radar! For them, everything is all about perpetuating a myth that heterosexuality, is all that exists as normal. In the real world, Biology teaches us that sexuality is fluid, and even gender more fluid that we often consider. For the Homo-haters, every effort must be made to hide that truth and pretend that heterosexuality is the only sexual identity. So, as I write and talk about gays and lesbians, it isn’t out of a desire to ignore the rest of the rainbow coalition, but rather to focus on what the Homo-haters see as the enemy.

Othering, requires identifying “same or different,” and this poses real issues for gays and lesbians. We are very much the same and yet we are also very different. I think this has stopped us at times from effectively fighting back against the Homo-haters, because we have fought internally about what being same or different means for our own identity. For gays and lesbians, exploring same or different is about owning and articulating our identity. Heterosexuals never do this by default, and they don’t want to.

For them, the issue is a desire to make all sexual identity conform to one rigid model of heterosexuality. The very notion of homosexual (or gay and lesbian) is unacceptable as a sexual identity. In the Homo-hater’s world, But in an all inclusive world, our sameness is that we are all sexual beings who identify in some different ways. When the Boy Scouts accept  and admit gay men as scouts and leaders, they passively support those who self-identity in a way other than heterosexual, giving validity to the basis that we may all self identify in differing ways.

In practical terms is where “same and different” comes into play.  Straight boys and their families begin to see that boy scouts and leaders who self-identify as gay or lesbian are more like them than they are different, or the ways in which they are different, are ways that really don’t matter much. They begin to learn that respecting diversity doesn’t interfere with their own sense of self, and if anything strengthens it.

At the root of the Boy Scout ban is a belief that through a ban, our youth are benefitted. Fallacious. Our youth include boys who are not straight. We must end the ban so all of our youth are a part of the whole. The boys who are accepted are not benefitted by a perpetuation of a fallacy-based status quo. The other idea at the root of the ban is that gay or lesbian leaders are poor role models for youth and place our youth in danger. The only justification to support this is a circular argument, and with close examination, the circularity of it becomes evident. The only way to maintain this argument is by Othering gays and lesbians.

Gays and lesbians deserve full equality, and marriage equality is a major part of that, however the elimination of ways gays and lesbians are Othered is a foundational step towards Marriage Equality. Therefor, ending the Boy Scout ban helps the push for Marriage Equality in a very real and meaningful way.

 

Photo: By rotokirby

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