When I sat down and really thought about whether or not same-sex marriage is a “human right,” the answer turned out to be simpler than I thought.
Marriage in its quintessential form is a religious contract, and therefore protected under freedom of religion. Since more faiths exist than just Christianity, and not even all Christian beliefs prohibit same-sex marriage, freedom of religion is actually more of an argument in favor of same-sex marriage than against it. Oddly enough, this fact is lost on a lot of people who confuse freedom of religion with freedom of their religion.
From a legal standpoint, you can make an argument just as strong: the federal government cannot discriminate based on gender, so it can’t prevent you from marrying someone based on their gender. Simple
If you’re arguing whether or not marriage between members of the same gender is a “human right,” I’d actually say no, but not because it’s same gender. This is where things get a little tricky. I argue that marriage in general is not a “human right” in the strictest sense of the word. It’s a contract between two people, whether religious or secular. A contract is not a human right, nor more than a driver’s license. However, it *is* something we should treat with equality because it’s an offshoot of freedom of choice as well as freedom of religion.
This is Senior Airman Cody Mitchell. During Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month proclaimed by President Barack Obama, Mitchell celebrates the normalcy he enjoys being openly gay, thanks to the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. (Photo by Samuel Morse)
Throughout an Airman’s career, the “total person concept” is held as the pinnacle of what an Airman can be, not just for professional development, but also for personal resiliency. For gay, lesbian and bisexual Airmen, the possibility of being a total person was only recently made possible. Continue reading
A couple weeks ago, I watched an HBO documentary called “Vito” at the 2012 Tokyo International Lesbian and Gay Film Festival. I highly recommend it to anyone if they get a chance to see it. The documentary chronicles the life of a man named Vito Russo, a pioneer in LGBTQ rights in America, and the author of a book called The Celluloid Closet.
In the book (and lecture series), Russo talked about how in the early days of cinema, gays were portrayed as perfectly normal people. It wasn’t until the mid 20th century that gays disappeared entirely. Over the years, they were slowly brought back, but always portrayed as villains, comic relief, or mentally unstable people. It wasn’t until very recently that the LGBTQ community has come full circle to be portrayed as normal people again.
Watching the movie and hearing about Russo’s work has really opened my eyes to the marginalization of the LGBTQ community within film and TV. Today, I realized it’s not limited to western film either. I was re-watching the second season of “Darker Than Black” today, and found that series was somewhat guilty of it too. Continue reading
I thought I’d take a moment to talk about something that’s been bothering me lately. While I appreciate the public outcry over things like Chick-Fil-A’s “family-oriented” funding to fight equal marriage rights, I think there needs to be a level of decorum if we hope to achieve anything with the endless spam created over the internet. In light of this, I hope to offer some suggestions and words of wisdom garnered from my experience as a public affairs guy.
The simple phrase “I’m gay” can easily be one of the hardest sets of syllables to form and give voice, right up there with “will you marry me?” or “you’re adopted.” For someone who is straight, and especially someone who hasn’t been around LGBT people who are just coming out of the closet, I could see how it would be hard to understand exactly what coming out means. I’m sure people can get an idea, much in the same way we can imagine what it’s like to ride a roller coaster before we’ve been on one, or what it was like to be a prisoner in Auschwitz during WWII. However, getting an accurate picture is easier said than done. The only way to really understand without experiencing one of these things yourself, is to look at all the factors that go into it. Hopefully, this blog will help with understanding the internal battles of coming out of the closet.
A Japanese volunteer holds up rainbow flags for sale during the first annual Tokyo Rainbow Pride Parade in Yoyogi Park, Tokyo, April 29, 2012.
Perhaps the phrase “have pride in your uniform” evokes flashbacks of basic training or a particularly exacting first sergeant, but in the spirit of National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month, I think we can look at this phrase in new light.
I have to say, I’m proud of my nation, my President, my Air Force and my colleagues, for giving us the current state of LGBT rights in the United States. As a bisexual service member, being able to put on my uniform and live the core values of integrity, service and excellence to their truest meaning has instilled immeasurable pride in wearing that uniform. The past year has seen some significant changes to LGBT rights as a whole, but no change has been more pivotal to those of us serving in the armed forces than the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” last September.
More than 4,500 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people from around the world descended on Harajuku, Tokyo, for the inaugural Tokyo Rainbow Pride, themed “Power of Rainbow,” on April 29. Not just a first for Tokyo, this marked the first pride event where members of OutServe – Japan could participate openly following the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. Continue reading
It’s a common misconception that photos just fall from the sky. It’s not that people believe in some magic photo fairy (no pun intended), just that few people really think about how the photo happened. When you see a terrifying photo of war or other dangers, rarely would you think “oh yeah, someone had to be on the other end of that camera pushing the shutter release.” As bad as the people in a photo have it, there was a photographer experiencing the same thing, only with 20 pounds of photo gear on their back. Continue reading
I’m mildly surprised, but I only found out about this holiday a couple days ago by accident. I was never much of an activist in the LGBT community or got myself too much into the pride celebrations until this past year. I guess I was so entrenched in DADT that I didn’t let myself give in to the hope that I’d ever be allowed to celebrate that part of me. Even now, the idea seems a bit foreign.
And yet, here I am, bisexual and proud (okay, so maybe still working on the pride part, but I’m getting there). Despite the holiday being anticlimactic after the repeal of DADT less than a month ago, I have to say that the greatest thing to celebrate on this day is normalcy. The sheer fact that I’m sitting on my couch, on a military base, writing a blog about coming out on my iPad, is such a blissful form of normal that it’s hard to describe.
So here’s to normalcy, to the status quo, to the redefinition of the American dream. To my fellow LGBT servicemembers, welcome to life as it should be. To those of you still afraid to look into the mirror, or to open your true self to the world, know that there are people in this world who love you and support you and you don’t have to live in fear. Dare to live, to dream, to love, unburdened by social paradigms, and find the beauty inside your own heart.
Happy National Coming Out Day.
It’s been about two and a half weeks since the policy known as Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was repealed. The hype has died down and the festivities have subsided, so now I find myself looking back into the mirror again; I’m not sure I recognize what I see. Continue reading