Tiny Little Boxes: Defining others by their sexuality | Street Jazz

Monday, July 22, 2013

Tiny Little Boxes: Defining others by their sexuality

Posted By on Mon, Jul 22, 2013 at 12:37 PM

Last week I read the latest in a long string of letters to the editor bitterly complaining about gay pride parades. In the words of the writer from Hensley:

“Pride parades. He’s gay, she’s gay, wouldn’t you like to be gay, too?

“Well, no. I do not make my sole identification based on a sexual act or any of my identification . . .”

Which pretty much sums up most of the feelings of those who are upset about gay pride parades, or even folks identifying themselves as gay . . . they should just shut up. Why, heavens to Betsy, us straight folks don’t go parading around, or expressing “pride” in something that makes some folks feel . . . well, just yucky inside. Why, we don’t go around insisting on knowing on their sexuality, do we?

Well, except for the fact that so often, we have, haven’t we?

I can’t speak for everyone, but most of my friends over the years (really, all of them) who are gay haven’t really based their sole identification on their sexuality, but rather on their jobs, their relationships, their accomplishments . . . you know, just like everybody else on the planet.

I have, though, met all too many straight people who have identified someone as gay - though often in more vulgar terms than that - and that was the end of it as far as they were concerned.

“Don’t drink in the water fountain/use the toilet after Bob, you might get AIDS.” And this was usually coming from someone who was unacquainted with the concept of washing their hands after using the bathroom.

“I found out one of my neighbors is homosexual. I’d better not see them looking in my kids’ direction. I’ll have the law on them.”

“That’s Jim, the new worker in the ______ department. He’s gay.” And that was it. Jim, the new guy, was now an oddity, a creature in a zoo, folks watching him from every direction. What kind of job was he doing? Who knew? He was gay!

These are all comments I have heard in the enlightened 21st Century.

The final line line in the letter from the gentleman from Hensley goes:

“Homosexuality must be tremendously confining.”

Well, small minds are, at any rate - though I’m not saying that the fellow from Hensley suffers from such. But he does seem to suffer from a certain lack of historical insight, forgetting the days when every gay person was automatically put into little boxes of shame . . . watched all the time, mistrusted, mocked.

The Old Days, which, sadly enough, are still These Days.

******

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rsdrake@cox.net

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