Author Topic: A Thought on Being Gay in America  (Read 2651 times)

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Offline Alzael

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A Thought on Being Gay in America
« on: May 10, 2012, 11:29:57 PM »
Ok, now I am clearly not an American. Although my ancestors did get a free boat trip to visit one of their lovely plantations (thank you for that by the way). So it could be that there's a flaw in my reasoning in regards to this as I don't quite understand all of the intricacies and subtle nuances of the complex culture that produces Rob Schneider movies, South Park, and Jackass. So the Americans feel free to correct me if my line of thinking of flawed. However I was postulating something with a friend of mine a couple of days ago at another site after North Carolina made it's brilliant decision on gay marriage, that I want to run past you all.

Now we can certainly argue about whether marriage in western culture has ever really been a religious thing. After all marriage historically is really just a glorified business deal. But let's not do that. Let's go along with the theists and agree with them that marriage has always been the purview of the church. In America, as in most western countries, along the way there came to be certain other things attached to the idea of marriage. Certain legal benefits, tax breaks, power of attorney, inheritance rights, ect. not to mention all manner of other obligations that are usually part and parcel of being part of a married group.

My point being that whether marriage was once the purview of religion or not it is now also a matter of civil status through which many varieties of benefits and privileges are assigned.

So in America the constitution as well as most of their laws states (at least theoretically) that if you offer benefits and privileges to one class of people you can't turn around and not offer it to another class of people for reasons of age, race, creed, social class, or sex.

So wouldn't this mean that gay marriage is basically legal by default. That the government can't actually vote to take away the rights of marriage to gays without removing the marriage benefits for everyone?
« Last Edit: May 10, 2012, 11:33:07 PM by Alzael »
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Offline DumpsterFire

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Re: A Thought on Being Gay in America
« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2012, 01:03:40 AM »
The problem (or solution, depending on one's POV) is that even gays are able to marry someone of the opposite sex if they want, therefore equal protection is not violated. I'm not saying its fair (and I strongly disagree with it in principle), but from a purely legal standpoint it is a valid argument.
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Offline Alzael

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Re: A Thought on Being Gay in America
« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2012, 01:18:16 AM »
The problem (or solution, depending on one's POV) is that even gays are able to marry someone of the opposite sex if they want, therefore equal protection is not violated. I'm not saying its fair (and I strongly disagree with it in principle), but from a purely legal standpoint it is a valid argument.

Actually no it isn't. It's the same as saying that you can't run for public office as a Jew. After all you could have chosen to be a Christian. It's still discriminatory. You can't keep those benefits from someone because of their race, creed, age, sex etc. Nowhere does it say that you have to choose a particular one first.

Under your reasoning the constitution is entirely meaningless then because the bar can shift wherever you want it to.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2012, 01:20:45 AM by Alzael »
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Offline DumpsterFire

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Re: A Thought on Being Gay in America
« Reply #3 on: May 11, 2012, 01:26:47 AM »
I'm not saying gays have to become straight to get married. I'm saying every adult American is legally entitled to marry one person of the opposite sex. Love and/or attraction don't factor into it in the eyes of the law.
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Offline Alzael

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Re: A Thought on Being Gay in America
« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2012, 01:31:05 AM »
I'm not saying gays have to become straight to get married. I'm saying every adult American is legally entitled to marry one person of the opposite sex. Love and/or attraction don't factor into it in the eyes of the law.

I don't think you were actually following what I said in the OP because you're not really making any sense in relation to it.
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Offline DumpsterFire

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Re: A Thought on Being Gay in America
« Reply #5 on: May 11, 2012, 01:58:38 AM »
So in America the constitution as well as most of their laws states (at least theoretically) that if you offer benefits and privileges to one class of people you can't turn around and not offer it to another class of people for reasons of age, race, creed, social class, or sex.

This reference to the Equal Protection Clause in the 14th Amendment to the Constitution is the main point of the OP, correct? Are you asking how it is not a violation of equal protection for same-sex marriage to be illegal? If so, I stand by my posts. If not, please clarify.

FYI, in no way should my posts be inferred to represent a personal position against gay marriage, as I am in favor of it. I'm just throwing out legal perspective here. I am also going to bed. Have a good night one, Al.

Edit: It occurred to me that it may not be night where you are. 2 AM here, so off I go.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2012, 02:03:35 AM by DumpsterFire »
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Offline Quesi

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Re: A Thought on Being Gay in America
« Reply #6 on: May 11, 2012, 11:44:54 AM »
Alzael-

I am trying to understand your op.  Yeah.  Common sense tells us that we have civil rights and protections within our legal structure and these rights and protections should include marriage equality.  There are those of us who read the constitution and sort of think that it is talking about everyone.

But it isn't.  When the constitution was written, only white men who owned property could vote.  After the civil war, there was a constitutional amendment granting black men the right to vote.  On paper.   Women couldn't vote at the turn of the 20th century.  So we came up with a constitutional amendment saying women could vote.  White women fared better than men and women of color at the polls, and showed up in great numbers.  In the 1960's many black people lost their lives in the US fighting for the rights that they has been granted.  And yet there were procedures in place during the election of GW Bush to ensure that large percentages of people of color in the state of Florida were denied the ability to vote.  And those procedures resulted in the election of our beloved president. 

Just because it is in the constitution, just because it makes sense, that doesn't mean that it is reality.  Or even policy. 

Ironically, it appears that voters in NC really shot themselves in the foot with their amendment to the State constitution.  Here is what one analyst says of the new amendment.

Amendment One by contrast uses an ambiguous term—“domestic legal unions”—that was intended to block the way for civil unions and domestic partnerships for homosexual couples. But it may also inadvertently rescind the legal status already granted to non-married couples who live together. As a result, the state may be forced to put a halt to the growing number of protections—ranging from domestic violence protections to children’s health insurance—that it currently offers to non-married couples, homosexual and heterosexual alike.  http://www.tnr.com/article/politics/103119/north-carolina-gay-marriage

Gotta love those family values. 

This is not the US that I live in.  This is completely foreign to my reality.  I live and work in a diverse progressive community.  But reality in the US varies state by state, community by community. 

Here is a painfully bitter piece about one family's trip to the polls in NC. 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/aly-windsor/my-family-was-harassed-at_b_1484350.html

Offline Truth OT

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Re: A Thought on Being Gay in America
« Reply #7 on: May 11, 2012, 04:04:36 PM »
My point being that whether marriage was once the purview of religion or not it is now also a matter of civil status through which many varieties of benefits and privileges are assigned.

So in America the constitution as well as most of their laws states (at least theoretically) that if you offer benefits and privileges to one class of people you can't turn around and not offer it to another class of people for reasons of age, race, creed, social class, or sex.

So wouldn't this mean that gay marriage is basically legal by default. That the government can't actually vote to take away the rights of marriage to gays without removing the marriage benefits for everyone?

The only idea that comes to front of mind for me is that of there being 2 different types of marriages. One that is sanctioned by the civil government that all people are allowed to partake in in whatever manner (homo, hetero, poly, etc.) they deem appropriate. The other type of marriage would be the religious/ceremonial type that would be "sanctioned and recognized" by the religion of those that wish to be united in the eye's of God.

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Re: A Thought on Being Gay in America
« Reply #8 on: May 11, 2012, 07:33:28 PM »
...The only idea that comes to front of mind for me is that of there being 2 different types of marriages. One that is sanctioned by the civil government that all people are allowed to partake in in whatever manner (homo, hetero, poly, etc.) they deem appropriate. The other type of marriage would be the religious/ceremonial type that would be "sanctioned and recognized" by the religion of those that wish to be united in the eye's of God.

I was just saying this today, to my mom. That we already have two  types of marriage in a sense. The legal contract. And the optional religious vow. The legal contract should definately be available to all. I haven't really thought about the religious vow side of things because I think its silly.
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Offline Jstwebbrowsing

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Re: A Thought on Being Gay in America
« Reply #9 on: May 11, 2012, 07:46:33 PM »
Well I think part of the problem is defining exactly what is marriage.  I just don't see why they don't give it another word and let gays participate and be done with the issue.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2012, 07:59:38 PM by Jstwebbrowsing »
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Re: A Thought on Being Gay in America
« Reply #10 on: May 11, 2012, 11:27:39 PM »
So wouldn't this mean that gay marriage is basically legal by default. That the government can't actually vote to take away the rights of marriage to gays without removing the marriage benefits for everyone?

Yes, theoretically, and I say that only because it has yet to be tested by the SCOTUS. However, there is only one logical outcome from SCOTUS -- either all marriages shall be recognized by all states, or none shall be. There is no valid, societal basis for excluding one group of people from the contract of marriage.

However, the US Constitution never mentions marriage or even recognition of marriage. The only reason the federal government is involved is due to personal income and estate taxes. The federal government merely recognizes the marriages performed by the states or the states that recognize foreign marriages. This is a state-driven issue since the states are the only entities that can recognize marriages.

Except for the obviously religiously-grounded anti-gay-marriage legislation (or the anti-interracial-marriage legislation before that), all other references to marriage indicate that it is just a contract between two people that creates, among other things, a new method of intestate inheritance of property that wouldn't otherwise exist without a contract of marriage. This is all that marriage has been, historically, dating all the way back to the Code of Hammurabi. Marriage was something done by wealthy people to ensure the transfer of property and power -- any exercise of a religious rite was solely a secondary purpose. I believe the Code of Hammurabi even pre-dates Judaism, and certainly pre-dates Christianity and Islam. Nearly every country draws upon the Code of Hammurabi to define various laws, especially ones for marriages, estates and transfers at death.

I find it laughable that anyone would try to defend anti-gay-marriage laws based upon Christianity when the basis for nearly all the marriage laws that we have clearly never came from Christianity. They are ancient, common-sense rules for how to handle things.




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Offline Timtheskeptic

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Re: A Thought on Being Gay in America
« Reply #11 on: May 12, 2012, 08:02:01 AM »
So wouldn't this mean that gay marriage is basically legal by default. That the government can't actually vote to take away the rights of marriage to gays without removing the marriage benefits for everyone?

Maybe, but America is extremely religious and they're nothing but a bunch of paranoid, lying, bigoted folks who rather have things their way. Few states have legalized same-sex marriage, you might already know this. Washington and Maryland will soon begin allowing same-sex marriage to happen, and many states have allowed civil unions and domestic partnerships. Unfortunately, those are not a good substitute for marriage and it isn't equal. North Carolina has passed the amendment one to not allow marriage, civil union, or domestic partnership. it makes me so mad.
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Re: A Thought on Being Gay in America
« Reply #12 on: May 12, 2012, 08:05:58 AM »
Well I think part of the problem is defining exactly what is marriage.  I just don't see why they don't give it another word and let gays participate and be done with the issue.

It's because of homophobia, they don't want to allow gays to be equal and think they're "sexual deviants" or that they'll destroy traditional marriage or family values. It's ridiculous. Marriage has been redefined several times over the centuries. interraciasl marriage wasn't allowed, women were property to their husbands, and several more.
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Offline GodlessHeathen

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Re: A Thought on Being Gay in America
« Reply #13 on: May 12, 2012, 11:36:45 AM »
Well I think part of the problem is defining exactly what is marriage.  I just don't see why they don't give it another word and let gays participate and be done with the issue.

It's because of homophobia, they don't want to allow gays to be equal and think they're "sexual deviants" or that they'll destroy traditional marriage or family values. It's ridiculous. Marriage has been redefined several times over the centuries. interraciasl marriage wasn't allowed, women were property to their husbands, and several more.

Prohibiting same-sex marriage is actually a rather novel idea. I haven't studied the issue back much further than the first century, but I can tell you that, from the first century through about the 13th century, same-sex marriage was accepted and practiced, even by Christians.
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Re: A Thought on Being Gay in America
« Reply #14 on: May 12, 2012, 04:05:42 PM »
Top GOP Pollster to GOP: Reverse On Gay Issues

Quote
... a memo circulated by Jan van Lohuizen, a highly respected Republican pollster, (he polled for George W. Bush in 2004), to various leading Republican operatives, candidates and insiders. It's on the fast-shifting poll data on marriage equality and gay rights in general, and how that should affect Republican policy and language. And the pollster's conclusion is clear: if the GOP keeps up its current rhetoric and positions on gays and lesbians, it is in danger of marginalizing itself to irrelevance or worse.

Meaningful or not?  Time will tell.
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Re: A Thought on Being Gay in America
« Reply #15 on: May 12, 2012, 04:30:28 PM »
Well I think part of the problem is defining exactly what is marriage.  I just don't see why they don't give it another word and let gays participate and be done with the issue.

Regardless of how you define marriage, it doesn't affect what it means to those who get married, so two blokes (or blokesses) getting married should be of no consequence. But I do agree with your sentiment, in that just let them get on with it and be done with it. Once a upon a time people believed marriage was between a man and a woman of the same race, so how people define it will change. The law should recognise it as between 2 consenting adults and then the people who get married decide if it should be between a man and a woman or a white man and a white woman or a Christian and a Christian and enforce it by who they choose as a partner.


However, it's an interesting thought Alzael. For me, it's the separation of the church and state (although it's not actually in the constitution, but it is how Jefferson said what the certain part of the constitution I-can't-be-bothered-to-quote was made to do). Religion has no place in the legal definition of marriage nor are the in a position to make laws favouring their religious beliefs and enforcing them. Religion is an individual thing as is marriage. Essentially they wanted to avoid what the Church of England did in the UK (some of their religious laws are still in effect, for example we still have Blasphemy Laws and they're biased towards the Church of England). The irony is, the constitution has failed to do exactly that.
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Offline rickymooston

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Re: A Thought on Being Gay in America
« Reply #16 on: May 12, 2012, 06:48:20 PM »
Although my ancestors did get a free boat trip to visit one of their lovely plantations

You are fromLiberia or Canada? You post implies that you are a descendant of American slaves?
So wouldn't this mean that gay marriage is basically legal by default. That the government can't actually vote to take away the rights of marriage to gays without removing the marriage benefits for everyone?

I think marriage was intended to be between a man and a woman in those days but in a modern society we should recognise that people also form permanent same-sex attachments.

That is, I don't buy the constitutional argument but I believe gay marriage should be legal in our secular democratic society. An argumet i might buy wold be separatio of church and state.
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Offline Alzael

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Re: A Thought on Being Gay in America
« Reply #17 on: May 13, 2012, 07:29:38 AM »
You are fromLiberia or Canada? You post implies that you are a descendant of American slaves?

I'm born and raised in Canada. My ancestors were slaves who snuck up here on the Underground Railroad.

I'm also part Native Indian and part Irish. So not only do I have multiple reasons to despise the White Man. I am, in fact, the White Man.

Fucking multicuralism.

Yes, theoretically, and I say that only because it has yet to be tested by the SCOTUS. However, there is only one logical outcome from SCOTUS -- either all marriages shall be recognized by all states, or none shall be. There is no valid, societal basis for excluding one group of people from the contract of marriage.

Yes, that was rather my point.

Maybe, but America is extremely religious and they're nothing but a bunch of paranoid, lying, bigoted folks who rather have things their way. Few states have legalized same-sex marriage, you might already know this. Washington and Maryland will soon begin allowing same-sex marriage to happen, and many states have allowed civil unions and domestic partnerships. Unfortunately, those are not a good substitute for marriage and it isn't equal. North Carolina has passed the amendment one to not allow marriage, civil union, or domestic partnership. it makes me so mad.

I realize that many states have outlawed same/sex marriage. The point of the idea was to produce a rational argument to show that they could not legally make that decision as per their Consitution. At least without taking it away from everyone.

Well I think part of the problem is defining exactly what is marriage.  I just don't see why they don't give it another word and let gays participate and be done with the issue.

Actually it's more a matter of religious people want to define marriage differently than what it is. They want to claim that marriage is a religious arrangment when it's not and never really has been.

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Re: A Thought on Being Gay in America
« Reply #18 on: May 13, 2012, 08:15:07 AM »
The division on this issue is religious bigotry and hatred towards anything that does not fit the SPAG model that each adherent holds to.  Of course, they get these ideas through indoctrination, as opposed to independent critical thought on the issue.  If it has been planted in their mind that God does not want a man to lie with another man, then that is the end of critical thought. [1]

Being gay anywhere is always about the physical sex, as opposed to the gender.  As humans, we already know that men can love men, and women can love women, and we accept it without question.  It is only when the idea that physical, sexual intimacy is the agenda of the homosexuals, that the issue raises the attention of the hateful.  The hypocrisy and hatred is on a level that makes Hitler seem like he actually had some good ideas.

Heterosexual physical contact is bad enough to many Christians (when they are not joined in holy matrimony in the presence of God to make children), but add the homosexual element, and it goes off the rails, because they don't like it.  Well, enough is indeed enough, and any and all religions and denominations of hijacked religions can fuck off with their hatred and bigotry. 

Humans are animals, we all know that.  We are what we are, and we are slowly learning about how we came to be.  If it takes another couple of thousand years to wipe out bigotry and hatred towards fellow humans, it will still be worth every effort we can muster.  No one gets to claim moral superiority based on their books, stories, or gods.  They have to drop the delusions, and step into reality to help us figure out how to get along without killing each other, or without stripping away freedoms that each person deserves.
 1. Never mind that this same god created us with the ability to insert sexual appendages in places unrelated to procreation, and still enjoy it.

Offline Neonwolf

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Re: A Thought on Being Gay in America
« Reply #19 on: May 15, 2012, 06:34:51 PM »
I absolutely agree with you, Alzael.

I'm a lesbian, and I'm not of age to get married at least I do not believe. The deal with that is, however, that I live in Kansas. Kansas is a highly, highly conservative state. If I /felt/ like getting married here, I would not do it. Why? Because if I were to get married to a woman, and we were to live together as wife and wife, we would have to relocate somewhere pretty far away from where I live now. If we were to get married, and the fact of our homosexuality were to rear its 'ugly' head, it would be the subject of much pettiness and viciousness here. I say this because my girlfriend and I were holding hands today and I got shoved against a locker.

If it were to be legal, and in some places it is, it would be objected against on a moral standpoint by many people.

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Offline Quesi

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Re: A Thought on Being Gay in America
« Reply #20 on: May 15, 2012, 07:10:09 PM »
Welcome to the forum, Neonwolf!  I think you will find lots of interesting discussions here that will make you believe that you are not in Kansas anymore. 

I am sorry that you are facing pettiness and viciousness in school, and in your community. But you know what?  You are going to get through it.  There are many places in this country, some far away, and some not so far away, where you will be welcomed.  And even though it might not seem true in your community, public attitudes are changing.  I hope that by the time that you are of age to get married, your relationship will be acknowledged in every state in this country. 

We look forward to learning more about you and your beliefs, and even your hopes and dreams. 

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Re: A Thought on Being Gay in America
« Reply #21 on: May 15, 2012, 07:15:33 PM »
Welcome Neonwolf.

I have to agree with Quesi.  Things are improving, and it is possible to live happily with your partner without being harassed or ridiculed.  I see improvements in Texas for goodness sakes!  That's saying something.  Stay strong.

Offline Timtheskeptic

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Re: A Thought on Being Gay in America
« Reply #22 on: May 15, 2012, 07:17:10 PM »
ouch,so sorry Neonwolf. Welcome to the forum. I would agree with Quesi.
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Offline Chronos

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Re: A Thought on Being Gay in America
« Reply #23 on: May 15, 2012, 07:44:42 PM »
If we were to get married, and the fact of our homosexuality were to rear its 'ugly' head, it would be the subject of much pettiness and viciousness here. I say this because my girlfriend and I were holding hands today and I got shoved against a locker.

There are a lot of reasons to get out of Kansas -- being homosexual is just one of them. I'm sure that there are a lot of wonderful people in Kansas (I know some), but as long as the people of Kansas permit their state to be a swirling tornado of right-wing religious nutjobs, I shall avoid it. I find the phrase We're not in Kansas anymore to be reassuring rather than regretful. Maybe things are better in Kansas City? Maybe?

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Re: A Thought on Being Gay in America
« Reply #24 on: May 16, 2012, 09:03:19 AM »
I have a number of fundamentalist, right-wing, new-age creationist, nutjob relatives. Every single one of them lives in Kansas.  :o I'm so very sorry that you're stuck there for the time being.

I grew up in Maryland, and went to college in the far northwestern corner. This was many years ago, '75 - '79, to be exact. There was a lovely lesbian couple there, who held hands everywhere they went. I remember them very clearly, because of all the couples I knew, they seemed the happiest. Always cheerful, always enjoying each other's company, and they were together all the time I knew them. Compare that to the straight couples I knew who were always switching  partners it seemed. Anyway. Just a little anecdote. I never saw them harrassed, but didn't know them well enough to know if it happened. It was a progressive little town for the most part, and a liberal arts college, which definately makes a difference. You CAN find a place to fit in. I can recommend Provincetown, Massachusetts. I can also recommend Northampton, MA. Both are artsy, and very gay-friendly. Massachusetts has equal marriage rights.
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Offline Truth OT

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Re: A Thought on Being Gay in America
« Reply #25 on: May 16, 2012, 10:05:37 AM »
As human beings we all suffer from a sickness I have coined as Pro-Me-ism. Those afflicted with ProMeism have a tendency to see things from a singular point of view, view themselves and those like them as normal and righteous, and are taken aback by individuals and idealologies that stand in contrast to their particular views. ProMeIsm is a function of the human ego and naturally evolves in each of us in conjunction with our innate sense of self preservation.

There is no know cure for this affliction, but it can be treated. The first step is realizing that we are all as individuals afflicted with this sickness. After doing this and recognizing that we bring our own personal biases to the table with us, we then must make it a point to learn of and educate ourselves on dissenting points of view. The next step requires us comparing all POV's to what we observe in reality and then giving credence to as well as criticism to the various POV's were reality seems to necessitate such. Doing these things will not cure us of ProMeIsm, but it will help the individual evolve, adapt, and grow as to not allow the affliction that is ProMeIsm totrap the individual into archiac, non progressive, and stubborn ways of thinking and looking at life. The goal is to get to the point where each of our cases of ProMeIsm becomes benign enough to allow others to live the lives they see fit without being harassed or badgered by the effects of our ProMeIsm.

Offline Neonwolf

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Re: A Thought on Being Gay in America
« Reply #26 on: May 16, 2012, 10:55:45 AM »
Welcome to the forum, Neonwolf!  I think you will find lots of interesting discussions here that will make you believe that you are not in Kansas anymore. 

I am sorry that you are facing pettiness and viciousness in school, and in your community. But you know what?  You are going to get through it.  There are many places in this country, some far away, and some not so far away, where you will be welcomed.  And even though it might not seem true in your community, public attitudes are changing.  I hope that by the time that you are of age to get married, your relationship will be acknowledged in every state in this country. 

We look forward to learning more about you and your beliefs, and even your hopes and dreams. 

I was going to edit that down so it wouldn't take up so much room, but I decided against it. -smiles- Yeah, attitudes are changing, and it seems that for every one of the jerks in school who makes jokes at my expense or that they attempt to make me upset or what have you, there's a few who don't care and are nice. I appreciate that a lot.

Welcome Neonwolf.

...
I see improvements in Texas for goodness sakes!  That's saying something.  Stay strong.

Curiously enough, my last girlfriend was from Texas. We dated for quite a time.

Chronos, I totally agree. Gates Barbecue sauce is amazing. And from what I've heard, things ARE better in KCK, so. This makes me happy.

At Traveler; It's been said that my girlfriend and I are the happiest couple in the school. We've not fought yet.

I shall add more, when I get home from school/have the time. Have a few minutes left in this class, time to shut down computers.
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Offline meconopsilo

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Re: A Thought on Being Gay in America
« Reply #27 on: May 22, 2012, 06:14:58 PM »
im not gay nor am i homo sexual. but i do know people who are very homo sexual. \and honestly i think that if people want to have their own sexual tendancies why bother to stop them ? unless its harming children or animals or the enviroment. then yeah they should clearly be burned alive. / ~ i love the tilde key but idk what its for. any opinions ? and yes im highly against paedophiles and believe they should suffer a painfully slow death before everyone.
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Offline meconopsilo

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Re: A Thought on Being Gay in America
« Reply #28 on: May 22, 2012, 06:15:51 PM »
satan says being gay is alright. and hell has one season all year round. just a thought.
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