Tired of riding in the back of the bus

An excellent letter in response to this one, in which the apparently self-centered and uninformed author suggests that our community should willingly accept second-class citizenship so that people like him don’t have to question their comfy beliefs. Wtf? Thank you, Heyward.

Loudoun Times-Mirror
March 20, 2007
By Heyward Drummond, Aldie

I read with great sadness the opinion piece by David P. Weiss on March 7 [“Securing our cultural cornerstones”] in the Times-Mirror. He writes that because the perceived majority population believes a certain way, then that should rule all of our lives. He suggests that gay people should selectively choose their career choices so that they only take jobs that won’t bother other people. I suppose he thinks gay people have “chosen” their self-centered way of life, and they should then expect second-class treatment. Being gay is not a choice anymore than one chooses to be left-handed. None of my doctors and counselors or ministers has ever said they can “cure” my orientation of my entire 53-year life, so please stop with the ignorant implication that this is a choice.

Those of us among the millions of gay people in this country don’t have the right to marry our life partner except in one state [Massachusetts]. We don’t enjoy the equal protection under the law that straight people do. We are required by law to pay equal taxes, but not experience the equal enjoyment of the protections and rights that others take for granted. Our pensions are not protected from being confiscated upon death, unlike our married friends.

If I followed Mr. Weiss’ thinking, I would be expected to just pay the taxes, support schools attended by my neighbors’ kids, support the military when they openly discriminate against me and encourage bigotry, send wedding gifts to my straight relatives and friends but never enjoy receiving their gifts at my wedding (since I’m not supposed to expect one in my lifetime). Sorry, my long-term partner and I are tired of riding in the back of the bus and real tired of hearing people like Mr. Weiss tell me to shut up and stop expecting equality.

Please don’t blame gay people for threatening the institution of marriage, while many straight friends and relatives have multiple divorces under their belts. Divorce is the problem, and not my wanting to get married that threatens society.

Please don’t blame gays for wanting to participate in society as a whole so the rest can feel more comfortable. Bigotry remains a horrible disease and it comes in many forms. If we allowed bigots to rule the kind of rights we all should enjoy, then there are many groups in the U.S. that would still enjoy second-class status. Virginia has a particularly horrible history regarding bigotry.

Please don’t tell me I should not speak up when I see something very wrong. Having been the recipient this past summer of an attempted arson and hate crime to my home in Aldie, it is quite hard to explain how angry Mr. Weiss’s statements made me. His belief that gay people should just shut up and put up with second-class status encourages the kind of insane hate that caused extreme damage to my property and poured gasoline all over the front lawn up to the front door. I’m sure Mr. Weiss would be outraged if the word FAG was painted all over his street and yard and his many trees all cut down.

If I can’t get equal treatment under the laws, then I think Mr. Weiss and others like him should volunteer to pay my taxes since they enjoy rights I am not supposed to have.

Is it worth chipping away at the cornerstones of our culture’s foundation – hate, discrimination and lack of respect for others – just for the benefit of a few million gay people? For the sake of our future, I hope we as individuals and as a society dedicated to spreading freedom and equality throughout the word, I hope that it is.

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