Every once in a while, something jumps out at me and reminds me to do a better job of phrasing things. Tonight, this did:
Facebook has this little built-in poll function now. This popped up in my news feed. Normally I would just click the one saying I support gay rights and go on my merry little way, but tonight this gave me pause.
And I had to stop and think for a few minutes. No, I'm not rethinking my support of homosexuals. I'm just questioning my terminology here.
What the hell is a gay right, anyway? A really swishy one?
I've got, if my count is right, five gay folks on my Facebook friends list, and an undetermined number of bisexuals (I can think of two offhand, but there might be more; I don't spend much time contemplating whom anyone not my husband wants to have sex with). Right now, one of them is watching the Spurs game that I'm listening to. Another one has recently decided to start outing all the married men who proposition him via Facebook. My best friend is working on making his way in a new city, and I'm not really sure what the other two are up to, since they're not on all that often.
None of them want anything unusual from life.
So why are even the most well-meaning of us--and I include myself in this--using phrases like gay rights? No one ever talks about straight rights, unless they're a wingnut.
Let me re-frame things, for myself at least:
There is no such thing as gay rights. There are rights, period.
Rights which we are endowed with by our Creator.
I am really starting to think that using a term like "gay rights" is liable to backfire. Gay people are not, after all, asking for anything more than equal protection. Gays don't want special rights. They want the same rights that straight people have. There's nothing radical about that.