What freedom do we gays have to celebrate this Independence Day?
I started in theatre when I was six years old. When you do theatre (or at least back in the day when you did theatre) you meet the most interesting people (albeit they used to call us “strange” or “outcasts” back then). You have a bunch of people who seem to not exactly be marching to the beat everyone else is and they find this magical outlet to become someone else for a couple of hours and it’s fascinating to watch their transformation during rehearsals and then in performance. If you’ve never been part of a show you won’t understand this phenomenon. You see, there’s just something about rehearsing a show, watching yourself and your fellow actors grow in their roles or with their dance steps and getting right up to the final dress (which usually goes awful) thinking you have no show at all and then suddenly on opening night, the audience fills the theatre and for that time you’re on stage the entire building is filled with a magical shared experience that is live, that will never happen exactly the same way again because the actors will do something a little different or the audience responds in a different way. It’s truly addicting and I miss all aspects of it. But allow me to get to my point. Because I literally grew up in this environment I didn’t really question the fact that I was gay all that much. There were people who were Wiccans doing theatre for chrissakes so what’s an attraction to the same sex? Nothing, just another part of who I was and am. And because I stayed doing artistic endeavors from six until my late thirties, I never had to deal with the world of homophobia (too much). But recent events have brought it all crashing in on me and there’s a real part of me that just wishes I was living the gay sheltered life again. What freedom do we gays have to celebrate this Independence Day? – Don’t Get Me Started!
For the three religious zealots who found this blog entry and clicked on it so that they could tell me how much they love me but need me to repent immediately and take Jesus into my heart or clicked on it to leave some hateful comments or bible passage, I respectfully ask you to move onto spewing your hate somewhere else. You don’t get it, me and I don’t get you and much to your amazement (if you’re a man) I don’t want you either…even though you’re a man and you think the devil is telling me to sleep with every man on the planet, I can assure you that you are safe because I’ve got some things called taste and standards neither of which you live up to, but I digress (per usual).
I grew up in theatre and dance studios where gay was okay. In fact, gay was not a big deal. So when I recently came against some issues with getting my partner insured (he had been on my insurance from my last job which was a large corporation and his Cobra is running out, meanwhile my semi-new company isn’t large enough for the insurance companies to feel it’s financially profitable for them to offer domestic partner benefits and since insurance companies are private companies, they are allowed to discriminate however they see fit and so they do.) Sure during my life, I have come across snickers behind my back before, I was called “fag” every day in high school but nothing prepared me for the way I was going to feel as all of this unfolded.
I have been with the same man for over twenty years, if that’s not a spouse I don’t know what is. And yet corporations are still allowed to discriminate and generally tell you that you’re “not good enough” or “not worthy” of what your straight counterparts have when it comes to caring for your spouse. Ridiculous right? Maybe the ridiculous part was that I thought that I would be able to do what I’ve done the rest of my life. Confront the people snickering or ignore the loud taunts of “fag” and go about doing what I had to do to achieve my end result. I’ve been very successful at adapting to get what I want. But you see it’s not that easy when it comes to insurance and laws. When laws and companies put in discriminatory policies you have little to no choice. You have to go through their procedures with your head bowed acting completely subservient and at the end of it all, it doesn’t matter that you filled out every piece of the six zillion pieces of information they ask for on their forms, at the end of the day if you’re an individual and/or gay they can stamp it “Declined” with no repercussions to the company and leaving you without the right to even know why or appeal.
I thought I lived in America where there was a separation of church and state. But what a lie that is that we’ve been raised on. The religious right have ruled this country for years like some drunken frat boys who feel they’re invincible. They bought lawmakers and put them in place to push forward their own agendas, basically bankrupted the economy and now when the bill is due to be paid, they’re looking for someone else (the American taxpayers) to pay the bills. All the while writing discrimination into our laws in the name of their God who they assure everyone will be really pissed off if they don’t put us minorities in our place and keep us there…lower than the white Christian man. They get people to do their hypocritical and fear based bidding by acting as if God is their father that’s coming home to find out that they had a party and trashed the place, trying to blame us for the party that we never got invited to in the first place. If there is any justice, when God finally does make his grand appearance, he’ll “ground” those people who have distributed so much hate in His name and while they sit in their own private hell they brought upon themselves, the rest of us will not be going to heaven but to the mall and getting everything we want like the good sibling.
I pay my taxes, I obey traffic laws (only one speeding ticket in the last fifteen years), I try to help my fellow man and yet no one wants to assist me in providing one thing for my spouse, insurance coverage. They tell me I’m supposed to be ecstatic that Nevada passed a law that in October of 2009 my partner and I can register as Domestic Partners with the state. This entitles us to hospital visits and being able to make decisions on one another’s care but what they fail to tell everyone is that in order to get it passed, the insurance companies pressured law makers to take out any wording that would have made companies provide insurance benefits for domestic partners. So really, what did they give us? The opportunity to not be kept out of some county hospital offering the worst possible care because we’re not allowed to have our spouses covered under our insurance and go to a decent hospital? Excuse me for not blowing up any balloons or throwing streamers to celebrate.
I used to love the fourth of July, celebrating our independence but not anymore because there is not independence from the constant struggle I have being a gay Jewish man who has been in a monogamous relationship with a black man for the past twenty years and being treated like a second class citizen by my government. When Lt. Dan Choi doesn’t win his battle to be a part of the armed forces (even when the Obama administration promised they’d weigh each case of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell until they could abolish it) because he chooses to live his life honestly and not lie about being gay, when the religious right continues to keep the right to marry and spousal rights for those Californians and the rest of us across the country from us gays, when a sailor this week at Camp Pendleton can be bullied for over a year for being bisexual and then murdered executioner style and the area burned to try and hide the evidence and the Navy calls it not a hate crime, you find that this country is not the renaissance country our forefathers imagined, where all men are created equal. We have yet to break free of the tyranny of the religious right but we’ll continue to fight and when we finally get our rights maybe I’ll be able to celebrate Independence Day again. What freedom do we gays have to celebrate this Independence Day? – Don’t Get Me Started!
Read More Scott @ www.somelikeitscott.com
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