Exploring how gay people ‘live, cope, love and work’ | SummitDaily.com
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Exploring how gay people ‘live, cope, love and work’

MARC CARLISLE

The Summit Daily is running a series on the gay lifestyle in Summit County, exploring how gay people “live, cope, love and work” in the High Country.It starts today and runs through Monday. I’m planning on reading each day’s riff for the simple reason that I know nothing about the subject. Each day’s article will literally be news to me.As with many Americans who have opinions on subjects that they know nothing about, I have an opinion on the gay lifestyle, actually an opinion about “lifestyles” in general, and how we respond to them.Whether the lifestyle is flaming homosexual or fundamentalist Christian, I’m prepared to live and let live, on the theory that what people do in the privacy of their own homes is none of my business – PROVIDED what’s done at home hurts no one other than the people making that particular lifestyle choice.It’s an abdication of moral principles, but as a matter of public policy, who’s to decide which set of principles is best?Most people with an opinion about the gay lifestyle abhor it because of the sex, but the real problem is more deeply seated.

Most people don’t, can’t or won’t talk about their sex lives aloud, certainly not in the way that gay spokesmen do, so the discomfiture is more with the critics, and not a problem of the lifestyle. After all, would you want people to know your sexual preferences?Some Christians, of course, shrilly denounce the gay lifestyle as sinful, citing a passage from the Old Testament that calls it an abomination, while blithely ignoring passages in the same Book that condemn with the same force women wearing red, anyone eating pork or fish and tattoos.And while publicly condemning gay sex, fundamentalist Christians soft-pedal adultery, which God believed was so serious a sin as to be included in the Ten Commandments.Would that hypocrisy were a sin, the sin which would apply to both fundamentalist Christians and gay lifestyle advocates.I have trouble with “lifestyles” when they’re thrust in my face, on television, in person, in the courts or in legislation.As a white, Anglo-Saxon Protestant, I’ve been identified as the source of the nation’s social ills by the disenfranchised, the downtrodden and the discriminated, when I personally have done nothing to any class, group or self-identified minority.

So when any lifestyle demands justice or equality, the hackles on my neck rise before I calm down, knowing that most minority demands for action tend to languish, so no real action is required on my part.I also bristle at bias toward any lifestyle. Should people with kids receive tax breaks, paid education and preferential leave policies in the workplace at the expense of people without children?Why should a hate crime be treated differently from a common beating? The blows hurt equally either way.But often action is justified and needed. But to get action, lifestyle advocates need not a knight in shining armor but a dark enemy who hates their lifestyle and actively opposes what they want.In the end, there can be no equality as long as there are visual cues to differentiate us, and a vast chasm between the economic haves and have-nots.Read Vonnegut’s short story “Harrison Bergeron” for a picture of true equality.

We can strive for equality of opportunity, at least, and acceptance of diversity, although the result will not be integration, but segregation.Lifestyles congregate, in gated communities in Florida, on Castro Street in San Francisco and in small towns in the High Country.There is no majority in America anymore, only a collection of minority lifestyles, and I’m happy for that, since I have the freedom to choose.Marc Carlisle’s columns normally run on Thursday. He can be reached at summitindie@yahoo.com.


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