Today is National Coming Out Day. If Ray were still alive, it would also be the day we’d be celebrating the twenty-first anniversary of our commitment ceremony (he promised to stay with me for the rest of his life, and he did).
Since I am still occasionally surprised to learn that someone I know or work with hasn’t figured out that I’m gay: my husband (Michael) and I are both men, and we’re very much in love with each other and happy together.
But while I’m (re-)stating what I think ought to be obvious, I would like to announce that I am a card-carrying liberal gay man who thinks:
- that people have a right to self-defense but those who irresponsibly allow guns to fall into kids’ hands resulting in death or injury should face severe legal consequences and not be let off because “they’ve already suffered the loss of a child”;
- that the death penalty has a place in a well-run justice system but so does jury nullification;
- that a flag-burning amendment is as un-American as anything could possibly be, but people who fly a flag should learn the flag code and stop leaving their flags out at night and in the rain;
- that war and violence are terrible things we should always work hard to avoid, but the people who risk their lives in service to their communities and nation deserve our respect and gratitude;
- that the police who risk their lives to protect their communities deserve respect and gratitude, but they are there to serve and protect everyone, not just the ones that obey them blindly or have the “right” skin color, et cetera;
- that the right to assemble and petition our government absolutely allows people to march, protest, chant, and otherwise demonstrate in public places, but if you’re not willing to pay the price of possibly being arrested for blocking your fellow citizens from going about their business, you are doing it wrong;
- that people have the right to control their own bodies, but refusing to get your children vaccinated demonstrates a criminal level of ignorance, is the equivalent of child abuse, and puts neighbors, friends, and strangers at risk for preventable and sometimes fatal diseases;
- that truth is not subject to a popular vote, but when the 18% of the population living in rural communities that receive more benefits from the government than is paid for by their own taxes holds the rest of the country hostage to prevent paying for programs that will save lives of people they know and love something is seriously wrong;
- that no one who is not going into a battle zone needs a Hummer, but people who blindly protest nuclear power plants can’t do basic math about energy needs and energy sources;
- that proportional representation would greatly improve our country, but so would at least one of the major parties actually moving left-of-center;
- that the right to believe as you wish includes the right not to believe at all, but rabid atheists are no less annoying than the other kinds of fundamentalists;
- that being polite costs nothing while reaping great rewards, but no one should have to put up with disrespectful behavior;
- that there isn’t enough science education in our schools, but there isn’t enough art, music, or history either;
- and that you get out of life what you put into it, but you also get a lot of both the good and the bad through no fault or merit of your own.