Dear Father Tony,
I've been a reader on Bilerico for a few months. I've read previous letters that you have received and posted on the Bilerico website and wondered if I could do the same.
I am a 20 year old gay male, living in Florida. Even though here where I live, there is not much bigotry I read different articles from multiple gay press websites, and I can't help but feel that eventually something is going to happen. I fear that someday, that battle will come here. I know that eventually it's going to happen in all states, but I what is there to do when the National Organization for Marriage and all the anti-gay groups decide to come here? I already feel like NOM has devoted their lives to making sure that all gay couples do not get any kind of happiness, and that upsets me. I talk to my boyfriend about this, he says that they won't win. But I can't shake the feeling that there may be a possibility, due to the number of people that do not support gay marriage, that things will not work out. I said to my boyfriend that I want to move out of this country and live in a place where we can be happy. I know it seems like a big rant or that I think negatively, and apologize. But I can't seem to shake the feeling that this country can't have a wide view of the different people that live in it. What do you think Father Tony? Do you have any suggestions on what you think will happen to this country in the future?
Thank you for reading this,
Setting Sail on the Gayflower
I think I understand that at which you are getting.
You have a sense of doom. The wagons are circling. The dark clouds speed and gather. War seems inevitable. We will never all be able to get along. Some may tell you to relax and just stay where you are and water your plants and play with your dog, but I wonder if perhaps your instincts are not good ones, and if perhaps the time has come to either fight or to swarm and find a new hive.
In the battle for equality, I have always harked back to the American Revolution. We fought the British as a ragtag band of inspired farmers armed with a deep familiarity with the woods. I have always thought that we should bring the same fortitude and resolve to our fight for gay rights, but let's go back a bit further in American history to that time when a group of English families persecuted for their beliefs left England and sailed for America on the Mayflower. They had decided that things were never going to work out for them in England. They decided to uproot themselves and find a place where they could be themselves. Where they could be free.
Maybe it is time for the gay community to do the same. We have exhausted ourselves trying to fit in, trying to assimilate, trying to live as couples according to the image of American marriage. What have we gained by doing this? Close to nothing other than acceptability as a running gag on many sitcoms.
We are different.
We will never be the same as straight people.
The most we can hope for is a world in which there is room on the sidewalk for all of us, and nobody blinks when someone queer walks by.
Oddly, two opposing things are happening concurrently.
Specifically "gay" markers are evaporating. Gay press, gay literature, gay bookstores, gay appearance, gay lingo, gay ghettoes. It is all being subsumed. We are being drawn into the undertow of pop culture.
And yet, at the same time, we are hated, belittled and reminded that because of our outspoken sexual preferences, we may not be allowed to sit in the front seats of the bus.
What to do? For a while, I was inclined to join those queers who would strike back by becoming inconvenient and disruptive. Now I am inclined to find a Mayflower and establish our own new world to be constantly replenished by the sons and daughters of those who judge us unfairly. (The southern half of Florida would be nice...)
Michael, you wonder if I have a crystal ball. I don't, but in my neck of the woods, I don't feel the oppression so badly because my world is urban and liberal. Perhaps, if I were more severely and daily oppressed, I would be more inclined to pack and leave.
Here is what I think. If we stay the course, within three or four generations, men and women will have achieved fluid sexuality as the norm. There will not be "gay" or "straight". There will only be the moment and its dictates of natural attraction and pleasure. If we become a separate country (Gaymerica?) we will have perfected our "gayness" into a form of "gayosity" or "gayocracy". Either solution will be fine with me, and really, my greatest sadness in life is that I will not live to see either of these possibly wonderful new worlds unless we develop some super-vitamins that will increase the human lifespan.
Meanwhile, I bounce back and forth between Fort Lauderdale and Manhattan where I am equally accepted and reviled because I am above the fray and entirely unfrazzled by these concerns.
You and your boyfriend should spend more time laughing and kissing because it all goes by in the wink of an eye.