Editors' Note: Guest blogger Jim Toevs co-founded the International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission. In 1992, Jim was the Democratic nominee for Congress against then-closeted Arizona Congressman Jim Kolbe. He resides in Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.
Equality is serious business, but I think we often lose our audience by being overly earnest and serious in our efforts to promote our point of view. The best piece of public speaking advice I ever received came to me from a Unity Minister from Alabama, Edwene Gaines, who said: "Make your point, make your audience laugh or cry, and then make your point again."
The bit of humor which follows illustrates that point:
Middle-aged couple are sitting at home with the TV on. Wife asks husband: "Have you heard about gay marriage? Soon gays are going to be married!" Husband says, "Those poor people. Haven't they suffered enough?" :-)
My heterosexual son posted this on his on his Facebook page, and when I read it, I laughed out loud. Laughter and tears open the heart. When people's emotions are touched, the heart opens and a person is able receive information which they may have previously rejected, or never seriously considered.
I have shared this vignette with a number of LGBT friends who are in relationships, as well as many of my family and friends who are married and/or in long term heterosexual relationships. In every instance the person has laughed out loud. In my experience, every honest relationship has its good moments and its bad moments. By using humor in a positive way to acknowledge the bad moments, we touch on a universal segment of the human experience with which every person in a long term relationship can identify.
The next time the subject of marriage equality comes up in conversation, or if you are in a situation in which you want to introduce the subject of marriage equality, try using humor to direct the exchange in a positive direction. Make your point, make your audience laugh or cry, and then make your point again. You may be amazed at the response.
(Funny looking man graphic via Bigstock)