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Heterosexism

Don't make sweeping judgments based on ignorance
Royal Oak Daily Tribune Newspaper April 19, 2001 © 2004 by Joe Kort. All rights reserved

Heterosexual privilege. It is a true privilege to be heterosexual. As I read about the arguments against the proposed Human Rights Ordinance I am reminded of the privileges I have lost as a Gay man. Heterosexuals do not have to worry about opening their papers to read about how they do not deserve rights for their "sexual behavior". Before I came out I was not reduced to simply what I did in the bedroom the night before. It is a heterosexual privilege to choose to get married. I lost that choice by claiming and speaking my true identity. Heterosexuals do not have to worry about getting fired or evicted simply for being Heterosexual. The only agenda people accused me of having before I came out was of being a hard working good person, getting an education and treating people right. Now I am told I have an agenda; that I want "special rights" for wanting equal protection from the law as everyone else enjoys. I am not entitled to equality any longer. That is a privilege only heterosexuals may enjoy. I am told I am risking an increase in taxpayer's money and that I threaten the sanctity of marriage. This all happened to me overnight.

It makes sense that if people think the only factor contributing to being Gay is sexual behavior, then wanting rights for that alone is controversial. We are much more than our sexual behavior as are our Heterosexual counterparts. If I never engaged in sexuality again for the rest of my life I would still be Gay. I am spiritually, romantically, psychologically, and emotionally attached and attracted to other men. For me, there is one man in particular. Does this mean I am not entitled to equal rights?

The agenda to me seems backward. There is an agenda to keep me from being my authentic self. If I dare speak the truth that I am Gay then my rights and privileges will be removed immediately. How can rational fair-minded people think this is fair? I believe it is due to ignorance from most heterosexuals who are not exposed or educated to our lives as Gays and Lesbians.

I invite non-Gay people to spend some time with Gays and Lesbians. Become acquainted with who we are and how we really live. Read the literature, which reflects the inner workings of our communities and our relationships. Learn the facts. Stop validating sound bites from the media and those individuals who are in judgment of us regarding their opinions and feelings. The way in which people treat us as Gays and Lesbians is most often based on feelings, opinions and judgment. Let's stick with the facts. The truth will set us all free.

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