10 December 2002
[For those who read yesterday's entry where I said that I was only off about $200 in
balancing the checkbook, I have to say that when I looked at it again, it's only off
$40...Dr. G--who returned from his vacation today--says that as long as it's under $100,
he's not worried.]
I'm headed back to PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) tonight. I haven't
been to meetings in over a year. There were specific reasons, which aren't important, but
I happened to chat on IM the other day with a guy who used to be the president, and who
also had not been to a meeting in awhile, for the same reason. I told him I'd run into a
member at a show recently, and that member had encouraged me to return for the holiday
party. The president and I agreed that if one of us would go, the other of us would go--so
I guess I'm feeling the need to reconnect with PFLAG these days. I always become more
aware of the bigotry that is just under the veneer of acceptance around here at this time.
The focal point is always the Boy Scout Christmas tree lot, and the boycott we attempt to
remind people about each year. It's a tricky thing--to acknowledge that the Scouting
program is good for kids, that the boys work hard and that we'd like to be supportive, but
to remind people that there are other clubs for kids, clubs like 4-H, which do not
discriminate against anyone.
My letter to the editor this year (yes, I did write one, finally) focused not on the
bigotry against gays, but on the ousting of the athiest Eagle Scout in Seattle, who
apparently is all that Scouting prides itself on, except that he admitted that he did not
believe in God. He was told that he can't be a good citizen if he doesn't believe in God
and he was kicked out (unless, he was told, he declared belief in a higher power, thus
encouraging him to lie).
Last year when I wrote my letter, pointing to the unfairness of excluding gay kids from
Scouting, making them feel inferior during a period of their lives when the suicide rate
in their age group is on the rise, I received my yearly letter from the old curmudgeon in
town who told me that he was doubling his donation to the Scouts because of my letter. In
my letter I had mentioned that it was good values taken to the extreme which caused
extremists to attack the World Trade Center. The guy told me how ludicrous it was that I
was blaming the Scouts on the World Trade Center attack (a leap of conclusion, at best!)
I responded by telling him that
"I would feel the same if the Boy Scouts were
discriminating against Jewish people, or people of color, or Baptists, or left-handed
people, or old people. It just so happens that the discrimination and intolerance is
against gay people and discrimination and intolerance is wrong. Discrimination and
intolerance taken to extremes kills people."
I didn't hear from him again, and I didn't hear from him after my letter this year, but
my friends Ellen and Shelly also wrote to the newspaper and since their address does not
appear in the phone book, he had to call them. They have a message on their answering
machine telling them that he is doubling his donation to the Scouts (the Scouts must make
a bundle off of him!) and telling them that they were "disgusting. " (Never mind that they've been together for more than 30 years and have raised two families and have done more community service than most people I know. They are...gasp...lesbians and obviously disgusting!)
You're never going to change the mind of people like this, who refuse to acknowledge
that there is more to homosexuality than merely a sex act. They can't see beyond the
bedroom, can't see the love and commitment between partners who have been together for
years, can't see that even celibate people call themselves gay because their heads are
turned by a person of the same sex, not of the opposite sex. They paint an entire segment
of the population with the same brush and automatically deny equal rights to that segment.
With respect to the Boy Scouts, perhaps the truth of the matter came in a letter to the
editor in response to my letter, where the writer was very, very clear that the Boy Scouts
is a religious organization, and as such it was ridiculous to admit someone who
does not have a belief in a higher power. Funny, but I never realized that this was a
religious organization. I don't think it says that on their literature (and, in fact, I
somehow suspect that in other countries it is not considered a religious
organization). Perhaps people who have rushed to defend the BSA as a private club which
has the Supreme Court-endowed right to discriminate would like to think twice about
donating to an organization which has religion at its core.
Anyway, it's groups like PFLAG, the Safe Schools Coalition, and my friend
Gabi's organization, Families United Against Hate
(which grew out of the work she's done as a result of her son's suicide following a gay
bashing), which work tirelessly at putting a face on the bigotry and hoping to make the
world a safer place for all people, no matter what their sexual organization.
It's probably time I picked up my drum and get back into the ranks again.
For those who are interested, I have posted my annual Christmas
letter here (tho why anybody
reading this journal for any length of time needs to read a year-end re-cap, I don't