"We cannot achieve true tolerance merely through legislation; we must change hearts and minds as well,"
~ Bill Cllinton
Angels and Demons...this book has reached the "can't put it down" stage.
Breakfast: Kashi GoLean Crunch
Lunch: Lean Cuisine Mandarin Chicken, apple
Dinner: Terriyake Chicken
11 January 2004
I saw something incredibly sad Saturday night.
We had gone to a production of Jesus Christ Superstar (no THAT wasnt sad -- in fact, it was a good production) and at the conclusion of the show, I was standing in the lobby, waiting for Walt to come out (he had gone to compliment someone we knew in the cast).
Two older women came out. I hate to use stereotypes, but these women were obviously a couple. It might be difficult to tell from looking at one, but the other was a more "dyke-looking" woman. They looked like they might have been in their late 60s or 70s.
I had noticed them when they came into the theatre before the show and they had that "weve been together a long time" look about them. Perhaps Im more conscious of it than some people, but Id already picked them out as a couple.
There was a crowd exiting the theatre and so we were all kind of scrunched up together. I happened to glance down and saw that the two womens hands were touching, with fingers connected.
As the crowd thinned, they let go of each others hands and walked in different directions.
I was immediately drawn back to the movie If These Walls Could Talk II, which examines lesbian relationships in various decades. The first segment (which won Lynn Redgrave an Emmy) begins with two older lesbians at a movie (crying through The Childrens Hour) and then leaving the theatre together, thanking a man who offers to "walk you women home" and then walking with one of them on one side of the sidewalk, the other on the curb side of the sidewalk. It wasnt until they got home that they were able to relax and be the couple that they had been for decades.
I looked at these two women last night and realized that if they had gone home, hand in hand as they obviously wanted to do, they could have faced name-calling, censure, a violent attack. Perhaps being beaten to death, as is not uncommon when rage against gay people gets out of hand.
Perhaps they wouldn't have faced that in this town, which is more liberal than most places, but still, they obviously felt the needed to be cautious.
What threat to society were these two women, who so clearly loved each other?
I grew up in an age when you could be thrown in jail for looking at someone in a way that might be interpreted as a come-on. I grew up in a city which hauled people out of bars and threw them in jail because they had come to socialize with other gay people. I grew up in a city where it was against the law for known gay people to associate with one another. (Thank goodness that city now flies rainbow flags proudly and people do walk down the street hand in hand if they want.)
Even as a child, I couldnt understand what the fuss was about. What was so terribly threatening about two people loving each other?
Violence against gay people is visceral. I read once that most murders that are committed are done "at a distance." People are shot, for example. There is no body contact. You dont get up close and personal with the guy youre going to kill. (Obviously this is not true of all murders, but the largest percentage of murders are done with distance between the killer and his/her victim.) But statistics (I wish I remember now where I read this so I could quote them verbatim) show that most murders of gay people are done in the closest possible waythey are stabbed, or strangled, or beaten to death. There is something about the notion of people attracted to someone of the same gender that so upsets some people that they need to get as close to the gay person as possible while they are in the process of ending their lives. (Look at Matthew Shepards death, as a very clear example.)
Dick Cheney said this week that he "believes in equal rights for gay people but draws the line at marriage." Its attitudes like this that continue to marginalized gay people and continue to make it OK to attack them for being "different" ... "undesirable." What "equal rights" is Cheney talking about? Is he ready to give them all those "special rights" which are allowed straight couples who marry? Or is he only OK with equal rights as long as they dont decide to fall in love and decide to share their lives with someone of the same gender?
What message is he sending? We support your right to be gay as long as you don't do anything about it? (Don't ask, don't tell outside of the military as well as inside.)
Because of their age, I dont think there will come a day in the lifetime of the two women I saw at the theatre where they can comfortably walk out of a show holding hands. But I hope that a day is coming when it wont matter the gender of people in love, just as it no longer matters the race of people in love, as it once did.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
Weight Lost to date: 46.6 lbs