Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Gays, Lesbians, Bi-sexuals, and Transgenders

“To be or not to be…”

….gay that is.

Since I can’t say I can relate to the feeling of being gay, I won’t make a judgement of wrong and right here. What I do want to do is share a funny situation I found myself in during my 2 PM class on Monday and then share some stats I learned in my 6 PM class on Monday night about gays, and then finally pose some questions I’d like to hear your responses too.

My situation…

Okay, so Monday I’m sitting in my Research class and there is a guy that sits behind me in there. We like to talk and shoot the breeze and joke about the professor and stuff like that. Well I’ve always had a STRONG feeling he is gay, but have never had it “proved” nor has he admitted it to me, but I’ve just always thought it. So, anyways, following our break in that class we were sitting there chatting while we waited for our professor to return. He was telling me about his night the night before…

[This is what he APPARENTLY said to me]
“Okay, so last night my best friend kept hitting on my date! It made me so mad! We had all three gone out to eat and apparently they were playing footsies under the table the whole night, and when I went to go to the bathroom they were apparently kissing outside on the balcony!” (he was obviously really upset about this and it angered him, as it would anyone in that situation, I’d assume)…so I said in response,

“Man, that sucks! So I guess your best friend didn’t have a girl with him? It was just him, you and your girlfriend?” And he goes, “Yeah.”

So then our professor came in so we ended the conversation there. Well, honestly, like 45 minutes later, if not an hour later, when we were switching gears in our class to something else, there was kinda a break, and people were chatting for a minute while the professor got ready to go over the next thing. It was then that the guy behinds me leans up to me and goes,

“Hey, earlier did you say a girl?” And I go, “Yeah, didn’t you say your best friend was hitting on your girl while you in the bathroom and that they were playing footsies?” And IMMEDIATELY he goes, “Oh no! Girls are icky! I said my DATE! He was hitting on my date….”

So yeah, I didn’t want to sit there and seem like I was in shock of what just happened, so I remember thinking in my head, “just act cool and act like he didn’t just use the word ‘icky’”….HA! I was like, “Oh, well that sucks, either way, that he was hitting on your date.”

[I said earlier that that was what he “APPARENTLY” said, because I SWEAR he said “my best friend kept hitting on my girlfriend!” because I remember specifically thinking to myself after he said it, “oh man, I was wrong, I thought he was gay. Well maybe he is bisexual.” So I could have SWORN he said “girl” and not date, but maybe it was just me being accustom to guys dates being a girl, so I just ASSUMED it when he said “date”, I don’t know.]

So yeah, that was my experience with someone “coming out” to me this week. HA! Guess I need to get accustom to this kind of thing with getting into this business.

So, let’s talk about gays and lesbians.

It was SOOO weird how that happened in my afternoon class on Monday and then without me knowing it, Gays, Lesbians, Bi-sexuals, and Transgenders (GLBT) was our topic for discussion that night in my Human Behavior and Diverse Populations class.

It’s funny how uncomfortable people can be with talking about this topic. But first, I want to share a few interesting things I learned in class that night:

--Transgender individuals have a 1 in 12 chance of being murdered in contrast to the average person who has about a 1 in 18,000 chance.

--In 35 states it is legal to fire someone based on sexual orientation and in 45 states it is legal to fire based on gender identity.

--The estimated cost for sex reassignment surgery (AKA to have the surgery done to have a sex change) is $14,000. The breakdown—11,000 for surgery; 1,000 for therapy; 1,500 for hormones; and 500 for doctor visits and lab work.

--89.5% of transgender students feel unsafe in their schools

I’m sorry, but that first stat is disturbing; it’s sad really.

So, I ask you, why is there this discrimination toward these individuals? We (well I say we, though I didn’t really partake, just listened) discussed in my class Monday night why we think GLBTs are the most discriminated against group today. Our class spoke of the reasons such as how we fear what we don’t understand or can’t relate to, and we spoke also of the religious aspects (not really in depth of course, I mean this IS a state school). And while I think both of these probably illustrate a lot of the reasons for discrimination, I also see another big reason, and I feel bad that I didn’t speak up and say it, since it wasn’t discussed.

I think another reason for discrimination toward this group is the whole issue of is your sexual orientation a choice or an innate orientation/behavior? If you ask a gay person they are most likely going to tell you it is how they were born, they can’t help it that they are drawn toward members of their same sex, but if you ask an individual who doesn’t relate to this lifestyle, many times they will say it is a choice the gay individual is making. Many times this is the response given by those who side with the religious argument, that the gay individual is choosing that lifestyle and that they can be helped to “overcome it.”

Honestly, I don’t know where I stand in this argument, but I’ll tell you this…if it is innate, I would think it would be a feeling or sense we would have as a young baby. Something we don’t have to learn, such as sucking is an innate behavior, a baby comes out and knows how to suck without being taught. However, I don’t remember ever thinking as a young child that I was being drawn to boys. I don’t remember ever thinking about those kinds of behaviors as a young child. I feel as if we develop our desires toward members of one sex or another, and that it comes later on in life. I suppose if it is innate, maybe it is just dormant till later in life, I don’t know. But if it is a choice, that I can’t say I remember thinking to myself, “Hmmm…I think I like boys and would rather be oriented toward members of the opposite sex.” But I suppose it could be one of those unconscious decisions or “choices” if you may.

Either way, I want to leave you with one more thought.

We ended out our night class Monday with a video that was approximately an hour. It was an award winning documentary called “Living with Pride: Ruth Ellis @ 100”. It was a documentary done on a woman for her 100th birthday. She was a black woman born in 1899 who happened to be a lesbian as well. The video talked with Ruth throughout and told of her MANY accomplishments and successes in life, as well as talked with her about her lifestyle as a lesbian and the hardships she dealt with being a black lesbian woman. It was a really good documentary if you ask me (though apparently our teacher almost didn’t show it to us because apparently folks in her other class that she showed it in were disturbed by the film and didn’t like her showing it, however my class expressed our support of showing it after we saw it. We didn’t see it as a problem at all).

So, at one point in the video Ruth was commenting on how people talk about how lesbianism is bad and against what God says in the Bible. She said, “God accepts gays and lesbians or He wouldn’t have put them here.”

What do you think of that? I’m not giving my opinion on this matter at this time, but I’m curious what you think. And you know what, I think what she said kinda comes down my mentioned argument from earlier…does God accept gays because He put them here because being gay is innate and that is how God made them?


sasda said...

"In 35 states it is legal to fire someone based on sexual orientation and in 45 states it is legal to fire based on gender identity."
what? Can't be true!

This is one of my fave subjects but right now I can't get anything smart out of my head, just that I think that you don't choose to be gay or straight or whatever, you just are.

(I'm just randomly jumping from blog to blog and found yours interesting)

Galvanize chaos said...

"God accepts gays and lesbians or He wouldn't have put them here." Hmm...I have heard an interesting belief about gays. If a young boy is raped by a man, that boy will most likely “become” gay when he grows up. Now did the boy later choose to become gay because of the nightmare in his childhood? Or was the rapist drawn to HIM because the man unconsciously knew God had created the boy to be attracted to him?

There are child-molesters on earth. Did God create them to lust after children? Does God accept them? I am NOT saying that I think being gay/lesbian is a crime. But I do disagree when they say they were born with it. And I most certainly do not think God created anyone to be attracted to their same gender. -Gc

Steve Duer said...

I found you blog from Mike Copes. I am an MSW and a christian. You are struggling with a topic many of us have struggled with when we have gone to state schools. Hang in there and keep working though it.