Please play this video while reading the text…
Don’t tell my niece or nephews but this morning I woke up and had mint chocolate chip ice cream for breakfast. It’s extremely rare that I have ice cream in my freezer; I had company for dinner last night and picked it up for desert…and breakfast apparently. And it got me to thinking:
How fortunate I am to have been born a straight, white, male, and in America no less. All that’s missing is a huge trust fund, but thankfully my folks and mentors taught me how to work hard, make bank, and save a little. Now, I don’t feel fortunate because these traits in fact make me superior (or make me feel superior) to those that were born otherwise; although I suppose it could be argued, rather easily, that a natural arrogance forms when doors don’t consistently slam in your face. No, the reason I am grateful for the result of my birth is the time and energy I haven’t had to spend trying to accommodate myself into someone else’s pigeon hole.
I was born straight – I never made a choice to be attracted to women, that’s just how I’m wired. I have never been attracted to men; which saved lots of time in my youth, because in my 20s that would have doubled my chances of getting laid, and I didn’t need any more hours of bedtime, as it were. For many though, matters of sexual and gender identity aren’t so cut and dried. There is no rational reason those in the LGBTQ community should be shamed or made to feel less than whole. Surprise! They’re humans! They are not an insidious plot by the devil to destroy our communities, schools, and PTOs. Nope. They’re people. They have feelings, dreams, hopes, and some of them probably like mint chocolate chip ice cream just as much as you and me. They shouldn’t be mocked, harassed or targeted. They are simply nature working its finest magic, and sometimes nature’s revelation is challenging to comprehend. Such is the case of Ms. Caitlyn Jenner.
Hardly the first to make a gender switch, but clearly one of the most public transitions. Many have struggled with her decision for various moral and/or ethical reasons. The world isn’t as simple as we long pretended it was, and many are coming to grips with this now that people like Ms. Jenner feel inclined to discuss it publicly. Many in society opposed women’s rights, civil rights, and now the rights of the LGBTQ community. The struggles of women, people of color, and the aforementioned LGBTQ folks are real, and many have lost their lives (by harassment, retaliation, and bullying) to further their specific causes. Namely, to just be treated humanely and equally.
A while back, several friends of mine posted pictures/memes of Rosa Parks on Facebook, holding her up as an example of how black people should behave when faced with oppression; this in the wake of the civil unrest in Baltimore. My friends may want to stick their nose in a history book at some point. While Rosa’s courageous act was the focal point (and she was arrested), the subsequent Montgomery Bus Boycott was also necessary to keep pushing the issue of segregation to the forefront. Both Rosa and the boycott were required. Just refusing to move to the back of the bus didn’t fix anything. What it did do was get the ball rolling.
And is it just me, or are you appalled that a mere 50 – 60 years ago we were still dealing with segregation in the good ole United States of America, where all men* are created equal and endowed with unalienable rights such as life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? Thankfully, the times have been a changin’. And some do not like the changes. It may take a generation of equality to filter out the hate and bigotry, but I am convinced it will happen. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is only half a century old, barely enough time for a tree to mature, and with diligence and patience these issues will someday fade to the background…although I don’t believe they will ever fully disappear.
I placed an asterisk by men in the previous paragraph, because I would argue that we are still in the throes of the battle for women’s rights. Equal pay anyone? Age discrimination? Maggie Gyllenhaal at age 37 too old to play the love interest of a 55 year-old man? WTF? Actually, that deserves that I write it out: What the fuck!?!
I could go on and on about this. What’s so hard about equality?
And finally, I wrote a short piece on some of the memes in response to Caitlyn Jenner’s transformation. One of my friends (and probably others based on FB comments) felt I was judging them for disagreeing with Caitlyn’s choice. Here’s what I wrote:
People comparing the Arthur Ashe Courage Award to the courage of our veterans may want to look up what the Arthur Ashe Courage Award is for – it’s for an individual’s contributions that “transcend sports”, it wasn’t meant to say that Caitlyn Jenner is better, or more courageous, than all of our veterans. There’s no comparison.
By the way, for those of you who didn’t know, Caitlyn Jenner is an avowed Republican, and I would guess values the sacrifices and contributions that our veterans have made to preserve our freedoms.
Please stop minimizing and marginalizing everyone you don’t agree with.
Or, just keep posting stupid fucking memes and photos with the intent of dividing us all. Remember: the Conservatives and the Liberals need us divided to keep making money, and they’re doing a great job.
All I requested is that people stop “minimizing and marginalizing everyone you don’t agree with”. The friend who called pleaded with me that he wasn’t judgmental, but when I pointed out that posting a meme comparing the fuss over Caitlyn to soldiers, he had in fact made a judgment. He got a little sore. And when I mentioned that using images of servicemen to portray civilians negatively will only erode support for our soldiers over time, he relented…a bit. And there have been some interesting items come to light, in wake of all the posted memes.
We’ve got too much to worry about together to let the two political parties, corporations, and lobbyists tear us apart!
That’s it for now. No movie reviews this week, but I’ll leave you with a short film made from a Twitter Short Story I wrote called “Shoes”. Until next time…
Here’s the link to my movie and short interview. And here’s the movie: