It must be incredibly frightening for anti-gay protesters to watch the world around them change and not understand how or why. I assume it would shake one to his/her core to be born into a community where your beliefs about sexuality were foisted upon you such that you forgot you ever had a choice to think them or not. Fast forward a few decades and you look around and realize nearly everyone else has moved on to acceptance and tolerance of sexuality in its myriad forms. Last week reinforced my faith in humanity in the United States. After so much racist hatred in our country, SCOTUS’ ruling has finally raised us to a place where I can see equality at the end of the tunnel. Though we still have much work to do, there are some who are still stuck in the mindset they have always had. And it turns out their nephew is gay and their favorite high school teacher was always a lesbian. And, dammit! They always liked their nephew and Ms. Trainer. To go from such a position of certainty then to have it challenged in such a monumental way must be scary. It almost makes one pity them. But then they open their mouth and yell about God hating the perversion of gay sex or stand on the corner with a sign blaming gay people for natural disasters that don’t even include glitter.
Attending the Gay Pride parade yesterday in downtown St. Louis, I expected to see beautiful men in rainbow g-strings, exuberant women with glitter tops, children of all ages weighted down with colorful beads, grandmothers waving gay pride flags, friends dancing in the streets. What I didn’t expect to see were the lonely anti-gay Christian protesters holding large wooden signs proclaiming gay people as sinners doomed to hell and damnation. Their message seemed as timely as advocating for fax technology over smart phones. I should have anticipated the anti-gay brethren, actually, because I’d seen them the day before when I picked up my daughter and her friends from a Pride festival event. After collecting the girls, I drove by the doomsday crowd with my windows down and screamed, “GOD LOVES FAGS! GOD LOVES FAGS!” until I felt properly satisfied and my voice was hoarse. It’s sad when the driver is the least mature person in the car.
I marvel at the level of commitment it must take to walk into a crowd of thousands who disagree with you on fundamental human rights issues. It must take a tremendous amount of conviction? anger? to continue to cling to an intolerant way of life that is simply not sustainable. To go from being the top of the food chain of favorable perception to the bottom must challenge one’s faith. Will these people ever embrace the adage that if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em? I know just how powerful denial can be from past experiences with addiction in my own family. I admit I don’t understand religious denial of human rights, but it’s the same type of denial that has fueled some of the worst actions by people in history.
These religiousy people may have started out trying to convert sinners to follow the Lord, or some such, but that goal has long since been abandoned. These anti-gay protesters just want to show what bad sports they are because the tide of public opinion is against them. They don’t offer reflections of God’s love. They simply spew hatred intended to provoke a spirited reaction by scantily-clad people wearing skittles glued to their buttocks. They are the last bully on the playground who lost his audience and can’t find anyone else to pick on.
To those homophobes still protesting in the name of God, I say pick up your toys and walk away from the playground. And when you’re ready, you can wear your rainbow beer guzzler helmet and some Richard Simmons short shorts and join us in the street. We have plenty of room for you. We welcome you with open hearts and open minds.