My daughter is a lesbian. And while she kids me about “turning” her gay (suggesting softball and giving her Black & Decker tool toys as a toddler), she is only joking. She didn’t turn gay. She didn’t make a choice about her attractions. Her sexuality is as much a part of her as her eye color or right-handedness. It’s inherent, and the strange notion that the sex to which we are attracted is something other than inherent boggles my mind. The idea that all of us were born with an attraction to the opposite sex, and some choose to deny that attraction and choose to be attracted to the same sex is ludicrous and self-serving. No one chooses their attraction. No one chooses their identity. I certainly didn’t. Did you?
My daughter is 16, and I’m thankful that she was raised in a household where homosexuality wasn’t shunned, but discussed openly and honestly. I’m glad that my wife and I chose early on to be open and honest with our daughter in an age appropriate way about a plethora of so-called sensitive topics like sex, sexuality, and religion to name a few. Our approach has fostered a relationship that has allowed my daughter to discuss ideas and views freely with us, come to her own conclusions, and simply be a well-rounded, well-spoken, confident individual.
That relationship and those discussions allowed my daughter to be who she is and not hide – to have no fear of repercussion or shame from her family for being different or having her own opinions. The closets are empty at my house, and I am grateful for it, but I am tired, exhausted really, by the ignorance and hate and ridiculousness that I see and hear daily on this subject – in the news, on social media, and even in person, and that’s why I’m writing this blog post.
To those who would deny the rights of homosexuals – shun them, hurt them, and yes, fear them, you’re wrong, and frankly, you should be ashamed of yourselves, your position, and your ignorance.
Who are you to tell someone who she can and cannot love? Who are you to tell consenting people how to love? Would you allow anyone to do that to you? Would you allow anyone to hold a vote to determine who you could marry? Would you allow anyone to impose their religious beliefs on you, and require that you live by them? Would you allow anyone to debase you simply for who you are, deny you basic human rights, and assault you publicly?
No? Then why on earth do you think you should be able to do that and more to homosexuals? I don’t get it. I don’t think I ever will, but it happens every day in this country and around the world, and you’re a part of the problem.
Some of you tell me that your religion says it’s unnatural and wrong, that the bible specifically forbids it. True, but the bible also calls for stoning your children to death for disrespect, orders us not to wear clothes of mixed fibers, and makes the remedy for rape a pay-off to the victim’s family and marrying the victim.
The majority of my friends are Christian, and though I’ve seen many of their children act completely disrespectful, I’ve never heard one of them suggest we take their children to the town square for stoning. They all wear clothes of mixed fiber, and I’ve never heard one of them advocate for the rapist to pay off the victim’s family and marry the victim. In fact, if I had to guess, they probably think those things are as ridiculous as I do. It’s why they don’t follow those orders or advocate those remedies, but that’s a problem.
If the bible is the word of your god, then you don’t get to pick and choose what is right or wrong in it. If, however, you are picking and choosing (like ignoring child stoning), then why cling to certain passages over others? Why give one more merit than the other? The only reason to do so is to justify your position on homosexuality. You think child stoning is bad, so you ignore that passage. You think wearing clothes of mixed fiber is fine, so you ignore that passage. You don’t advocate marrying the victim as a remedy for rape, so you ignore that passage, but you’re uncomfortable with homosexuality. You don’t understand it, because you don’t live it. You are not attached to it in anyway and find it “icky,” so you don’t ignore those passages. That’s not faith. That’s justification of opinion and ideology.
Some of you tell me it’s gross – that you don’t want to see two men kissing in public. Strangely, many of you find two women kissing entertaining and erotic, but that’s a different topic altogether. Some of you just find homosexuality “icky” and “gross.” To those of you who do, I simply say, “get over it.” You only find two men kissing and holding hands icky, because you are unaccustomed to seeing it. To this point, gay men and women have had to hide their affection for one another in public, because it was unacceptable and could lead to brutal physical assault or worse. It has become more accepted now, and you’re seeing it more. Children born today will think nothing of two men holding hands or a man kissing his partner goodbye when they part ways – no more than you think it’s icky to see a man and a woman holding hands or kissing each other goodbye. They will think nothing of it, because it has always been a part of life. It has always been the way it is. It will not be strange or taboo like it is to you, and had it not been hidden from you as a child, you would think nothing of it now.
If you make the argument that it’s icky or gross, realize this. You are making the exact same argument made against interracial couples before the Civil Rights movement in this country. You are saying the exact same thing that old white men said in deep Mississippi: “A colored boy kissing a white girl is gross. I don’t want to see it.” You need to ask yourself, “Do I really want to be that person?” My guess is no. You don’t.
Some of you are fearful that a gay person will be attracted to you and that makes you uncomfortable. Here’s a secret. Gay people have always been a part of our society. It’s nothing new. Gay people aren’t going to magically start hitting on straight people if we recognize their rights and treat them with respect and dignity. But, so what if they did? Have you never had someone of the opposite sex exhibit an attraction to you that was unwanted? How did you handle that? It’s exactly the same. You say no thanks and move on.
Here’s the thing. I don’t know anyone who has spent an extended period of time with someone who is openly gay that continues to hold onto their ignorance about or hatred of homosexuality. Not a single person. Not even those who didn’t want to, but were required to because their job was at stake. They all changed their opinions. They all realized one thing; Gay people are people too. They are just like straight people in every way. They are human. They are real. They love. They hate. They smile. They laugh. They cry. They feel. The gay doesn’t rub off on you. You don’t turn gay. It doesn’t hurt you. It doesn’t make you less conservative or religious. In fact, a gay person is just a person, and he or she has no more effect on your life than any other person has, and when you realize that, you get it and get over it.
Open your heart. Open your mind. Quell your fear and choke down your hate and insecurity. Stop justifying with your religion. Realize that my daughter is a human being. Realize that she is a person just like you, who lives and loves just like you, and then treat her with the same dignity and respect as you would any other human being on the planet. Accept that she is equal, not lesser.
I am passionate about this subject because it’s personal to me, and yes, I do take it personally. The day my daughter was born, I made a promise to love her always, to protect her from harm, and teach her everything I can in hopes that she becomes a responsible adult. I’ve kept that promise as best I could, and I intend to keep that promise until I draw my last breath. I will always love her, protect her from harm and share my experience and knowledge with her. She is strong, smart, beautiful, sweet, kind, witty, personable, persuasive, loving, passionate, and gay. As she puts it, “I don’t like boys,” and I’m fine with that. I just wish everyone was. It would make the world a better place.
A video version of this article is now available here: http://www.andyarmstrongphoto.com/video-my-daughter-is-gay-and-im-fine-with-it-you-should-be-too/
Andy Armstrong is an award-winning photographer. This article was written after a discussion with and the permission of his daughter. Please feel free to share excerpts of this article on your blog or through links to on social media. Please always include the following link back to the original article: http://www.andyarmstrongphoto.com/my-daughter-is-gay-and-im-fine-with-it-you-should-be-too/ If you’d like to contact Andy Armstrong, please send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.