I complain a lot – by which I mean, of course, “express perfectly reasonable positions about issues which you should be concerned about, too!” It’s a good thing, really. Almost noble.
But sometimes, it’s also good to see the other side. And in the spirit of Thanksgiving, that’s what I did last week. I took a few minutes to write about all the things I’m grateful for, as a married gay man, in our current world.
I pounded out a first draft and then went off to stuff my face, of course, making the strategic choice to spend time with my husband, parents, niece, and friends rather than to hunch over my laptop polishing the blog and posting it. So I’m a little late on this one, but for good reasons. I think that’s about thanks-giving, too. I was enjoying the life I’m grateful for, and, I hope, helping some of my nearest and dearest enjoy it more, too.
But the important fact to get back to is that, for all the issues which still face us as gay people and as same sex couples, the world has changed mightily in our favor recently. When I was a teenager and just figuring out who I was sexually, same sex couples could not express themselves publicly. Holding hands was a serious political statement. Talking about your relationship, or even about your sexual identity, could get you fired and thrown out of your home – or even physically abused with little legal recourse.
The very idea of a committed gay relationship, public or private, used to be inconceivable, and the suggestion that gay commitments not only existed but deserved the same legal recognition and protections as heterosexual ones was so far out of the discussion no one even suggested it.
So the world has changed – and mightily. The iPhone was introduced in 2007 and now hundreds of millions of us surf the Internet and communicate with each other as we walk down the street (I went Christmas shopping for Phil on BART last night as I rode home.) And Lawrence vs Texas, the Supreme Court decision decriminalizing sodomy, came down in 2003, and same sex couples now have marriage rights in multiple states, adoption rights in even more places, and the freedom to serve openly in the armed forces. And majority public opinion has gone from ignoring or reviling us less than a generation ago to supporting us as full equal partners. It’s amazing what’s happened.
So I’m thankful, and I hope you are, too, whether or not you’re gay and whether or not you’re married. It’s good to have rights. It’s good to have a public discourse where we can share our ideas, argue for our convictions, and air our complaints. This is all good.
In spite of whatever turmoil you may see on TV this week, we live in an improving world. There is good cause for thankfulness.