Do you spend time thinking about what your friends do in bed? Are you preoccupied with the sexual proclivities of your co-workers? Probably not. Why, then, is announcing one’s sexual preference worthy of a pat on the back from the president and first lady when it comes from a celebrity? Congratulating someone for revealing they are gay seems a lot like telling someone you are proud they are African American. Aren’t we supposed to be past that? Is politicizing sexual preference a good thing, or is it patronizing and demeaning?
Gay equality or unnecessary rights?
Rights do not celebrate our differences. They protect what we have in common.
LGBT equality came from politicizing sexual preference, but Americans already have the right not to be discriminated against. We are all granted equality. Separating groups from the mainstream and bestowing the perception of special rights and protections by politicizing differences opens the door to abuse, discrimination, and a host of lobbyists, pressure groups, and politicians who smell opportunity.
Sure, it takes courage to reveal something about yourself that is controversial and sexual preference certainly ranks up there. Just because something takes courage does not make it a good idea. If you are gay is it brave to let the world know, to set yourself apart instead of just living your life? In a society where a remark on a social media site can cost you a job, is parading in the streets to celebrate your sexual orientation a gay equality or a judgment issue?
Do equal rights mean taxpayers should fund equal entitlements?
Some rights really matter (see: Citizens Give Up Labor and Voting Rights). Some, like birthright citizenship, should have been discarded a long time ago. Some cost money and raise too many questions about the myriad ways Americans can benefit by charging unfair treatment or discrimination, like civil union and domestic partnership laws that permit spouses to qualify for taxpayer-supported benefits (see: Illinois Raises Income Tax, Then Hikes Benefits). A civil union is not about sexual orientation. It is about money and perks.
But we all like attention, don’t we?
Sure we do, but if you have some unusual sexual kink it’s probably not a good idea to grab a bullhorn and let the world know. Being gay shouldn’t raise too many eyebrows, but the real question is why it has become such an issue. Sexual preference has been politicized to open the door to gay marriage laws, civil union laws, state anti-discrimination laws, and hate crime bills. That’s a lot of effort put into preventing discrimination based on what makes one group different. When the White House politicizes sexual preference so everyone knows that the first couple are open thinkers it seems uncomfortably close to the old stereotype of a white American giving the black power salute to African American friends. Sometimes pointing out diversity is not a step forward. It’s a step back.