1. Gay people are exactly the same as straight people. They laughed, they yelled, they congratulated me on the Vikings winning, they told me they rooted for the Saints, they spilled beer on the floor and apologized for doing so. They asked for autographs, shook my hand, posed for pictures, and introduced me to their significant others. They talked about how excited they were for the Vikings season this year, how long they’ve been season ticket holders, and if I thought that Ponder kid was going to be any good (I said yes). At no point was I excessively fondled and at no time did a bacchanal riot threaten the chastity of my pant fasteners. In short, it was American citizens doing American activities in a quintessentially American way.
2. Gay people are not treated as American citizens. The amount of individuals who came up and thanked me and Brendon for taking a stand was staggering, and frankly depressing. I use the word depressing because for that many people to thank us for showing basic empathy, to thank us for recognizing that they are human beings just like everyone else, means that so many other people have not. What that says about our society makes me ill just to think about, and it means that we are failing the American dream.
America is the land where people go to escape oppression, to escape persecution, to escape tyranny; sure we haven’t always gotten it right throughout the years but we should always strive for that elusive goal of equality. Right now we’re just not getting it done.
3. One conversation I had that will stick with me for the rest of my life involved a local high school teacher/coach. He walked up, introduced himself, shook my hand and said these exact words: “I want to thank you for speaking up. What you did will save children’s lives.”
This really hit me, in a primal way I was not expecting. A man who interacts with our youth every day, who sees their struggles, and their triumphs, and their failures, told me that my words meant a child might find hope for the future instead of despair, might dare to believe he or she could be accepted for who they are, not what someone else said they should be.
Do you know how exceedingly ANGRY PUMA GROWL that is? A child should never have to feel that way. A child should never think that suicide is the only option, the only solution to the tormenting and bullying and unthinking viciousness adults so unwittingly pass along to the young. A child should never become a casualty in a war of oppression, of bigotry, of petty small mindedness.
Because make no mistake, that child is a casualty. All the hopes, all the dreams, all the wonderful potentialities life has in store are as dust before the scouring winds of intolerance (whether it be racist, sexist, or religious). Every time you propagate the message that being gay is to be less than human, that same sex marriage cannot be as filled with love and laughter and tears as heterosexual marriage, that gays don’t deserve to pass a legacy on to their family, you quicken that howling storm and sweep away a tiny bit more humanity from the world, drive one more child to contemplating the cold razor’s bite, or the yawning abyss of the overdose because they simply cannot deal with the unceasing assault upon their psyche.
Well I, for one, will not stand for it. I will not stand for a world that demeans those it finds ‘different’ or ‘gross’. I will not stand for an ideology that promotes slavish adherence to a single arbitrary standard, that sacrifices children on the altar of oppression and control. I will not stand for one more RED TINGED MUSHROOM CLOUD second of people thinking that they have the right to live someone else’s life for them, for the complete lack of empathy so often shown in our society.
I stand for gay marriage. I stand for the end of segregation. I stand for a woman’s right to vote. I stand for equality under the law, for treating others how I want to be treated, for the fundamental human right to live a happy life free of tyranny.
I stand for my children.”
Minnesota Vikings punter and athlete ally Chris Kluwe, discussing status of gay people in America, on his blog, Out of Bounds.