QUESTION: What Does “Acceptance” Mean, Anyway?

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It used to be all about tolerance. We wanted the straights to tolerate us and teach their children to be tolerant. Sort of like how you’re tolerant of a yapping dog or an old lady wearing too much perfume.

Somewhere in the last decade, though, being tolerated wasn’t enough and we switched to asking for acceptance.

But what does accepting someone as gay mean—accept like a compliment? Accepting it as a fact? As a fate (like terminal cancer)?

Sometimes we’re told we are accepted: Conservative Christians often promise they accept us, they just disagree with us. But their acceptance doesn’t come with the right to marry, to serve in the Army or to teach their children. So what’s it worth? Does accepting someone mean you don’t think they should go to jail? Does it mean you let them live next

But what does accepting a gay person mean—accept like a compliment? Accept as a fact? As a fate (like terminal cancer)?

door to you? Or does it mean you believe they and their values are equal to you in every way?

Even us gays have trouble accepting sometimes: We might promise Christian activists we’d never force them to perform a gay marriage if they didn’t want to, but how many cities have laws telling reception halls, florists, caterers and the like that they can’t turn us way?

And as the malicious words of bigots damage more and more young LGBT people, will we start insisting they embrace us?

Is there a hard-and-fast rule about acceptance or is it more a case-by-case definition? Or maybe it’s time for a new word again.

Define your terms in the comments section below.

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  • Dumdum

    I don’t think that acceptance is the right word. Until there is a major shift in consciousness and homosexuality is viewed as a normal aspect of the human condition. Equal rights and civil rights under the law as is enjoyed by EVERYONE ELSE in the free world, is the the best that one can hope for. It is our rights as human beings that is the issue.

  • GreenmanTN

    I don’t expect everyone to like gays but I do expect them to accept that homosexuality is a fact of life, part of the human condition, and deal with that fact rationally and GTF over it. No matter what their religious leaders say, what they think their holy book says, it’s not going to go away to suit them so their opinions are really beside the point. Rail at the moon while you’re at it, why don’t you?

    It shouldn’t really matter whether homosexuality is a “choice” or not, but it’s laughably absurd that religious organizations who actively proselytize for people to CHOOSE their religion or sect feel they have the right to cast stones at something that clearly has some basis in biology and has existed in EVERY known human civilization (and the animal world). It’s equally ridiculous to expect gays to be lifelong celibates while they basically do whatever the fuck they want, so they can forget that too.

    Get. Over. It.

  • streeteditions

    Screw tolerance, acceptance,etc. We are human beings with the right to be recognized as such. If any religion (which is only a belief, not a fact/reality)can be treated as valid for tax purposes, i.e., legitimate recognition by governments, especially those like Jehovah’s Witnesses which deny space, or the LDS Church with their own planets beacuse they become gods; then we, as human beings that actually exist need to heed the right of the individual to be an individual. True democracy depends upon the rights/existence of the minority. If it is one thing that is reality, we exist. We are a part of the natural selection that has created the human species as it exists today. I hate to be reduntant, but: WE’RE HERE! WE’RE QUEER!! GET THE FUCK USED TO IT!!!!!

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