Gay. Homosexual. Lesbian. Bisexual. These are important clarifying terms that serve a purpose: to lend some distinction to a unique sexual preference, lifestyle, and/or physiological make up.
But there's another term I find to be more important: individual.
No matter how the marriage equality fight turns out (it's utterly insane that we are fighting about this), this is the word, or term, I want to focus on.
I am heterosexual. She is homosexual. He is bisexual. To me, this doesn't matter as much as does the fact that we are all individuals first.
Now, I'd be remiss if I didn't say that I do certainly understand why these other terms are important. I also understand how we can place value in these terms. They are natural extensions of our desire to form community and establish ourselves as unique beings. It makes absolute sense. In today's world, with all of the craziness that is going on with the marriage equality debate, these words are more important than ever. I get that.
But I don't want to focus on that aspect of it. Rather, I'd like to focus on the philosophical underpinnings of what it is we're all talking about: the individual.
I am one. You are one. She is one. He is one. As individuals, we think; we form communities; we believe; we ponder; we react; we are physiologically formed; we exist.
Gay. Straight. African American. Caucasian. All individuals. And we should see them as such, value them as such, and judge their merit as such. To me, individual is a more powerful word because it's free of any preconceived sentiment or silly societal notion or judgment based on race, sexual orientation, what have you. To experience and interpret a person as an individual first is to see them without color, without gender, without sexual orientation. To do so is to be free from the insidiousness of racism, sexism, and homophobia.
But to get back to the now, to today's marriage debate, for those that are fighting for equality, I want to say this:
You are individuals. I see you as individuals. I value you as individuals. It's why I support you. I think we all should have a right to create a partnership with an individual we love, no matter what sexual preference that individual may ascribe to. However, it is not your sexual orientation that I deem of value, as this is something you were born with. It is your love; it is your passion; it is your courage to fight the overwhelming bigotry and narrow-mindedness of those that refuse to see you as equals. Thank you for that.
In other words, we are all human beings. Let's act like it.