By Wiley K. March
Why do we exhibit such a strong preoccupation with the intimate aspects of others' personal lives? To what extent does this societal fixation reveal a disturbing inclination within us? Can anyone provide an adequate explanation for this phenomenon? It is worth noting that the terms "private parts," "private lives," and "private relationships" exist for a reason.
This is a matter that incites deep anger within me. During my high school years, a close friend of mine experienced death threats simply because they were transgender. In fact, someone went so far as to place a bomb in their mailbox. Fortunately, their would-be assailant proved to be as dim-witted as their hateful opinions, and my friend emerged unharmed. However, even in the face of such criminal acts (tampering with mail being a federal offense), the authorities at the time failed to take appropriate action.
Furthermore, another dear friend of mine faced death threats from their own parents due to their sexual orientation as a lesbian. Similarly, a few years later, a close friend of mine was shunned by their entire family upon coming out as gay. They were subjected to using disposable dishes and utensils, mandated to pack them in a plastic bag and dispose of them far from their family home, all out of the misguided fear that homosexuality might be contagious.
The degree of ignorance surrounding these issues is simply unbearable. Regrettably, some of my friends have fallen victim to such threats and attacks, losing their lives as a result. Even today, transgender men are frequently murdered north of Central Park, and the New York City Police Department appears to exhibit little to no urgency in addressing this dire situation, instead diverting their attention towards harassing street performers and fare evaders.
Personally, I firmly believe in the principle of equality for all individuals, rather than conferring such rights solely to religious zealots. It is crucial to bear in mind the atrocities committed throughout history under the influence of religious fanaticism, including murder, attempted murder, oppression, and slavery, all justified in the name of prophets or various figures to whom weak-minded cult followers surrender their autonomy.
While it is unnecessary to provide explicit details, it is essential to recognize that imparting knowledge regarding diversity and acceptance is paramount. It is inappropriate to divulge private or explicit information to children, particularly those below junior high age. However, young children must understand that families come in various forms, none of which are invalid or lesser than others.
The far right legislation stipulates that gender identity and sexual orientation cannot be discussed in grades K-3. This begs the question: What about a lesbian teacher who cannot mention her wife or children? How does one navigate a situation where a child's parents harbor homophobic views? How does one explain to a child that families differ not only in terms of ethnicity, religion, or blended arrangements but also in terms of gender identity and sexual orientation? Should we teach children that people assigned male at birth are prohibited from wearing dresses, skirts, or makeup? Have we so swiftly forgotten that there was a time when biological females were subject to physical assault, arrest, and even murder for donning pants?
While it is unnecessary to delve into explicit details, there is absolutely nothing wrong with educating children about the diversity that exists within families and the multitude of thoughts and emotions experienced by individuals. Just like songs, each person's uniqueness is something to be celebrated and admired.
I can assure you, far right Americans, that being gay is not contagious. Throughout my lifetime, I have developed multiple friendships with individuals from the LGBTQ community, and not once have I "contracted" their sexual orientation. It is evident that such beliefs are baseless and unfounded.