Embracing Everything Human

Things have moved a long way since I first saw two men kissing. The kiss was breathtaking, and it came in a succession of kissing couples in a French documentary called “Kisses/Bises” in the Fall of 1990. That was the time I also first saw an ad for condoms, as if condoms were some Chanel product and everybody longed to have one if only they knew how to use it. The ad explained just that.

It was my first trip abroad. I was an exchange law student in France.

Those were the years of new beginnings in the new cultural revolution all over the world. I am proud to say I participated in it since then.  In 1998, as a member of the Sex and Law Committee of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York I co-organized and co-produced the first program in support of Immigration Equality for same sex couples under the banner “We Are Family.” Congressman Jerry Nadler showed interest in participating, as well as New York Times columnist Frank Rich, and they both very politely declined when some unexpected meeting had to be given priority on their schedule. For three subsequent years I marched in the Gay Pride Parade with Immigration Equality and missed it for all the other years.

I see being gay as being different in a way that is not alterable. You may fake your sexual orientation or may decide to explore other shores, and in the process you may even discover that exploring is what you really need. Because few things are as definitive as one’s sexual identity, among them birth and death, we all have noticed discomfort, to remain euphemistic, at expanding civil rights to the gay community.

In 1991 rural Virginia, a friend wrote his high school senior thesis on the constitutionality of gay marriage. His English teacher, the minister’s wife, refused to let him present his paper with the other students. Nevertheless, the high school senior insisted, and gave his presentation. But unlike the uproar his teacher feared, he had only one comment from the class: “So this means I can marry my dog?” Sighing, my friend responded, “Yes, Bob, you can marry your dog.”

Today he wrote on his Facebook: “But finally, thank you, SCOTUS, for affirming a young kid’s life-long belief in the equal protection of life, liberty, dignity, and the pursuit of happiness.”

Like him, I feel that the US Supreme Court has finally managed to make us all feel proud for being humans and embrace everything human, as Tennessee Williams, another shortsighted person, would have said.

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