Sunday, December 21, 2008

As Always, the Smartest Person in the Room.

What's interesting about this to me is that you see how unknowledgeable Obama is about so-called LGBT issues, which mirrors I think the American people's state of familiarity with them. It's a strange sort of half knowing that maybe (to them) feels more complete than it is because of the massive influx of gay and lesbian images in pop culture with Will & Grace, The L Word, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, and other miscellaneous homosexuals on reality shows and commercials, etc. in the last 10 years. Not to mention everyone's favorite homosexual, the one who started the conversation, Ellen. I think people are much less afraid than they were 10 years ago, but they're still pretty uncomfortable with homosexuality unless it's entertainment.

This Rick Warren thing really throws it into the light. The gay community is all like "But I thought you loved us! I thought you understood," and Obama is like, "I do!" and we're like, "Apparently not."

And maybe I'm gonna be hugely wrong on this in the end, we'll see, but I still think it's the wrong approach to compare the homosexual struggle to the civil rights movement. Of course there are parallels, but I think the argument's persuasive power is too limited. Because gay rights is about sexuality rather than ethnicity, it's a different row to hoe. The conversation requires a comfort with talking about sex that most Americans just don't have. The Rick Warren-type 3rd grade schoolyard arguments against homosexual relationships -- "people aren't made that way," "the parts don't fit," etc., the so-called plumbing argument -- are impossible to refute without having a fairly graphic discussion of body parts and sexual behavior. I think most people feel such intense discomfort with the subject matter, a discomfort that I think a lot of people aren't even aware of or wouldn't acknowledge, that they are literally unable to have that conversation, to learn the stuff you need to learn in order to understand that homosexual desire is just as natural as heterosexual desire. I think what most people want to be assured of is that it's natural. It's a steeper learning curve than the race stuff, and it's unreasonable to expect Obama to be anywhere other than where he is with it.

It's so clear, when you look at a mixed race couple, to see what a simple, glaring injustice it is to deny them the right to be together in the exact same way we allow non-mixed couples to be together. The argument against mixed-race couples falls apart when you look more closely at the idea of race. The argument is based on the idea that the races shouldn't mix, but that's ridiculous because of course they already have. Each of us is already a great mixture. So you can't argue that there's some fundamental biological difference between, for example, a white man and a white woman marrying and a white man and a black woman marrying. But two men together, two women together, does present something biologically different than a heterosexual couple. Not that it's not natural or right or good, not that they necessarily shouldn't be encouraged to emulate heterosexual relationships, but it's a different argument to make.

Am I missing something?