Something that makes me go, “Hmmmm?”

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Below is a brief highlight of what was a rather lengthy conversation about homosexuality and societal acceptance. The conversation took place between a couple of random chicks and me in my Lit class after the Professor posed a question about coming out in the workplace when one lives in an area in which being gay *will* get you ostracized:

Chick 1: I think that gay people should just kinda, you know, deal with it…Society is changing and things are getting better, but I think it’ll just take time…Why do they have to come out at work? It’s like “don’t ask, don’t tell,” I feel like they’re there to do a job and should just do the job and then be themselves at home…

Me: Wait a minute…You’re asking people to deny a part of who they are simply because some people in society might think it’s icky? You expect the gay person to pretend to conform, never allowed to discuss their relationships with their co-workers?

Chick 2: Well, I personally think people shouldn’t discuss their private lives at all at work. It’s unprofessional.

Me: I agree, but that point is moot because people *do* discuss their private lives at work. The question is, should gays be forced to keep silent out of fear of repercussion?

Chick 2: *shrugs*

Me: (directed at chick one) Going back to your statement about the military, why should soldiers in the military be expected to keep their relationships hidden? Especially when they’re stationed far from home, most likely in a combat setting? What about when they’re overseas and everyone around them is having conversations with their significant others, but the gay persons have to pretend they’re just talking to a friend? What about the civil rights issue? Is it not a violation of their first amendment rights? You realize that under DADT, a gay person cannot come out at all, right?

Chick 1: Well, they don’t have to be in the military. They could do another job…

Me: You know, they used to say the same thing to women…Not just in the military, but to women who wanted to do anything that was considered *men’s work,* this included voting…Should women have just dealt with that?…

Dude in class: (interjecting) I think it’s wrong to keep gays quiet…I, for one, think they’re born gay…

Chick 1: Well, I agree. I think they are, too…

Me: So, then why would you put the burden of “just dealing with it” on the person who is born the way that they are…they have no choice, it’s literally who they are…and not on the bigot who has chosen, via willful ignorance, to be a judgmental tool?

Chick 1: *nods and shrugs*

I still want an answer to that last question: Why is the burden of acceptance always placed upon the marginalized and not upon the marginalizers? Why is it that the oppressed are always expected to just “deal” with it? Should it not be the other way around? Moreover, in keeping silent do those who disagree with bigotry not lend a measure of credence to that bigotry?

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