Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Why it annoys me when people say my rights don’t matter

By Angela Thomas

I am gay—there I said it. I’ve been gay for quite some time now. I have gay friends, I have a gay family member, and my job is extremely gay—pretty much my life is a big LGBT smorgasbord.

I voted for Obama four years ago and today, I did the same thing. I am not at all a single-issue voter but in front of everything, I believe human rights come first. I can’t get married in the state of Pennsylvania. I can get fired in the state of Pennsylvania for being gay. I don’t have the same rights that heterosexuals take for granted. I am a second-class citizen.

I didn’t choose this. Why would I choose to be gay? Why would I want to be something that most people hate? I am not confused, I never was. God (whoever he/she is) has blessed me with so many amazing opportunities, so if God “hates fags,” then why has he/she given me so much? My sexuality developed just like everyone else’s. There is nothing wrong with me. I had the privilege of receiving a good education, I file and pay my taxes on time, I work a full-time job, I am a respected neighbor in my town,  I pay my own bills—I do everything you do, except I love and am attracted to the same sex.

I was once asked why marriage equality was so important to me because “civil unions” are the same thing. Well, if I were to get a civil union with my partner in Pa., it might not be recognized in other states. The federal benefits are completely different-I can’t take leave to care for my sick partner, gain access to social security survivor benefits. My taxes are a whole other story as well. So no, it is not the same.

I was asked to take down a status I wrote yesterday. I jokingly said that anyone I know who votes for Mitt Romney, is not allowed to my wedding. However, half of me was not joking. You are supporting a candidate that is against everything I am. He is not only against my sexuality but my gender. He is against my lower-middle class family. He is against my relationships. He is against my fellow LGBT military service men and women. He is against protecting me from sexual orientation-based hate crimes.

For a while now, I have been told that same-sex and LGBT inclusive issues shouldn’t be a big issue. I disagree. I am telling you right now that my equality matters. My gay family members who have been together for 30-something years—yeah, their equality matters. My best friends and acquaintances who are LGBT—their equality matters. My co-workers—you guessed it! Their equality matters.

My equality matters. If you can’t agree with that, then you can’t agree with my relationship, you can’t agree with my life and you certainly are not my friend. 

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