opinion

Let Freedom Swing: The Shepard and His Flock

Harlan B. Yaffe

TGIF, and Friday, Jan. 21, sure started out that way. Then I ran across a bit of news, likely unnoticed by many, but stopped me dead in my tracks: a gay marriage ban passed first test in Wyoming’s State House. It was not what happened, but where.

Someone born in Casper, Wyoming, was pronounced dead at 12:53 a.m. on Oct. 12, 1998. His name was Matthew Shepard. He was 21 years old and was murdered for being gay in a manner so heinous, it makes medieval torturers look like a cadre of Marynoll Nuns on a summer’s day picnic.

We all are human beings — though the world does not always agree.

We all share the world that is the adult industry in common. I, along with all of the GLBT community working in the adult realm share both of those things; being gay and working in adult and something else we share with the rest of you: we were raised in your world. We were reared to become mommies and daddies and eventually retire and spoil the grandchildren. We were guided, just like you, on how to date and treat members of the opposite sex with an altar and a pair of gold rings as the singular goal.

But when we discovered we were gay, that life plan, and all of the preparation that went into getting us ready for it, went out the window and was replaced by isolation and fear. For those not born gay, it must seem impossible to comprehend. While we spent the first phase of our lives in your world, you have never been in ours. I am using this month’s column to share some insight into what it is like, so we can all live as we should: harmoniously. At the most fundamental level of them all, we all are human beings — though the world does not always agree.

2010 ended with criminal penalties for homosexuality on the books in 71 countries. While that was down from 80 in 2009, as I write this, from Afghanistan to Yemen with 6 countries in between, homosexual acts are punishable by death. I don’t have to worry as I personally have never committed any homosexual acts, my boyfriend, however, better not be planning on Kabul as the destination for our anniversary trip....because he has.

While I am thankful for this country and the opportunities its freedom affords me, I am a more then a bit saddened by the fact that it took until 2003 for the Supreme Court decision in Lawrence vs. Texas, that sodomy laws were finally invalidated. Not 1963 or 1953 or even 1933, but 2003. Yet right here, right now, in this, the land that I love, on this very day in our fair capitol, the Republican Study Committee began their push for a vote on repeal of the D.C. marriage law in the 112th Congress.

Contrarian opinions are privilege we enjoy in this country. I might not like what you have to say, but I will defend your right to say it.

But when it comes to things like Clint McCance’s vitriolic clap trap on Facebook where he proudly expresses gratitude for the tragic number of recent gay teen suicides, I never forget that unlike Matthew Shepard, fate has not robbed me of my chance to make a difference; humanity involves one enlightened mind at a time.

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