Thursday, November 20, 2008

Where We Agree

I attended diversity training again a couple days ago.

This is about the fourth class I've attended in about 2 years. No, I don't keep on slapping the secretary on the behind for a job well done. It's relevant to one of my volunteer responsibilities where I interact with a whole host of other cultures. I have indeed made some mistakes along the way; there's a lot to learn.

One thing we had to do was break into the groups which we felt society would pigeonhole us into, and answer a couple questions:

1. What do I never want to be called again? (I'll just put my contributions, so as not to get near another's privacy):
(With cruel intent. If there is no doubt the intent is benign and is just meant to be, say, a friendly jab between friends, I have no problem, but others will disagree.)

But then I realized there's now a bunch of new words for "fag" that get to me just the same, if not more nowadays:
--anti-traditional marriage

These are the PC words our opponents use today, sometimes directly and sometimes indirectly by advertising themselves in their fight against us as "pro-family" and "pro-traditional marriage" or as "defending traditional marriage".

Anyway, that realization caused me to opine on what unbelievably horrible people homosexuals are, yesterday. We're terrible: uncivil, sore losers, religiously intolerant, disrespectful of the rights of others, and a lot more. I've heard gays called all that recently... I kind of miss the good old days of "faggot" ;-).

2. What do I never want done to me again?
--I never want to lose legal rights for my family again; this one hurt more than the others added together and it's still negatively affecting me, physically even.
--I want to never be threatened with bodily harm again, especially with my kids there.
--I never want to work under a boss' anti-gay bigotry again.

3. How do I want to be treated?
This was the point of this exercise. Everyone's answers to #1 and #2 were all very different. But here, from the woman's group to the LDS group to the Hispanic group, everyone's answers were the same, almost word for word.

We all want to be treated "how others would want themselves to be treated". We all wanted to be treated "fairly" and with "r-e-s-p-e-c-t".

The LDS group wrote down exactly what the GLBT group wrote down.

So why, in practice, is this so difficult? I really do want their families to have every right and responsibility ours does, no more and no less. I want them to be able to decide in their own homes and in their own churches what a marriage is. I don't want to publicly label their unions non-ideal or their children as deficient.

I heard the Golden Rule on their list and it was actually kind of jarring, though I know it shouldn't be. I just don't understand why it doesn't go both ways, when we both know how the other would want to be treated and how we'd want to be treated. It's frustrating.

We were asked to make a single goal to change ourselves as we left, and write it down and keep it in our pocket. I'll admit, such symbolic acts strike me as silly. But I did it, and in my wallet right now is a piece of paper telling me that I will drop my resentment towards the LDS organization. The tough part is going to be doing that while still being denied and fighting for those answers to #3. It seems new wounds are being opened each news cycle and many LDS are still fighting to take away even meager rights for our families (I'm looking at you, Mrs. Ruzicka).

Eh, I'll start with my unfair resentment :-).


chosha said...

I will drop my resentment towards the LDS organization

Respectfully (no pun intended :)) I disagree with this goal, at least as a way to increase your respect for diversity. I don't think that organisations warrant the same respect as people. And I think that sometimes resentment has just cause.

Even when you take it to the level of individual people, disagreeing with someone, even vehemently, is NOT disrespectful. To protest against someone else's beliefs is not disrespectful when those beliefs have an impact on you personally (or on anyone, actually, now that I think about it). And all of this can happen while respecting them as human beings and respecting their right to believe differently to you.

Leaving all that aside, what a great group activity. Isn't it so interesting (and profoundly ironic) that the key to appreciating diversity is to realise that really we're all the same?

Queers United said...

I think you are absolutely right that the word fag is no longer used and has been replaced with those other terms by our opponents.

BigRedHammer said...

"I will drop my resentment towards the LDS organization"

I go to BYU Education Week every year. I learn a lot of ways to improve myself. Three years ago I took away this gem: "______ are basically good people ."

You can fill it in with any type of people you like. I've had "Customers are basically good people." and many others.

LDS people are basically good and want good for others. However, your statement is directed at the LDS organization. My 'basically good' statement doesn't work for organizations. You can come to your own conclusions.

-L- said...

I have always thought of you as pretty much the ideal gay man. Seriously. You seem to have the capability lacking in most others to understand this basic idea that many others seem to miss. While I could discuss some of the specifics of your post and my different take on them, the fact remains that as a person who has been maligned and harassed myself for who I am and what I believe based on misunderstandings, I respect your ability to be so moderate and reasonable.

Scot said...

I hear you chosha. I'm not against protest or disagreeing; goodness knows I'm not about to stop disagreeing :-).

I'm just ready to drop the emotion of resentment again. As I always try to remind myself, when it's aimed at people or the organizations they make, anger and resentment are as productive as resentment for the weather. But I'll still try to get my family under my umbrella, no matter how much that irks the storm clouds ;-).

q.u."I think you are absolutely right that the word fag is no longer used and has been replaced with those other terms by our opponents."

What's really sad to me is that I've noticed they are dragging down such words as family and marriage in the use of them in pejoratives for the gay community. In some people words like "family values" and "pro-family candidate" have come to mean nothing more than bigotry and some arguably anti-family politics. It's sad to see that happen.

"However, your statement is directed at the LDS organization. My 'basically good' statement doesn't work for organizations. You can come to your own conclusions."

That's a fair point. In general, I have trouble holding resentment towards individuals after I interact with them, though. One on one it's too easy to see why they do what they do, even if I vehemently disagree; I can even see a little sympathy for the executioner killing gays in centuries past because he had such a strong faith and had certain that he was saving hundreds of lives in doing so. I think that's why I picked the one I have trouble with in "organization"; organizations of people are more complicated than people ;-).

I'm going to have to look back at the archives and try to come up with some testable hypothesis regarding when you show up. Right now I'm leaning towards an effect of lunar cycles :-).

Nice to see your avatar again, and thank you for the kind words.

(doh! again; now you all know my man's actual name :-). I'm no good at clandestine stuff)