I am a woman. I was born a female. I am a college graduate with a degree in Communication. I am very interested in the way people communicate and in the way groups negotiate their identities. I am not lesbian, gay, bisexual, questioning, or transitioning. I am straight. I like men; it’s just my preference and what I find attractive. I am a sister, a daughter, a cousin, a friend, and a best friend to a few. I have the right to own a gun, the right to vote, and the right to marry whatever man I want wherever I want (within reason, of course. I wouldn’t go out of my way to break up someone else’s marriage).
I have the best friends in the world, and I mean it. At the drop of the hat, I know that if I needed something I can pick up the phone and they’re there for me. I would absolutely do the same for them. In college I had my fair share of heartbreak. My besties were there with ice cream, pizza, and only the best John Cusack movies. My friends have supported me through every loss and celebrated with me for every accomplishment.
I have a great family, too. We’re a tight-knit support system, and we’re loyal to a fault. My parents have made sacrifices for me that I will never be able to pay back, but they do it out of love. I truly consider myself lucky in life.
So why do I find that I am so nervous to write this piece? Probably because I know that not every friend I possess and not every family member I love will agree with me. But I have to write it anyway. I have to write it because earlier I was in tears, having had a serious conversation with one of my dearest and best friends.
My best friend is a man. He was born a man. He is a college graduate, too. We went to college together and became very close our sophomore year, especially after he came out to me. He was questioning. He is gay. He’s not transitioning. He likes men; it’s his preference and what he finds attractive. He is a brother, a son, a cousin, a friend, and a best friend to a few. He has the right to own a gun, the right to vote, but he does not have the right to marry whatever man he wants wherever he wants.
I can’t wrap my head around the idea that two people in love and committed to each other aren’t allowed to make it official in marriage without causing an uproar from more close-minded individuals. I also can’t wrap my head around the fact that something that I see as a basic human right can be denied to a human being, especially when it wouldn’t hurt anyone else. Our country has been through hardships and, yes, such a “young” country is going to make mistakes, but do we really want to look back twenty years from now and say that we denied couples the right to express themselves through marriage? This past August 28th was the 40-year anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Forty years. This past August 18th was the 93rd anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment. Both of those dates should resonate with different groups of people. It hasn’t even been 100 years since our nation oppressed two of the largest groups in our population.
But the oppression of the past is not my point. They’re just examples as a reference of our nation’s missteps and attempted reconciliations. My best friend got his degree in history, so I figured it would be pertinent to look at history as it generally does repeat itself. My point is this: how can a group of people who possess all their “God-given” rights (which seem to be changing all the time, i.e. 40 and 93 years ago) make decisions for another group of people? I have the right to vote, and I have the right to marry whatever man I want. Yes, women didn’t have the right to vote 93 years ago, but I can’t relate to that. I’ve never not had the right to vote once I turned 18. I’ve also never not had the right to marry whatever man I want. I think the real, overarching problem is that the decision-makers of our nation haven’t experienced the same types of oppression.
But for me, at the end of the day, it’s not about religion and it’s not about politics. People will try to make it about those things because they don’t understand it and because they then feel like they have control over something. They don’t understand not having those rights. I don’t understand not having those rights. What I do understand is seeing my best friend, who would do anything for me, not being able to have all the same advantages as me and then hearing people say terrible things about him and about others like him just because their preferences are different. To me, you have one life, and it’s spent — even from early childhood — learning about love. Love is the only reason for living and it’s what makes the world turn. Love for a spouse. Love for a child. Love for your passion in life. Simply, love of life. Why deny anyone the right to express love, especially if it really isn’t going to hurt anyone else? I don’t have all the answers, and I don’t pretend that I do. But I think that at the end of the day, all people are working towards a common goal. I think that everyone wants love in his or her life, whether it be romantically, platonically, or otherwise, and it is wrong to deny that most basic joy to anyone.