Below a diary sometime back, I made a comment that I phrased badly, and it inflamed some people (rightly). Here it is:
“The comments from older gay people interest me. I have come to the conclusion that older gay folks are less concerned because (a) they've weathered the storm; and (b) their generation is accustomed to debasing themselves for other people's comfort, so the fact that a 'friend' would do things in the public sphere to subvert their civil rights is overlookable.”
I'd like to share backstory, and apologize for painting with a broad brush.
That comment came from a sore spot in our personal marriage equality battle. It's entirely personal experience, and many of the examples cited by responses are totally correct.
First, my parents. No, they're not gay. At least, they haven't openly, directly stated non-straight sexuality, but then, that's another story. They live in Sun City, Arizona: old-white-people-ville. They know other people in Sun City, and actually have gay friends. Just a month after attending our wedding, my parents told my husband and me that we could attend Thanksgiving, but only if we didn't act like a couple in front of the kids. Naturally, we had a serious problem with this, and have parted ways with my parents in the ensuing months as they have refused to acknowledge the multiple levels of wrong in this. One of their reasonings for this was, “We've talked to all our gay friends about this, and they just don't see a problem.” This doesn't surprise me. It was factor one.
Factor two comes from our own friends. My husband and I have gay friends ranging in age from their early 20s to their early 60s (most of the older crowd his friends prior to our relationship, all of those gay men). Those younger than us seem keenly tuned in to the marriage equality battle; few of those older than us seem to care. When we married, they were nonchalant or even negative. When things went wrong in California, they yawned and had another cocktail. We do know one couple about ten years our senior who married in California, too, much to our surprise — but that's it. We even find it strange that no one seems to care among his friends, except in perhaps the most cursory of ways. The friends we have who are deeply engaged in the fight and strongly supportive of us are either younger gay folks, or (mostly) straight friends.
What I did badly was make a bitter comment which I didn't qualify. I know there's lots of older folks who care and have been fighting the fight — we've met many, were married by one, and cried our way down highway 101 as we listened to the news conference on the radio after Del & Phyllis got married in June. And I don't mean to discount all of those people who've come and gone before us to fight for our right to be where we are now.
We're coming to the conclusion that we probably just don't know the right people. 🙂
So — to those I offended, I'm sorry. Please accept my apology, and know that I'm proud to fight alongside you, and sorry I insulted you.