Tepid Is As Tepid Does
I do appreciate folks who all ally themselves with LGBT folks. I think that it’s wonderful that so many non-LGBT people have come to support our causes. I also think it’s great that a number of unrelated or indirectly related causes have come to the support of LGBT people (e.g. agnosticism, atheism, feminism, humanism, progressive churches, etc.). Nevertheless—and I know you can hear the “but” in my words—there are few things that people might want to consider when coming to LGBT folks’ defense. The following things are not terribly helpful:
1) Comparing homosexuality to an unrelated activity that you personally disapprove of but do not see as a valid basis for discrimination or legal repression. (If you compare homosexuality to abortion and you also imply that you’re one of those folks who finds abortion to be an upsetting but legally justifiable activity, you shouldn’t be too surprised if a number of LGB folks get up and leave the room.)**
2) Classifying homosexuality as a randomly occurring phenomena that must be tolerated simply because the occurrence of such things are beyond human control. (If you think “shit happens” provides a decent analogy for LGB folk’s existence, you’re probably doing something wrong.)
3) Stating that even though you support LGB folks, you’d rather that people be straight.
Don’t be surprised if you find that LGB folks become a wee bit annoyed after you say things like this.
Just to be clear, who I fall in love with isn’t an unfortunate, random, unavoidable flaw in character that should be tolerated because it can’t be avoided. It’s nice that you wouldn’t want folks to discriminate against me, but wishing that I’d fall in love with men instead of women is a pretty half-hearted level of support. My love for another human being is not substandard to yours. If that’s what you truly feel, in your heart of hearts, then I have great difficulty in thinking of you as an ally. You are, perhaps, a fair-weather friend but beyond that, I’m not so certain I can trust you.
There is a difference between tolerance and acceptance. One can tolerate the presence of another person who is different in some way but still see the other’s difference as an unfortunate happenstance. Acceptance occurs when one sees another human’s life and their ways of being as equally valid, regardless of the differences that may exist.
**Please Note: For the record, I am pro-choice and I place no judgment upon women who decide to terminate a pregnancy.