It can be quite a difficult thing, equality.
Because it suggests that things are, well… equal.
One thing that always challenged equality when I was a kid was sharing. I was (and remain) good at sharing, however I’d often forget to include myself in the equation. I remember, or read about, the solution to this being that one sibling cuts up the item to be shared and then the other siblings can select their sections of the thing to be shared first. This works well with things like cake or chocolate; less effective when it comes to pets or clothing.
It’s Tuesday and I think it’s Monday, or Wednesday. For some reason my brain won’t accept that it is Tuesday. Maybe I had something I was meant to do today, which I have forgotten about. Very likely. We’ve got one of those trashy magazine shows that try to present as news on in the background, and I’ve just realised the story is about farmers wanting wives. The same television channel is also screening a series at the moment that takes two strangers, applies a heap of psychology and crossed fingers, and marries up two strangers.
Now, this blog post isn’t going to be another one of those “let me and my beloved get married”. I’m not questioning the sanctity of the marriage that is being protected. I’m not challenging the validity of these weddings, nor am I asserting the validity of long term, committed relationships between people of the same sex.
What I am writing about is that feeling. That feeling you get when someone says or shares or posts something on social media that applies to you, and your gut just drops and your heart speeds up and you feel a little bit targeted. And you want to rant and point and yell UNJUST or explain that you’re not a criminal and you’re not the same as a paedophile or a bigamist, and you just want to marry the woman you love, even though you’re a woman too. You want to arc up, and say that letting people of the same sex get married is IN NO WAY the same same as allowing an adult who is sexually attracted to a child to marry.
One is a crime. The other is not.
And I’m fed up of being made to feel like I am committing a crime, simply by loving.
Here’s a quote from a particular post that was shared. In this section, the writer is answering the question “What is the point of marriage?”. Strap yourself in:
Did you get that? Marriage is to breed, care for kids, be faithful, and protect women and kids from men, who like to have sex without consequences. Gay people can’t make babies or commit to each other, therefore shouldn’t be allowed to marry.
The person who wrote this is male. Apparently, women and children need to be protected from him. This creates in me some concern, especially given he lives local to me, and has regular access to women and kids via his church, his daughters and their children. The original post was shared many times, and I found myself reading it one morning last week while I was on my nebuliser. Shared by one of my friends.
So we come to point of this particular post.
I’m all for having different opinions and views and ideas and beliefs.
But I’m also in favour of sharing them respectfully.
I know that people tend to have extreme views when it comes to marriage equality. You’re either for it or against it. You either think it’s no big deal, or that it will result in an increase in paedophilia or beastiality.
But I can say that I have never shared or written a post that has targeted people who think differently to me regarding the issue. I have never likened them to sex offenders. I have never questioned their ability to be faithful, or to parent, or to love. I’ve treated them with respect.
Because we are in a world that needs more respect.
Over the weekend, a mate of mine was bashed by eight males. My friend was targeted because he is gay. Again, local.
So, I choose to act in ways, including on social media, that doesn’t stir up hatred or discrimination or dissension. That could be because I’m a decent person.
Give it a go. It’s not hard. It revolves around thinking about someone other than yourself for five minutes. And you just might find that presenting your opinion in a respectful way actually adds credit to your opinion. Makes people want to consider the content you are trying to present.
But if that does prove to be too hard? I’m still going to feel hurt. And I have a hunch others will, too. So try this method: