Gay has two main meanings as far as I can work out. Indeed, really probably only one for most people these days. Today's blog, deals with both meanings of the word. Firstly, let's deal with meaning 1, and the most commonly used meaning of the word these days. I have watched with a mix of distress and joy the debate going on around the idea of same sex marriage. Firstly, what an amazing ride this week when the bill before parliament around this issue was passed in its first reading and sent to select committee. For it to pass by such a majority was amazing, although, I still fear that while it is easy to vote for it in its first reading, that the vote to pass it into law will be a lot closer. Also, what will the select committee stage do to the ideal of the bill? I guess we wait and see.
What I do find sad is that we are even needing to have the debate. I can see no reason on earth why a same sex couple should not be allowed to marry. Arguments about the sanctity of marriage and it being a "god given contract" between a man and a women are outdated and just wrong. Marriage as an institution was invented by humans to create stability and control in the way people related to each other and indeed how land passed from one generation to another. Link this with the desire of some early communities to ensure that they reproduced and did not die out, and you have the perfect reason to limit "relationships" to a man and a woman. Dying out through lack of reproduction is something the human race does NOT need to worry about. Indeed, if we are wiped off the face of the earth, it won't be because of this, or because of a vengeful god. It will be because we have shamelessly exploited the planet and bred far to much and too quickly in some idiotic belief that we can do whatever we like and we will find a way to make it all work because we are humans. We have got too good at keeping people alive. If god does exist, and I am on record as having many doubts, then god wants people to be happy and fulfilled and kind. Plain and simple, I cannot see anything else.
This brings me to two documentaries I have watched recently. The first was on the Bear Community in America and worldwide. Bear Nation is a lovely exploration not only of the "hairy men" of the gay community, but also those who are attracted to them and their struggles for identity within the more commonly portrayed flamboyant and hairless gay community. I found it touching and interesting. I followed this movie up with its predecessor which was a move called Small Town Gay Bar. This is a much more confronting documentary about the joy, challenges and sadness of the small gay communities in the deep south, bible belt of America. That "gay bars" exist is in itself somewhat of a miracle down there and it was interesting to see the communities around them. Some very accepting and some very much not so. The documentary goes from a lot of joy (and I will admit, some of it is cringeworthy) to profound sadness in dealing with the brutal murder of a young gay boy. Of course, Westbro gets its look in and the hatred they spread and preach is sickening. However, the documentary leaves you with a sense of hope, even tinged with sadness, at the reopening of a closed bar in rural Mississippi. How someone, even has the guts to be openly gay in rural Mississippi I have no idea, but they do and it made me feel sad and happy all at once.
So why am I writing all this down? I am writing all this down, as I want to be on record as to how I feel about the hatred that we still in 2012, allow to perpetuate on this planet. I am writing this down, so even in my small corner of the internet, which I am sure only 2 people will read if I am lucky, I can state my support of the gay, lesbian and transgender communities. I hope that before my heart beats its last beat in my chest, the world might be some way closer to accepting these communities and they be allowed to live openly and express their love for one another as they choose and where they choose. I hope, that the bigots, the ignorant and the darn right evil people, who preach a message of hate, will become the social pariahs they deserve to be. I hope that marriage will be open and available to all.
Now to the second form of gay. Gay for happy. I have recently begun learning New Zealand Sign Language and I am loving it. Now in week 7, I am able to hold basic but reasonable conversations with people in this language and frankly, I am getting so much joy from the learning and the interaction. Yesterday, I attended a 2 hour Deaf Coffee Club at the Auckland Deaf Society and it was amazing. I was actually quite scared to turn up. I was unsure what it would be like. Would it be full of really proficient people and I would I be the idiot who could barely communicate? Would I be ignored by a whole bunch of people who did not care to talk with a newcomer?
Well it was anything but and indeed there is a huge lesson in just that for me. There were only four of us there, all hearing and learning. Two Deaf tutors were with us and we played a charade bingo in NZSL and then had coffee and conversation for the next hour. I found it incredibly affirming to be able to converse with and understand 5 people all talking in NZSL. It has fuelled my thirst for more and I am profoundly happy that I went yesterday and am learning the language. So! I am gay, I am happy.
Two bring this blog to a close, love and support everybody. Be happy people! Learn!