*Editor’s note: Debra is on vacation. This column first ran in 2004.
So gay marriage has everyone wringing their hands these days. You’d think we’d have more important things to worry about, things that actually affect us. Like the economy, or soldiers dying in Iraq, or the environment, or the outsourcing of jobs, or the employment of illegal aliens, or the erosion of civil rights, or a trillion dollar deficit, or or or.
Must be an election year.
What’s the fuss? Gays are no more gay with rings on their fingers than they are without. They’re not doing anything after saying “I do” that they weren’t doing before. Oh, I know, it’s that horrible “gay agenda” that has everyone tweaked: going to work, paying their bills, walking their dogs. Just living their lives in peace. Scary stuff, there.
Gay couples are consenting adults and what consenting adults do behind closed doors is nobody else’s business. Period.
Actually, it isn’t gay marriage that’s the issue. It’s homosexuality itself. It terrifies the homophobes. But why? It’s not like you can catch gay from someone. You can no sooner catch gay than you can catch blond.
The real underlying fear of every homophobe is his or her own urges. Because, face it, everyone has thought about being with someone of the same sex at some point. Maybe it was a fleeting moment in high school gym class or maybe it sprang from your subconscious in a dream, but somewhere, sometime, you wondered. And either you shrugged it off, or decided to act upon it, or ran screaming from your own self. It’s the latter who are out there picketing against gay marriage.
Get over it, people. Thinking a homosexual thought no more makes you gay than thinking about being a butterfly will make you sprout wings and antennae. You can relax. It’s not like straights and gays are separate species. We all fall somewhere on the same sexuality spectrum, homo at one end, hetero at the other. It’s not black and white, it’s shades of gray. And we’ve all had homosexual thoughts at some point in time.
Me? Of course I’ve thought about it. And concluded I’d make a very bad lesbian. For one thing, women lack that one male physical attribute that drives me wild.
It’s chest hair, guys. Get your minds out of the gutter.
For another thing, the thought of living with another woman is highly unappealing. The castle ain’t big enough for two princesses, and I ain’t sharing the tiara. And PMS in stereo? I’ve got enough trouble dealing with my own. Go find your own chocolate.
Another reason I’d fail as a lesbian is that I wouldn’t want anything to do with the earthy mama with the bad haircut and Birkenstocks. Oh hell no, I’d want Catherine Zeta Jones. In a short black dress and stilettos.
Yes, I’d switch teams for Catherine Z-J. On the other hand, show me George Clooney in jeans and a T-shirt, and Cathy’d get kicked to the curb faster than you can say “and all that jazz.”
On a purely recreational level, I could comprehend experimenting with another woman, like trying hang-gliding. Given the right set of circumstances, it’s not outside the realm of possibility. But it would require a hot tub and a lot of tequila.
Intellectually, I can imagine it. But not emotionally. Having a romantic relationship? Kissing another woman? Well, no offense to gay readers, but I must be honest: the thought gives me a shiver of revulsion, like eating escargot. I’m just not doin’ it.
On the other hand, I totally respect anyone else’s right to eat escargot. Knock yourselves out. Escargot lovers don’t bother me one bit. Moreover, their penchant for escargot in no way demeans my love of calamari. It doesn’t make me love calamari any less. In fact, it just leaves more calamari for me. And everyone’s happy.
See, I just don’t have the gay gene. I don’t ignite for women. I like boys. I’m hard-wired that way. It isn’t a lifestyle. It’s what I am.
Knowing that, I can imagine how I’d feel if my innate attraction to males was labeled sinful and unacceptable. I can imagine what it would feel like to be told that I should just learn to be attracted to females. I understand the futility of that suggestion. I mean, if Catherine Z-J in stilettos can’t switch my circuits, no one can.
We’re naturally attracted to one sex or the other, for reasons we don’t even understand. I remember back in college, when my comparative psychology professor explained how homosexuality increases in seagull populations when the population becomes too dense. It’s a biological control. More homosexual couples means less offspring, which means enough food for all. The species survives. Homosexuality serves a purpose for the flock. The seagulls don’t understand this or fret over it. They just do it.
We can learn a lot from this. First, that homosexuality isn’t unnatural if it occurs in nature. Animals don’t have lifestyles. Animals just are. We also learn that no matter how many homosexual animals pair up, there’ll still be plenty of heterosexual couples around to keep the species going. When’s the last time you heard anyone worry about extinct seagulls?
We also observe that these hetero- and homo- sexual seagulls live peacefully, side by side. It’s no big deal. Nest with whomever you choose, just don’t steal my fish and we’ll get along just fine.
If only humans were as smart as seagulls.