Monday, June 2, 2008

The Lump in My Throat

The postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies or opinions.

...Is From Considering Human Potential, Yearning for Fulfillment

Pat and I just watched an episode of "Cold Case," which was repeated from November, 2007, when we were living in India. The case this time featured Sam(antha), a gay young man trapped in a young woman's 1963. You can guess the tragic ending.

This weekend, I read a "New York Times" article by Kenji Yoshino, which ended with, "If more straights could come to see marriage as a universal right that belongs to all human beings, that would, indeed, be a convergence of interest." After quoting the line, I told Pat bitterly, "Yeah, but first, we need to be acknowledged as human!"

During the same weekend, I read a marvelously hopeful article in the same newspaper, about how New York's Governor Patterson:
...said he does not see his support for gay marriage as an issue of political fortitude, but rather something more human and almost reflexive.

“All the time when I’d hear Uncle Stanley and Uncle Ronald and my parents talk, they were talking about the civil rights struggle,” Mr. Paterson said. “In those days, I knew I wanted to grow up and feel that I could change something.”

In our gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) community database at work, a colleague referred to the article and wrote simply, "Visibility does matter."

Visibility Or Why I Blog

It does. When self-consciousness invades this blog, it's usually around worrying that the blog reveals my self-absorption or that it's too single-mindedly heralding of GLBT/LGBT/lesbian/or Jewish themes. On a good day, like today, I feel encouraged by my colleague's point, that visibility matters.

Thinking relatively, or at all, how many visible champions of Jewish lesbians -- or of any sort of GLBT people -- are there in the world? If not me, who? If not now, when?

Last week, a friend and colleague responded, "You're passionate about ensuring equality for gay people --"

"I'm passionate about ensuring inclusion of *all* people, including GLBT people," I answered, perhaps a bit sharply or more defensively than I wanted to do. That's not the sort of visibility I'm going for. When I'm an effective ambassador, I am loving and disarming, not at all shrill.

Human Potential Or Potentially Human

Before gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people can reach our human potential, we need to help non-GLBT people recognize and acknowledge our humanity. As a human being, all I want is to be able to relate to other people, and for them to relate to me. For me, I aspire for that to happen least shyly through my writing.

Considering what I blogged last night, particularly the last several lines of the entry, I hope that a number of people could relate to feeling awkward during their teenage years, no matter their sexual orientation.

An extremely differently-abled, heterosexual colleague said to me several years ago, referring to my atypical sexual orientation and his extraordinary disability, "When you and I 'walk' into a room, it's our job to make people comfortable with us."

It made sense to me, even as a lesbian colleague commented in response, "Isn't that everyone's job?"

Still, I knew what he meant because had I never been acquainted with him, I'm not sure that people with severe, visible disabilities would have seemed as human to me as they did after he helped me regard them by his example, by letting me get to know him. Instead, they would have just frightened me by their difference, and remained abstract concepts. Yes, I've just written that. And it ought to mortify me, but instead, it just gives me empathy for the people, who in their fear and ignorance, don't yet recognize GLBT people as fellow human beings. They haven't yet known any of us, and so God, please give me the energy to keep blogging my humanity two-three times a week, so that any of them might know at least one of us. Amen.

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