Wednesday, January 5


Among the several meaningful discussions I had with family during the holidays, the one that stands out most is between me and my older, golden sister about the Republican Party and the gay issue. My sister and her ex-fighter-pilot-jock husband buried their oldest son several years ago. Mark was a gorgeous, sweet guy whom everyone loved and only the younger generation of our family (except for me and The Sage) came close to understanding. In his brief life he tried everything to fight his natural sexual orienttion, including living with girls (twice in his college years) only to discover that intentions just couldn't alter his essential self. Mark attempted suicide thrice in his late teens and early twenties because he wanted so badly to be "normal," but couldn't make it.

Mark finally, after the death of his second partner to AIDS, succumbed to the disease also (he'd been HIV positive for 12 years before being diagnosed with full-blown AIDS). His parents (my sister and brother-in-law) nursed him for more than a year before his death. As my sister and my three daughters and I one night in a girls-talk discussion agreed, Mark is an example of the contention that homosexuality is not a choice. There may be bisexuals who can find fulfillment with either sex, but for most of us romantic love and sexual fulfillment come in one gender package. Mark was like the rest of us average Americans -- patriotic (he was an ROTC officer in college), family-loving, success-oriented, and a CHRISTIAN. The church was no help to him -- it just told him he was a pervert in need of salvation, despite his childhood conversion, deep belief and trust in Jesus. His family, though loving, made it clear to him that he was considered a freak. Since his death his parents have been turned off by evangelical preachers and Republican spokespersons who condemn all gays as hedonists and self-lovers. You could never explain Mark by such labels. His parents switched churches from Southern Baptist to Methodist to escape such weekly condemnations of their beloved son, but still voted for Bush (enthusiastically!) in the presidential election. They admit that the Repug agenda against gays gives them pause, but after the pause they still go out and defend him.

Maybe the Mary Cheney issue backfired on gave Republicans like Dick Cheney and Alan Keyes, who virtually hid their gay chldren from public view, a "family tragedy" scenario that could be blamed on immoral Democrats for our amoral influence on American society. But do those people and parents like the Cheneys and Keyes really believe, like George W. Bush, that homosexuality is a "choice"?

Mark's parents don't.


Post a Comment

<< Home