Crimes of Ignorance Part 1: Gay & Transgender Discrimination

The first gay person I ever knew was a guy named Donny Marks. He lived down the street from me in Fort Erie and he and my mother were really good friends.
Donny was a kind, gentle soul. He worked in an office somewhere and was obviously successful because he dressed really well and drove a red 1957 Chevy BelAir convertible, which he kept in pristine condition and was considered to be the coolest car in town.
When I was a kid in the fifties, we didn’t know anything about gay people. In fact, it wasn’t until many years later that I found out that Donny was gay. I never saw him with another man. But he did travel to Buffalo a lot. Sometimes he would even give me and my pal Jim DeBeau a ride to the downtown bus station billiard hall, where we would relieve unsuspecting Americans of their currency playing eight ball.
Donny’s sexual orientation was never a point of discussion with me and my friends. He was always just considered a happy bachelor, the kind of life that many of us would have wished for ourselves.
I guess I should have known something was up with Donny, because he had effeminate hand gestures and genuine lilt to his voice. But back then we didn’t really have a concept of gay, even though there were some incidents here and there. We just wrote them off as gossip.
The bottom line is that I grew up with no anti-gay predisposition, and so as I got older and started encountering openly gay people, it never occurred to me to hate or fear them. In my mind, they were all just variations on Donny Marks. And there was nothing wrong with that.

Cut To Today

Homophobia abounds in today’s world. And you can trace the roots of most of it back to the Bible, or should I say, a certain interpretation of certain parts of the Bible, that very much appear to make homosexuality some sort of heinous sin.
All over the world, gay and transgender people are being discriminated against, terrorized and in a number of countries even imprisoned or put to death simply for loving a person of the same gender.
I don’t understand this, because in point of fact, being gay or being a transgender person isn’t really a choice that you make in life. It’s very much a part of your genetic situation.
But for a roll of the genetic dice, any of us could be gay or lesbian or transgender. It’s all a crapshoot, and so to discriminate or hate or resent a person for being that way is really the height of ignorance in many societies, including our own.
Somehow a lot of misinformation about gay and transgender states of being has found its way into the laws of various lands. This is mostly the work of religious bigots and politicians who are using a highly questionable source (the Bible) as the basis for the opinions they form about people who are not classically heterosexual.
In point of fact, it’s really quite possible that we all possess the ability to become attracted to someone of the same gender, just as we all wonder from time to time, what it would be like to be a woman if we are a man and vice versa.

At The End Of The Day

There is only one reality. And that is based on what we know and can prove scientifically about how we are made.
Our genetic code is unique to us, and if we have a gene or two that predisposes us toward a certain type of behavior: sexual, emotional, criminal, intellectual, or physical, it’s way too simplistic to write that off to choices that we make.
Only terribly ignorant and bigoted people do this sort of thing.
By the same token, you might argue that these bigots could be genetically disposed to behaving that way, although many psychologists believe that bigotry and hatred are ‘learned’ behaviors and mostly confined to the weak-minded.

Donny Marks Was A Good Human Being

Donny was always kind and good and generous to people. I can’t imagine how very hard it must have been for him to be the way he was, because back then, when gay people were all very much ‘in the closet’.
Gay and transgender people have come a long way in terms of coming out and being accepted by a great many in our society in Canada and in many other progressive countries.
But, as we can clearly see, gay and transgender discrimination and persecution still runs rampant, in the US and in many countries around the world run by right wing governments and the bigots who empower them.
These people, I am sad to say have yet to enter even the 20th century let alone the 21st, in their thinking.
My sister calls this a symptom of the last dying gasp of the bigoted old white guys.
And I really can’t disagree. And frankly, I can hardly wait for them to all die out.

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All content Copyright 2017 Jim Murray Onwords & Upwords Inc.


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