Pride Month Post VI: Make It Personal.
Several years back, I had a conversation with a colleague and friend, let’s name him Jim, regarding gay marriage.
His POV? Civil unions, fine. But marriage is for straight people. Cuz that’s how it’s always been, of course. And maybe some Bible stuff too. Let the gays find their own word for it. Hell, we make up words all the time, so, no worries, right? And, bee tee dubs, he has nothing against the gays. In case you were wondering.
This conversation happened literally months after my first lil same-sex encounter (yes, let’s call it that). Although I’d argued about gay rights with people before, this time? I was shaking by the end of it (while still trying to force outward composure so he wouldn’t wonder what the hell was wrong with me… oh yeah, I hadn’t come out, to anyone, just yet, so not really a conversation I was ready to have.)
Fast forward to, oh, this past winter.
You know, as an aside, I probably shouldn’t be on things like facebook. I don’t think I take them seriously enough. I tend to believe people don’t give too much of a shit what I’m up to. They have their own lives. In, you know, real life. That isn’t on the interwebs. Says the girl with an anonymous blog, fake twitter page, and two (count ’em) FB accounts.
I also tend to forget I am FB friends with… certain people. Hence my near-panic recently when I posted on a then-upcoming burlesque show on my regular FB page, not my burlesque one. And, two hours later, remembered that I have a burlesque page for. a. reason.
But I digress. Needless to say, I am FB friends with my previously-mentioned colleague/friend, Jim-bo. But. I’ve never come out to him. Frankly, I didn’t find it something that needed to be done, as I don’t ask him about his personal life. I don’t expect my straight friends to explain to anyone about their sex lives and intimate relationships, so why should I?
Anyhoo. Where was I? Oh yes. It’s winter (oh thank god it’s not really). I found this freakin awesome lil vid (“What Bisexuality is Not”) done by a woman named Amanda of “She’s So Mickey” (you can follow her on twitter or check out her blog on youtube). As I sometimes do with awesome things I find, I plastered it right on up there on my FB page, with the headline: “I love this today.” Or something along those lines.
Couple hours later. Jim stops by my office.
“Hey [Nik]. I just wanted to come by and tell you… You know, I don’t know about you or your preferences. That’s your personal life, that’s fine. But… I just wanted you to know, I just sent out letters supporting Gay-Straight Alliances in high schools out in [a state] and in favor of marriage equality in [his state].
I wanted to do that… I did that for you.”
I think it’s often we forget the most effective way to get through to someone. It’s not through a better argument, better evidence, more scientific proof. It’s not by de-bunking their views on a religious text, or what our forefathers thought about, or where church ends and school begins.
It’s not in figuring out to prove you’re right and they’re wrong. That isn’t what wins people over, most of the time (and, let’s be honest, sometimes people aren’t going to listen to you spewing all that rational thought).
What makes the strongest arguments, what speaks the loudest with words that are the most difficult to ignore, is when you make it personal.
We do well to remember that.