Living Our Lives

Surrounded by friends, living our lives in Wichita.

I’m often asked why I write this column. After all, if gays want the same respect as everyone else, why single ourselves out by spreading our “homosexual agenda”. Shouldn’t we just shut up and keep queerly quiet? The problem is that what one person calls an agenda, we call our lives. No one should ever feel like they can’t talk about their life.

Over the years, the gay rights movement has often been characterized by hyper-sexuality. It’s a casualty of a cause that came to light in the heyday of the sexual revolution. While Middle America has understandably reeled over unsettling images of semi-nude men marching in parades, actual gay and lesbians in places like Kansas have focused on the throes of their ordinary, daily lives.  As certain politicians warn of radical plans to redefine marriage and as some preachers caution their congregations against accepting a “destructive lifestyle”, we’re all just trying to find a place in the communities we live. We can’t change the past, but we can create a better future. The fact is, most of us would rather have a life full of meaning and connection than a plastic, semi-pornographic existence.

Our lives are not any different than those lived by straight people; the problem is that if we don’t talk about them, people will assume that they are. “Talking about our lives” simply means we don’t change names or pronouns when describing who we went to the movies with. It means we don’t pretend to be single when we’re dating a person of the same sex. It means our relationships don’t have to be hidden from colleagues, friends, and family members. It means we as individuals don’t have to feel shame by or separation from the general populous. It means we can have a holistic, honest existence. Agendas are doctrines with systematic ways of achieving goals and objectives. Lives are adventures with indelible experiences and unexpected turns.  We all deserve to have the ability to live them to the fullest.

Some people have a problem with this, though. When we step out to be leaders within our cities or towns we’re sometimes accused of trying to promote maleficent schemes. The fact is, those of us who teach school just want to educate kids. Those of us in the medical field just want to aid people who suffer. Those of us who lead community groups just want a better city. Doing what you’re called to do and being surrounded by the people you love is what life is all about.  There’s nothing radical about that.

One day, we will live in a world where differences don’t matter. As we progress toward that day, though, it’s important that we have an open dialogue. The most basic way to do that is simply to be you.  Don’t be fool into thinking tacit tolerance via a request for silence is an authentic form of acceptance. It’s little more than a convenient way for people uncomfortable with us to not have to deal with their own uncomfortability. Straight or gay, our only agenda should be living our lives as full and as honest as possible.