National Coming Out Day

Today is National Coming Out Day, not to be confused with Columbus, or “National Coming Over” Day.

I’ve generally made it clear that Miss Conduct is a gay ally. But I haven’t ever come straight out and said it. So today, I am coming out as an unapologetic ally. I am in favor of gay rights and gay marriage and the full equality of gay folk everywhere. And I’m sorry if, at any point, I’ve let my commitment to diversity and politeness ever mask the strength of that conviction.

Because I think it has. I’ve tried to respect other people’s discomfort around gay rights. But I can’t bring myself to get very concerned about that these days. Here’s the bottom line: I can’t respect any beliefs other than that of the full dignity and worth of gay people and their relationships. If you don’t believe in that, I can still respect your character, your sense of humor, your honesty, your generosity, whatever. But I am finished with trying to pretend as though the belief that homosexuality is wrong, or that gay people shouldn’t have full legal rights, is a different but reasonable perspective. It isn’t.

If you believe homosexuality is wrong, or are opposed to gay marriage,

… then you are the ones who have to explain the subtle difference between “not hating someone” and denying them their civil rights.

You are the ones who have to explain why violence bothers you less than the expressions of love and individuality that “provoke” it.

You are the ones who have to explain how giving one group of people their civil rights can hurt another group.

You are the ones who have to explain why your personal religion or morality should be the law, and mine should not.

You are the ones who have to explain what, exactly, gay people are supposed to do under your system. Lie about “roommates”? Be celibate for life? Make a genuine mockery of marriage by marrying a beard — or an unsuspecting and in-love straight person?

It is the person who is making the extraordinary claim who needs to produce extraordinary evidence. I’m not going to pretend that the claim of gay equality is the extraordinary one anymore. Those who deny it are the ones who are making the extraordinary claims, not me. They are the ones who have to explain themselves.

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