A Preamble [to a “book” I’ve been writing with a friend…a book I’ll hopefully be writing for many years to come]
I am many things. All sorts of things that sound caring and sweet. Cuddly even.
If I made a list, people would be terribly interested in becoming my new BFF. In fact, many scholars maintain that Paris Hilton’s show (throwback) was actually a spin-off of my life.
I really don’t mean to sound pompous, and perhaps this feather ruffling is just emotional recon for the pathetic state I was in yesterday after eating an entire box of Cheez-its, but the social subgroups that I subscribe to really make me quite agreeable.
For example, I’m liberal (in all things, but especially with ketchup). I don’t even really identify as democrat, which makes me even harder to hate. I also believe in “one love”. And I recycle. I use my turn signal. I survey the room for takers before taking a trip to the soda machine. I never call shotgun, I can tolerate all of your musical tastes, I never take the last bite and I rarely* generalize about people based on their political affiliation. I’m light on baggage. I always throw into the pot for whatever we’re buying. And I’m an ally.
And there. That’s the one. I don’t like the word ally. It’s not cuddly at all. It’s a wartime word and semantically jagged. It sounds like I’m stowing away in the dark of night to a dressing room at Saks 5th, where an army of gays lies waiting to develop their next campaign against the straights. And that’s just not the truth. The gays don’t want to D-day the heterosexual way of life. They want to Pangea it. But, lets be honest, if Saks trenches were a real thing I would not be found sitting here writing a blog about semantics.
In any case, the word ally draws a distinction. And isn’t that just the problem? That we hope for no distinction? That we hope to wake up on the weekend, head out to our respective places of worship (be it Temple, the bar, Kingdom Hall, or what have you) and pass by a couple and think, just only, “Oh hey. There are some people.” Of course we aren’t there yet. I know us proud mama “allies” still get all misty when we see a happy gay couple making out next to the Krispy Kreme. (Partly because of the obesity epidemic but mostly because we’re proud of their pride.) It’s disappointing that we need to be proud of their pride. But we do, for momentum’s sake.
What I mean to say, is that with the word “ally” there’s a distinction between gay, straight, transgender, bi-curious, and Curious George (though I really should leave animals out of this so as not to perpetuate the assumption that when every Tom and Dick get married, there will be a Harry that runs off with an antelope).
I don’t need the distinction. I’m happy to subscribe to it for what it’s worth, but I don’t need it. And based on the social media viral outbreak of equality signs, we are all a little closer to not needing it either.
You see, my mom taught me never to get into cars with strangers and I have taken the liberty to apply that to wheel barrels and bandwagons as well. But when I woke up to pink and red equal signs having conversations with each other on Facebook, I jumped in without questions. This symbolic viral epidemic didn’t use words to define it. With it, you don’t need to reveal why you’ve decided to be supportive or how it applies to your life or your family. No one red quadrilateral means more than another. They are all, mind the pun, equally supportive. And if nothing else comes from today except a million and a half social media users changing their icon to represent equality, that’s okay, because we did it together.
Now, I’ll keep the word ally. At least until we don’t need to use it anymore. But I’m ready to move past it. I don’t need to you to know my sexuality. I don’t need to let you know that I’m an ally. Same as I don’t need you declare that you’re gay or lesbian. Or transgender. Or bisexual. Or whatever else you fancy. Unless it’s relevant to the situation or you would like to distinguish, I don’t need to know. Same as I don’t need to know how you take your coffee, unless I’m fetching you some, it doesn’t change anything. Not for me.
I only ask that you let me know you’re a person.
(Mostly because I’ve never been friends with a robot before and I would really like to bump you up in priority if it’s on the table)
*When I say rarely do I generalize, I must add that I have been known to OCCASIONALLY be a mudslinger after a glass of wine. OCCASIONALLY.