The other day, I read on the net that a person born a male who had undergone a sex change operation and was now a female, was denied admission to a beauty pageant because she had been born a male. (She has since been granted admission.)
Putting aside the issue of why any intelligent person would want to compete in a so-called “beauty pageant”, it reminded me of Sylvia. Of course, Sylvia is not her real name. I first met Sylvia when she came into my law office. She had been forced to initiate a law suit over a wrongful termination. During our conversation, she reluctantly admitted she was a lesbian. I assured her that should make no difference in her claim since that was not the reason for her termination and, in fact, when we later settled the case to her satisfaction, my assumption in that regard proved correct.
During the course of representing her, we became friends and she later became the best doctor I’ve had to date. She also became Kathy’s doctor and until her retirement, she consistently gave us sound and professional medical advice and treatment.
I’ve had other friends who were “gay”. What I verified is that people with different sexual orientations are no different than you and I (assuming you’re not gay). While sex is an important aspect in most of our lives, it seldom alone defines who we are as people. My gay friends have consistently proven to be no different than anyone else in our society. They have the same fears, the same joys, the same problems, disappointments and triumphs in their lives as we so-called “straight” people do.
There are religions that maintain that if you do not believe as they do, you’re going to Hell in a hand basket. Since I am not a member of those religions, that means me. I can live with that possibility because I believe that if there really is a God, she has to be more tolerant than some of her disciples. I continue to believe as fervently as my friends who are members of such religions that if a person lives a moral life and treats people with deference and respect, they’ll make the promised land if there is one.
I don’t ask my religious friends to change their beliefs; I only ask that they concede they could be wrong and that they give good people the benefit of the doubt by respecting and celebrating their differences, not condemning them for those differences.