I met my boyfriend Anthony about three-and-a-half years ago in a class called Writing the Dramatic Monologue. We both shared stories about being from the San Fernando Valley – typical stuff about driving around with our friends being reckless in the desolate suburban sprawl that houses about 1/3 of the city of Los Angeles. The Valley is so big that even though Anthony and I lived about 10 minutes’ drive from each other, we never met until college. We started talking a lot during class, and soon for long periods of time after class. Eventually, Anthony stopped bringing his bike to class with him so we could walk back towards our respective apartments together.
A few months later, after another night of talking until about three in the morning, we had our first kiss. A few weeks after that, we became a Facebook official couple, a designation created by Facebook to make it easier to establish that you are in fact dating. At the time, though out to our friends, Anthony and I had still not come out to our parents. I was 20, and he was 19. It marked the beginning of an extremely important time in both of our lives, during which we both decided that we were going to place all our bets on this whole “being gay” thing and hope for the best. In the years since then, our relationship has held strong across continents and coasts. Anthony is my best friend, the most important person to me in the world. I’ve gone through more with him than I ever would have been able to accomplish just on my own.
And that brings me to that fucking Macklemore song. The fact of the matter is, my love for Anthony is not the “same” as the love between heterosexual couples. It’s different – and that’s fine! Great, even! There are aspects of our relationship, like the experience of being there for each other when we came out to our families, which are not part of a heterosexual relationship. We still sometimes get weird looks when we’re out to dinner; we sometimes worry about holding hands on the street because the groups of people approaching us look a bit drunk and rowdy. And we live in Los Angeles, not Lynchburg.
I understand “Same Love” is meant to be a song about equality, and to a large extent I appreciate the role it has played in opening up the discussion about gay marriage and gay rights in general. That being said, why did it have to take a white guy with a furry collar and a past issue with sizzurp to get so many people on board? Why couldn’t the fact that Gandalf is gay have been a bigger part of the expansion of understanding? Or Ellen? Everyone loves Ellen! She’s super nice and friendly, and I doubt either of those have anything to do with how much she enjoys vagina. Instead there had to be a song that specifically outlines the idea that “gay people are just like us,” in order to really get the message out.
The issue is, gay people aren’t “just like” anyone. I am fully aware at my privilege to say so, but I find it very hard to be wiping away tears at the prospect of acceptance. Of course gay couples should be accepted – there is absolutely no opposing logic, scientific or otherwise, that any rational person can make for the contrary. I’m tired of helping along the unaccepting. They are free to accept or not accept whatever they please, just as I am free to think that people who disagree with gay marriage are largely closeted homos themselves who have tons of self-hate to deal with, or are people just grasping for something to argue against so that they can feel powerful when people respond to their comments on Internet message boards.
Ultimately all attention to this issue and promotion of the dialogue surrounding it is unequivocally good, so thank you Macklemore for that. And Ryan Lewis. You don’t speak much, but I like your suits. Let’s just all hope that instead of celebrating our similarities to straight culture, gay people might someday be able to embrace their differences, too.