Three years ago, my partner & I released a book called "My Dangerous Commute: Witnessing Gay Marriage Rights Across America." We are soon going to re-release it; I am very proud of many of the insightful tidbits throughout. Something about this particular short chapter seems an appropriate reminder these days, so I wanted to share...
Chapter 22: "Layers of Shame"
My favorite camera cost about $20 through mail order. It’s made entirely of plastic. It has to be taped together to keep from falling apart in my hand. But it takes fantastic photographs. As my professor used to say, ‘A camera is just a sealed box that controls the flow of light.’ Any tool, through which we view the world, is like that. Whether it is the concept of current politics or the framework of our spiritual beliefs, or societal standards… the lenses through which we consider our surroundings are just that: lenses; filters. Whether we realize it or not.
Many within the LGBT community see the world in such a way. They’ve come to believe it’s not quite okay to hold hands in public, or that deep-down we are in fact sinners, or that we ought to remain somewhat invisible to spare the mainstream. To some degree, we’ve successfully internalized the prejudice. Note to those opposed to the gay lifestyle: Mission Accomplished.
Minorities do this to themselves, as do others who have felt less-than, or victimized or disempowered. It’s natural. And it can be silently unrecognized for lifetimes, like a thin haze in front of the eyes, virtually unseen. It can skew the way we interpret our own experience; our own reality. It can be passed down, through generations. And the result can be utterly detrimental, obviously, concerning the ability to envision a clear and justifiable reason for the desire for equality, fairness and non-discrimination. It can hinder an entire group’s collective ability to believe in itself.
Legalizing same-sex marriage presents the opportunity to heal at such a remarkable level, well below the surface. Individually and culturally. There are indeed broad implications.