This won’t come as much of a surprise to our European visitors, but America is really, really conservative.
I mean, sure, there is such a thing as American liberalism, but even that skews to the right. American liberals want to change things, sure, but their idea of radical change is, you know, maybe be polite to each other? And possibly some tax dollars should fund some government programs, or something?
All of which is enough to drive the conservative end of our spectrum into a frothing frenzy, because the conservative end of our spectrum is somewhere to the right of Darth Vader. But even they talk about politeness and government spending.
Sometimes, if there weren’t a little (R.) or (D.) after a politician’s name it would be difficult to tell the two ideologies apart, and sometimes even then it is still difficult.
Because American politics is just very, very weird and it always has been.
I always promised myself that I would not use A+ as a political platform, and I am loathe to do it now. But I want to talk about something that actually connects in a very real way with the reason for A+’s existence.
Positivity is right there in our name. A+ was a place for positive thinking, asexual thinking, and thinking positively about sex and sexuality. We were founded as a place to talk about what does and doesn’t interest us, and why that might be. We were founded to listen to the observations of others, and to respectfully hear them and interact with them. We were meant to be a haven of free thought and free speech, a platform on which people from every walk of life or persuasion could come together and discuss what sexuality means and to celebrate the fact that there are many, many different ways to approach life, love and the pursuit of happiness. We were to be a place free from recrimination, a place where everybody could and should feel welcomed.
And recently a certain rhetoric has entered the American lexicon that isn’t just wrong, it is duplicitous and evil. A+ can’t just sit back and say nothing on the subject and still consider itself to be open and welcoming. I can’t just sit back and say nothing. So, I’m going to use this site as a place to make a personal statement, and also reiterate a central tenant upon which this site was founded:
Bigotry, of any kind, is wrong.
And the recent spate of so-called “Religious Freedom” laws ain’t nothing but bigotry with a nice-sounding name.
Now, whoa, whoa, wait! Was does "religious freedom" have to do with sexuality and asexuality?
Well, in the guise of “protecting freedom” states in the union have been codifying a right to discriminate against those with whom they disagree. Specifically, those who might be gay, or transgendered. This is not only undemocratic, it is the opposite of freedom and the opposite of religion.
For those of you who might have missed the memo, religious freedom laws are designed to keep those with sincerely held religious beliefs from being forced to observe anti-discrimination laws, as if not being mean to another human being for abstract and arbitrary reasons is the kind of thing that anyone should ever need to be “forced” to do. Currently, a staggering 21 states have some form of these laws which codify a lack of respect for someone else's rights under the guise of protecting religion -- a concept with is already protected by the central law of the land. Being gay or transgendered, however, isn't.
It is a shame that we apparently still need, even in this age of science fiction setting 2016, to remind certain people that is isn’t okay to discriminate. But these laws have only gone to show that not only are anti-discrimination laws still necessary, we apparently need to remind some people what discrimination actually is.
Demanding to see proof of gender before allowing another person to go potty is discriminatory. Demanding that someone marry the gender you think is acceptable before you will allow them into your place of business is discriminatory. Firing someone because of what they do with their genitalia with another, consenting adult on their own time is discriminatory.
Someone else merely existing and expecting you to treat them with dignity and respect is not discriminatory. It doesn’t matter how florid your prose gets, or how pretty your words are: if they place a burden on someone else to refrain from offending your sensibilities, what you are doing is the opposite of freedom and it is wrong.
Not only is it wrong, it is disingenuous and it is flat-out lying in an attempt to get your own way. It is self-centered, selfish and borderline sociopathic.
If you are genuinely afraid of the concept of a transgendered person entering the same bathroom as you, first of all, I'm embarrassed for you, because dollars to donuts, it has already happened and the skies were not rent in twain and you felt no disturbance in the force. Second of all, you are placing your own concerns before anyone else’s, and that is explicitly anti-Christian. If you are worried that having to acknowledge someone else’s chosen partner for fear of betraying your principals, you already have betrayed them.
In a very real sense, these laws are not only an attack on vulnerable members of society, they are also a very real attack of the very concept of the religion they are purported to protect.
They are wrong thinking, wrong minded and they have no place in a mature society.
A+’s position is simply this: everyone, live your lives, enjoy your lives and worry about your owned damned selves. If there truly is a God, she will sort all of this out in her own time. And if you trust in the idea so much, you should believe that more than I do. Because my idea of a god would have already jumped down your collective throats for being such bigots in the first place.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Having grown up in Texas, I’ve known my fair share of bigots and none of them –- not a single, solitary one –- are “bigots”. It is a very easy trap to fall into. Other people are bigots. I just have “sincerely held beliefs.” Congratulations. You just missed the point.
Let me put this another way: we all have a strong desire to have spaces wherein we feel safe and in which we can interact with those who are like us. This is inherently human, and there is nothing wrong with it.
But, think for a moment about what the phrase "people like us" really means to you. Does it mean white people? Christian people? Straight people? Asexual people? Because if it means anything other than “living and breathing human person”, you are a bigot.
What makes all of this so distressing, is that I have been cornered into making just such a statement before. In an episode that went down in AVEN history as “The Eye of Sauron Announcement”, the admod team posted a banner over every page of that site with a warning that any discriminatory speech –- including against sexuals –- would not be tolerated.
The backlash was fierce and immediate. And, naturally, no one who objected was in any way against sexual people, or any other kind of person, but how dare we? We dared because it was going on, right on those pages, and it sounded remarkably similar to what I’m hearing now from apologists for these laws.
“Why do those people have to go on about it?”
“Why can’t they just keep their mouths shut?”
“Why can’t they just let me be?”
“I have nothing against them, but I don’t want to have to hear about it!”
Here’s a newsflash for everyone: sexuality is an important thing. It is a very deep part of what makes a person a person. It is so deeply ingrained into our beings that it is a major thing that defines us.
We can no more be silent about it, or protect others from the reality of it than we can stop breathing, or eating.
And, yes, this extends to asexuality, too. It defines us, it puts our experiences in perspective. No, it is not everything about us. It might not even be the most important thing about us. But it is a very fundamental part of us.
Demanding that a sexual person just shut up about what gives their lives drive and meaning is simply not a realistic thing. Demanding that the transgendered just get over it (while demanding I.D. at the bathroom door) is also not realistic. Expecting a gay couple to continue to use the euphemistic phrases for their “special friends” until the end of time is just stupid.
The only kind of freedom is the ability to live one’s life without someone else demanding that their life is somehow more important than your honesty. Freedom is only freedom if applied to everyone, equally.
Otherwise, it is just anarchy by another name.