Why the Tennessee “Discrimination” Law doesn’t matter.
I saw today at www.izzoiz.com a post about the Tennessee repeal of a “non-discrimination” law – and I commented there that it doesn’t make a difference. And I put this there:
“Izzo, this may sound weird — but don’t worry that there’s no “law” to ban “discrimination.” Our right to exist will be won in the hearts and minds of our fellow citizens through our demonstration that well, that we exist. I’m sure gay people in Tennessee have made enormous strides in this — without any laws whatsoever. Because we’ve proven whom we are. And albeit slowly, but with gathering speed, we have indeed ended much discrimination against us without any such laws whatsoever.”
But there’s more to it than that. Yes, I need non-discrimination based on whom I smooch, but I don’t want a law to say you must like me or mine. I want you to say you like me and respect me because you and I are both fellow citizens. And there’s a difference. I want to be respected for being me, not because some law says you have to pretend to respect me when you really don’t. I’d rather be your honest friend, than a faux one. And such discrimination laws do indeed set up the notion of forcing someone to like you, and worse, giving the aggrieved the right to sue someone for not liking you. And if one group in the nation gets this right than we all should get it, and then what? I have to hire a heterosexual anti-gay person in my gay bar because he’s protected from discrimination as much as I am by forcing him to hire me in his business? No, that is not good.
You know, I’ve been fired from four jobs for “being gay” and did I care? Nope. I got another job, and eventually started my own business, went freelance and made my money. That was in Louisiana, where I live now. I never experienced “discrimination” again since no one could fire me — I was my own boss. But I also owned companies where I had great glee in firing some cad of a hetero who was hit with a garnishment order for not paying child support. And I fired him just for that, and told him so. I didn’t care what he would do, I suppose he got another job. Perhaps he could have sued me, I’d have argued I fired him for being heterosexual, which is perfectly legal. On the other than, I’m also thinking gays are already covered under “marital status” and “creed” (which is “religious belief”) in these laws – and I’d argue that tooth and nail.
They say we can’t be married, and then well, so we’re single. Fine enough. Well I would think “marital status” covers “single” no? And so I’m already covered under Tennessee’s discrimination laws, and the USA’s too. And I’d argue that just like that – “you’re firing me because I’m single.” And not mention the gay thing at all. Let them stew in that for a while.
But I also had a most interesting job experience in New York City. In the decade of my 20s I worked for Al Esteban & Co, a “minority business enterprise.” Al was Puerto Rican, and took advantage of New York City’s set asides for MBEs in the printing trades. He got 10% or something of the city’s printing contracts because he was a minority, of course. Gays don’t really seek this, and it’s pointless really. But the funny thing is that Al hired me after I was recommended to him – and the man whom did the recommending made sure to tell Al – “Look, Jim is AC/DC, and is not quiet about it.” or something. But I was a damn good printer. So I was hired.
And all the other guys had pictures of scantily clad girls in their work areas, so I put up pictures of scantily clad guys. And let’s just say that folks were surprised, but I didn’t care. I argued on my right to do so just as they had the right to do – not because I was gay – but because the right to have pictures of one’s choice in one’s work area is universal, not reserved to heteros, and pictures were allowed under company policy since we were not a place people ever really came to. And I disabused them of the “AC/DC” nonsense, and corrected the man who said it, too. “Don’t ever say I’m AC again, I got a reputation to uphold.”
And over the years several things happened. One is, because I was good at my job no one much bothered me about anything there at Esteban’s. And I’m still loved there, for sure, 20 years after I left the company. One year, back then, the guys brought me a male manikin, as a joke “for a boyfriend,” they said. And the poor thing was a eunuch. So I mounted him on the wall, and put a sexy pair of bikini underwear on him, and then cut a mailing tube down to oh, 8 inches, and shoved it in his undies, and made a man out of him. And there he hung for a five or six years. Soon after he went up the Xerox machine repairman came by and said he would not work anymore on the machine because of the manikin. And Al called his boss and said – “I pay for a contract to repair the machine – repair it. It’s not your business whom I hire or what I allow them to put on the wall. And you will repair that machine or else.” And so Xerox sent over another repairman whom was a bit surprised when he came, and laughed, but didn’t care, because he had no issues with gay folks or the male body with a visible bulge.
We opened a new shop one year, and I was given my work area there, so I put up my pictures. And because my schedule was more flexible I was not there all day, but shortly after we opened I came to work and all the guys said “Oh, you’re not going to be happy.” “What?” “You’ll see.” And they waited, for they knew what would happen. And the new shop had a new manager, though he really wasn’t my direct boss. I noticed immediately that all my pictures had been taken down. And Rudy walked by and said “I took your pictures down blah blah blah…” and I said “Who the hell do you think you are? I’ll be back.” And he told me there was a job need done, and I said “I cannot work under these conditions.” So I went downstairs and bought some magazines, and came back up, and cut out the pictures, and taped them here and there, and said “Yes, now, Rudy, what is it that you wanted? But don’t ever take my pictures down again. Go talk to Al.” And Rudy did, and the pictures were never bothered again.
And I didn’t need a law for that. I didn’t have to appeal to a law, but merely my right to be me. And Al’s realization, and everyone else’s too, that it made no difference that I was gay – it was the printing I could do.
And too, my family doesn’t discriminate against me, nor my friends, nor 99% of the people I encounter everyday. I’m sure it’s pretty much the same with most gay guys. And no law is going to convince people to like you — it’s like the failed rapture people — no law nor reason can reach those sort of people. Who cares? Let them be, and show themselves to be fools.
I don’t need a “special” law that says “gays are protected” or something — I need adherence to the Declaration of Independence’s stark conclusion that “All men are endowed by their Creator … ” And in such lawsuits and arguments which may arise over gay folks’ lives I would always like to start with that — and if someone believes their Creator didn’t create gay people, too bad — my Creator did create gay people. And I’d argue that in court just like that. DOMA is wrong on that basis alone. I find our gay spokespeople to ignore this fundamental truth in their seeking our “rights” when I not only sought my rights myself, but achieved my pursuit of happiness, while steering clear of the morons. I think such laws argue by the rules of people whom no law would change their minds, rather than the rules of the nation. And we should tell them that, and hoist them by their own petards. You want the right to say “God Hates Fags”? Good, I want the right to say “God Loves Fags” Now let’s take that to court when something happens. But we don’t do that, it seems.
Nor do I need a law that says “a certain number of gay people need to be hired for fairness.” I think such laws are ridiculously stupid. The idea that you have to have 10% of your work force black merely because that’s their percentage in the population just denigrates blacks whom are hired for the color of their skin and not the content of their character. And for gay folks it’s not our skin color that’s the problem, but it is indeed what many still consider to be a major flaw in our character. And no law is going to change that. Nor is it really possible to combat it, and all it does is open up anti-gay heteros to lawsuits by gay folks who really suffered no harm. To not get a job, or even to be fired, is not getting harmed at all. No one gets every job they apply for for numerous reasons, and people are fired the same way too. And it’s their right to not have gay folks around them, and if they’re that crazed, why would gay folks want to be around them anyway? There’s plenty of gay friendly people. But let’s not force this on people whom are still dead set against us. There’s bigger fish to fry.
And the bigger fish is the Bill of Rights. This sets forth some rather plain injunctions, and yet, we don’t seem to use them, but argue over these other things like “discrimination.” I’m not even sure I know what that is. I know I discriminate against Asparagus, and thus the growers of it, but still, do they care?
None of the lawsuits I ever read mentions our right to be left alone. Nor our right to free exercise of our religion, or no religion. Or our free speech and right to assemble — yes, our right to assemble is why gay bar raids are unconstitutional, not because we’re gay and are some aggrieved minority in need of protection. I’m already protected — the right to assemble is universal, not reserved for heteros. But I don’t see that mentioned in our cases. I don’t know why.
Nor do I ever see much mention of our 2nd Amendment right to self-defense — I use it all the time when telling people to shove off or shut up. I’m not shy in exercising self-defense at all.
But our progress has come through one on one persuasion — and it always will. No law will change hearts and minds. And that change is what we’re seeking, and have won to a great degree.
When hetero people in Tennessee realize that we’re just us, as many must do already, then such laws will not be necessary anyway. And I’d rather make the leap into equal citizenship rather than the incremental step of being declared some misfit in need of protection and forcing someone to deal with me. And like I said, I’m already protected by what heteros are protected by. But I do love their faces when I tell them “I’m sorry, I don’t do business with your kind, I’m heterophobic.” Or “Get away from me you screaming hetero!”
I play on many a Tea Party website, and I’m quite clear about this to people, and they really don’t know what to say, for I quote them — don’t tread on me either. Instead they mumble that they don’t like gays, and I’m like — fine, you have the right to be an idiot, and I’m heterophobic like the next guy, but what does that have to do with taxes? And I’m not shy about saying “My God loves me, and He’s not happy with your God.” Which causes quite the ruckus. But I don’t need a law to say these things — I need gumption — and that I’ve got.
And I wish gay groups would get some gumption and stop trying to get us declared some aggrieved group in need of a special law to protect me from morons and appeal to the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights as written. We’re being denied status under these things, not because we don’t have some discrimination law to protect us.
Now, conversely, what the no-marriage people are saying, or whom I call the NO GAYS! Movement, is something else entirely. They are trying to pass laws against my exercise of rights. DOMA is against me, as much as they think “non-discrimination” laws are against them. And in a sense, they are very correct, and I point that out to them. And indeed, they insist I join their religion, and that I think as they do – that’s what’s wrong with them. They want me to “change,”and they have no right to do so. I don’t care if they like me, nope. And I don’t have to like them, and I don’t. But they insist I love them and their God, and that’s wrong. I’m sure that they’re trampling on my rights by demanding I “cure”myself of what they think ails me, just as I’m sure I trample on theirs when I say “like me or I’ll sue you.”
And I’d rather have a law that read – “no one shall compel any American to live the way another American wants them to, and no American shall compel any other American to belong to their church.” It’s sort of covered by the 1st Amendment, but I’d be for making that clearer – to stop the religious right’s assault on me – and that’s the argument I make. Not “protect” me from discrimination – but protect me from the imposition of a religion foreign to my beliefs. And there’s a difference. I don’t care if their religion hates my guts; I pity them, but I don’t care. It’s their demand I join their religion or else that angers me.
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