The Freedom to Be You and Me and to Marry Whomever, in the 21st Century

June is Gay Pride Month. If you used the internet or watched television this week, you most likely know that New York City legally embraced gay and lesbian marriage. Evan Wolfson says in today’s article in the Huffington Post, “If it can happen in NYC….it can happen anywhere” – Freedom to Marry, Evan Wolfson

When I began this blog, I told myself, “Deb, do not talk about religion, God or politics.” You can see how far that little lecture went with me.

There’s a major change in what we think and value, as evidenced by so many changes happening in the world today. The American Psychiatric Diagnostic Manual is changing or eliminating altogether disorders that discriminate against certain populations in the country. And, NYC just embraced the freedom to be you and me and to marry whomever we wish. So, how can I ignore this very important topic?

I’m not clergy or a politician; I can however speak to the psychological features of discrimination. Discrimination begins as a mental act that sorts information into categories to help us survive.That’s a tiger for example; I’m a small human being. Better run! It’s our biology’s fight or flight response to threat. We teach children you live here, not there, so if they get lost, they can find their way home. Distinguishing between who we are and are not forms our identity and helps to keep us safe.

So, what’s the problem here? Many of our deeply held beliefs stem from early fears and trigger in us a survival response. If something comes along then that goes against our learning, we may feel threatened. You may not feel it directly, but the fear is there, moving you to hang on tightly to what you believe to protect your place in the world.

Discriminating then is a particular use of the mind that operates separate from intelligence, it can keep us stuck in time, and lead to decisions that ignore real-time data and lack understanding, compassion and charity.

I’m not telling you to forget who you are or to ignore your deep beliefs. I’m saying—examine them for their sense today. This is your right, your duty. Take yourself out of a time warp. Use your intelligence well and let your heart into the problem solving process.

What are your thoughts on this topic? Please share them.

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2 Responses to “The Freedom to Be You and Me and to Marry Whomever, in the 21st Century”

  1. avatar Anonymous says:

    Hi… I thought of this post when I was reading the news today. This is the quote that prompted my response "Mike Lupica, who also airs a radio show for ESPN, has gone to town attacking Tyree for his opinions on same-sex marriage. In a rambling column that takes no discomfort in directing a few jabs at the Catholic Church, joking that Dolan opposes same-sex marriage in New York because it will interfere with a promotion to Cardinal, Lupica asserts that a football player opposed to gay marriage must have played his career without a helmet." I asked myself why, even though homosexuals are winning their right to marry, even though it seems most of society has become accepting of them, why is it they cannot tolerate anyone whose opinion is different than theirs? The truth is that it seems as the rest of society has become more tolerant, they will not tolerate the dwindling numbers of those who still hold a divergent opinion. I find it interesting that with the tide turning in their favor that so many gay activists seem to hone in on the ever decreasing opposition. I do not feel threatened by those who think differently. I do not feel I must convince everyone to believe what I believe… nor do I feel it necessary to attack, demonize or destroy those who dare to disagree with me.My answer to this conundrum lies in what is the foundation of all law… natural law… it is the universal, inherent basis for determining the morality of human actions. It is based in human nature and aims at not only the preservation of the human race but also at harmony and cooperation necessary for the nurturing and stability of human society. I have come to believe that the anger directed at those who disagree is from the knowledge that it affirms something that they wish to escape. Even if every disagreeing person were wiped from the face of the earth there is no escape from the truth written in their bodies. Their physical reality cannot be silenced. It tells them what is natural and nominal.. What they strike out at is the affirmation of that which they already know by nature. I am sure some people will find what I just said "hateful" or "ignorant" but it isn't because it is not a judgement of a person but rather a judgement of the nature of some of the activities they engage in. Every human being regardless of their actions has an inherent dignity that must be acknowledged and respected. At the same time that does not mean that everything they do or say must be respected or endorsed by the rest of society.

  2. avatar Anonymous says:

    I mean natural law in the classical sense… Which is described as "a law whose content is set by nature and is thus universal and refers to the use of reason to analyze human nature and deduce binding rules of moral behavior". If one keeps in mind that all law is prejudicial to one extent or another I would think that natural law would be the best foundation for the basis of "common" law since it is grounded in human nature. Classical philosophers accepted that a good human life is a life in accordance with nature. Human nature is not limited to just how we think, act and feel… it is also a physical reality. To separate feelings and desires from physical reality opens the door to dysfunction and disorder (personal as well as societal). Please understand I am talking with regard to society as a whole and why sometimes things that seem prejudicial are not… they are just natural and true. People are free in our society so no one is suggesting people not being allowed to express how they feel but it is taking things to a whole other realm when human feelings divorced from physical truth are allowed to dictate to the rest of society how we should feel and what we should believe through “law”. “Humankind” exists in two types…male and female. This is not pure chance but design. There is a reason for it. It is true that some people think that what they are is determined by how they feel but that is not grounded in the physical reality of being human. An obvious example are transsexuals. No amount of surgery, hormones or artificial “enhancements” will change the sex of an individual. Their DNA is male or female and it is the truth regardless of how they feel or what they do to alter their bodies. I am not implying that they should be prohibited from pursuing what they feel is right for them but to make laws that allow them to alter legal documents like birth certificates, driver licenses, etc simply because they feel they are the other sex is not in the best interest of the rest of society… for many reasons. The slippery slope is basing laws on things that are based purely on subjective feelings without any foundational truth. To me that is being forced into accepting a type of social psychosis. Allow me to use an example. A long time ago I watched one of those documentary type channels. I can’t remember which one but the program was about “body modification”. One person stands out in my memory. It was a woman that had her entire body tattooed with leopard spots, she had her ears shaped like cat ears, she wore cat’s eyes contacts, she had whiskers affixed to her face and she wore a tail. She said she knew she was a leopard in “spirit” and found it more comfortable to live like a cat. As a psychologist I am sure you would have some concerns about her grasp of reality. She functioned well enough, had a job (a job where this was tolerated). Her friends said at first they found it weird but that they just got used to it and accepted her as she was. Should we make laws allowing her to change legal documents to catagorize her as “feline”. What about her licking food out of dishes on the floor in restaurants? (that is how she ate at home). There were others too that were reptiles, demons, etc… Perhaps it seems outrageous to ask but it seems to beg the question what is different between someone believing they are male when they are female and someone believing they are a leopard in “spirit”? This is a sincere question. If one is socially acceptable what are the grounds for the other to be considered “out of touch”?


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