Number Ten: Bring on the Pain
August 25, 2001 was a watershed day in my life. It seemed to be a day when everything changed. It was very chaotic. To begin with, It was the day before my cousin Tiffany, a Navy member, turned 22. Since we didn’t know where the hell she was in service at, we just waited for her to call. Nothing new to that. It was also the day when Aaliyah, the heir apparent to Janet Jackson’s throne as pop princess, was killed in a plane crash following a music video shoot. Like Tiffany, she was 22. That was pretty tough to see on the news that night, and brutal irony in contrast to things happening to me that day. You see, on that day, I moved from Dickson, TN, back in with my mother in South Pittsburg. I hated the thought of moving back home, but hated the concept of moving back to South Pittsburg even more. It’s one of those kid of places that once you leave, you can’t and really shouldn’t go back to. But I had no choice. I had to go to the one place where I knew I’d be the least comfortable. I knew I didn’t want anybody knowing I was buying cocaine and meth. If I bought some in South Pittsburg, everybody and their 32nd cousin would know. Besides, I hardly knew anybody there anymore. I left South Pittsburg in 1992. Since that time I had come out, been in the Air Force, colored my hair blonde, started partying in gay clubs, even got to be an extra in a Robert Redford movie, and yes doing drugs. I was hardly the conflicted, rebellious 16-year-old everybody knew. I was now a totally f*cked-up 26-year-old meth head who saw his best friend get 8 years in prison for drug dealing. I was completely broken.
Fast forward to 2011. We now approach the tenth anniversary of 9/11, the day the whole damned WORLD changed. We’ve seen history made in the first “Black” man to ever become President of the United States of America. And on a personal note, we’ve seen Douglas Wayne Tipton move to Chattanooga away from family, become a temporary “ex-gay”, drive a cab (and get robbed in the damned process), leave organized religion, become a Deist… and stay free of meth and coke addictions since August 25th, 2001. It always seemed like I’d never be able to make peace with so many things that have happened in my life. Yet I have, and it’s damned good. One thing I try to do nowadays is encourage others to NOT do the things I did that led me down such a turbulent path. I wouldn’t take nothing for my journey now, but if there’s a way for somebody else who isn’t willing to go the same path I did, I owe it to them to do what I can to steer them clear of it. Understand, I don’t mean tell them how to do it, step by step. All I can do is show others A way and let them figure out THEIR way. It works for most people, including me. The key word there is most.
By now, you may have heard about the petition at change.org to have longtime Sesame Street characters Bert and Ernie become a homosexual couple on the program. This is to be done in order to include LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered and Questioning) representation on the preschool show. The organizer of this movement is an Illinois man named Lair Scott, an openly bisexual man and career LGBTQ rights activist. His argument is that tolerance of LGB… homosexuals will be higher if preschoolers see a shining example of them on a popular show now, which will set the stage, if you will, for less teen suicide and bullying in the future. If Blacks, Hispanics, and heterosexual marriages can be represented on Sesame Street as normal people, Scott contends, surely homosexuals can be cast in the same light. To rally up support for his petition, Scott has appeared in several media outlets, including CNN, the Toledo Free Press, and even Tea Party “shock jock” Mancow Mueller’s radio program.
The “gay rumors” surrounding Bert and Ernie, two male felt puppets on a children’s television show, are hardly new. They’ve been bounced around the LGBTQ community since the 1980’s, at least. In fact, this is not even the first time someone has suggested the two “come out”. This same idea came up most memorably in 1993, when gay rights groups requested the longtime buddies be the first openly homosexual characters on Sesame Street. The idea was shot down. And bear in mind that 1993 was the start of Bill Clinton’s U. S. Presidency, with a democratic Congress; it was actually more liberal in that time than it is now. Several days after the latest cry for it to happen went out, the Sesame Street producers again nixed the idea. They didn’t say there would never be a same-sex couple on the show; it just won’t be Bert and Ernie. Despite this clear refutation by the show itself, Lair Scott continues even now to promote the concept.
Try to wrap your head around what’s being proposed here. Here’s a 53-year-old guy, with no recorded child rearing experience, who wants to have a long-running children’s program be literally all-inclusive. He wants it to be the catalyst for future generations to accept others different from them. Sesame Street has been doing just that for over 40 years. So it seems perfectly logical to have a same-sex, married couple to be included, right? Well, there’s only one problem: same-sex marriages is only legal in 6 states and D. C. If it were valid in all 50 states, this may not be an issue. The fact that it isn’t taints the petition’s purpose; it can rightfully be seen as career activists like Scott promoting same-sex marriage to the resistant states through Sesame Street. And the show is funded by taxpayers, who most certainly won’t allow a political matter propagated on their dime, especially with the economy in the shape it’s in as of this posting.
That’s hardly the only flaw with the petition. According to the petition, the job of setting examples for LGBTQ people for future generations is better handled by, for all intent and purposes, the heterosexual producers of a preschool-oriented show. Naturally, nobody would ever say it that bluntly. But that’s exactly what Lair Scott and those who sign that petition are doing, and they know it. One who uses common sense can’t help but feel slighted by the fact that anybody would say puppets or a television show for preschoolers is a better representative for their community than they themselves could. I am. But then again, if guys like Scott are going to be leading the way, maybe it’s not so bad an idea.
Another thing is the role negative stereotypes of LGBTQ people play in this thing. While Lair Scott and those who support the petition to claim it’s solely designed to encourage education on homosexual relationships, the premise of the petition remains the same: since Bert and Ernie are two male puppets who spend a lot of time together, they must be a couple. Gay men are constantly accused of romanticizing any situation where two males are in close proximity, and this doesn’t help that stereotype. Again, it’s been a joke now for years, but nobody really thought it was true, or even really cared. It’s ignorant to think such, and unfair; suppose the two men are related? Or more importantly, what’s wrong with having a damned friend of the same gender? Besides, do you think a toddler finds anything sexual in all that? Hell, my best friend has two daughters, and they’ve slept in the same bed and took baths together. A lot of children are bathed and sleep in the same bed with their younger siblings. Are what was then a 1 and 3-year old lesbians because of that? Why no! Even if it may be humorous to consider, it should be ONLY adult humor, like on Family Guy, NOT a children’s television program.
The Civil Rights Movement worked in the 1960’s worked because Blacks were led by incredible leaders like Malcolm X and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, who, although on different sides of the spectrum in regards to Black causes, Martin Luther King and Malcolm X encouraged their followers to not play into their detractors’ preconceived notions about them. They were discouraged from attempting to hit on White women, and encouraged to speak intelligently. The petition is founded on one of the worst stigmas on males, and I refuse to take part in it.
I did, however, participate in the Facebook page on and off for about a week or so. I just wanted to see what the mindset was behind this whole thing, and to provide feedback that would make things easier for the LGBTQ community and its critics to find middle ground. The problem is, this is an all-or-nothing deal. In Dr. King’s legendary “I Have a Dream” speech, Dr. King pointed out that he envisioned a day when people would be judged not by their race, but by the content of their character. (King is not on record discussing affirmative action and reparations as a form of equality, so that can’t be used in the discussion.) Dr. King, and Blacks in general, were owed for the cruelty they endured at the hands of Bull Connor and the Ku Klux Klan, but he knew that trying to make them feel remorseful or guilty for things they happily engaged in wouldn’t work. Instead, he focused on being judged on the individual’s integrity, not his skin color. And he asked that this be done within the rules of society in that day, with the playing field as was. In other words, the individual would be accountable for his own actions, and it would not only allow that person to be respected, but the community he represented as well. It also meant that his foolishness, and the consequences of it, would not be shouldered by others who were not involved. It worked wonders, because people generally do judge people based on their actions not skin color. Black Americans complied individually, and the Black community as a whole reaped the benefits.
In our day, the work Dr. King set out to do is being undermined by “poverty pimps” like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson. They use the fact that somebody is Black or poor to justify them having multiple babies out-of-wedlock, killing a fellow Black man,”busting a sag”, and living off the government, at the expense, of course, of their own integrity, which would probably get them a much better life, and better relationships with other people. Intelligent, erudite Black people neither need nor want them around, because they know they use a physical or racial difference to justify poor choices. People like Sharpton and Jackson specialize in the victim and welfare mentalities, and it causes not only division, but keeps people with incredible potential down and out. In the end, only those two benefit from their antics.
You could put any poll out there, and as sure as you’re as you’re reading this, it’s going to show that most Americans have no problem whatsoever with same-sex marriage. The reasons for this are varying, with top being the inclusion of top media representatives such as Ellen DeGeneres, Sir Elton John, Wanda Sykes, on and on. But here’s the catch: all three of those entertainers named were known as entertainers first and foremost. Them focusing on their talents first won them accolades, even after coming out. Everyday people, which obviously includes many in the homosexual community, have been doing this for years. And it never even once meant that they had to “stop being gay”; it meant they had to put whatever task was at hand first, and focus on their differences later. Career activists like Lair Scott are still clinging to the wrongs done to them by people who may not even be alive anymore to justify making their sexuality, much like Jackson and Sharpton do with ethnicity, their primary characteristic. Guys like them want to be separate but equal: an upscale Jim Crow system. The idea is absurd, because common sense tells you there are good and bad in any group. For the most part, people judge people on their individual character.
And let me tell you about some of the tactics used by these guys. When you bring other people’s children into a battle, it AUTOMATICALLY becomes a matter of debate. Scott emphasized at the start of his petition campaign that “it wasn’t up for debate, simply a matter of education.” There was a conservative lady on the Facebook page that simply wanted to have her say in the matter (after all, her children would be affected by seeing same-sex couples on Sesame Street). She wanted to teach her children herself the LGBT buzzword, “tolerance”, for herself, rather than a television show. She was repeatedly chewed out for not agreeing 100% to the petition , as was I, and eventually left the page. If the LGBTQ community could’ve used anybody’s support, it could have been hers, and look how she got done. For a group that uses “tolerance” every other word, they sure didn’t show any to her. But they thought it was great to have on the page a video from fckh8.com filled with f-bombs and two preteen boys kissing at the end of it, at the behest of the video’s adult producer.
If a story comes out with a gay victim and straight perpetrators, it’s automatically a “hate crime” story. If it’s a story where a heterosexual is assumed to be doing something nice for the LGBTQ community, it’s automatically a “win for equality”. Before I go any further, let me say this: I am NEVER for anyone being killed, regardless of the reason. However, if you put yourself in a dangerous situation, the risk always falls on you. When Matthew Shepard and Brandon Teena were killed, the world was in shock that these two people were killed simply for being “different”. But was that the real reason for their murders? Could it have been because Teena lied to her girlfriend about her actually being a girl living as a boy? Shepard was, even by his own friends’ admission, involved in the drug business, and two junkies were his murderers. Coincidence? Marcellus Andrews, a 19-year-old Black Iowan, was pretty much beaten to death and called a “faggot”, and the LGBTQ media requested porchlight vigils. Was he a “faggot” just because his longtime enemies said he was and he was studying interior design? Obviously so, because nobody in his inner circle ever heard of him being involved in the gay life. And where does his being a basketball player fit in? But the LGBT groups HAD to make him gay; after all, who mourns another dead young “nigger”? And the victory in New York? Look at the states that support same-sex marriage. They have some of the highest living expenses and tax rates in America. (One of those states is Iowa, by the way.) Politicians know LGBTQ people will do anything to “have it on paper”, including pay an arm and a leg, so they include a stipulation that their marriage is only valid in a select few states. It wasn’t a matter of acceptance or “equality”; it’s a matter of economics. But God forbid anybody say such things as that.
As I mentioned in “Number Five” (Cena Says), these career activists point out how gay suicides are very high. They are. But as I said then, there were people who grew up in the 80’s, 90’s, and even the new millennium in horrid conditions,without a GLAAD, Human Rights Campaign, etc., and they never jumped off a damned bridge. And I might add, their sexuality was not the ONLY reason they did so; count how many were mocked for their weight, race, poverty, on and on, who killed themselves. Where’s their advocacy group? More so, consider how many DIDN’T kill themselves; obviously, the people writing these stories didn’t. A lot of this has to do with things Lair Scott and people like him are pumping into people’s heads. If a gay teenaged boy has a crush on a straight boy, but the boy shows discomfort and hostility at an unwanted advance, rather than it being an intrusion on the other boy’s space, the other boy is “intolerant”. If a female wants to get up in a man’s face, act like a man, and then gets treated like one, that’s a “hate crime”. And if you don’t let people do and say whatever they want to, and approve unconditionally, no matter how out-of-bounds it may be, you’re a “homophobe”. People don’t have to accept such behavior, and shouldn’t have to. No matter who does it, it’s wrong. Such is the definition of equality, and that’s bad news for carer activists; they’re used to being able to justify their bitchiness and shock tactics on the wrongs done a generation back or the fact that they’re “different”. When celebrity blogger Perez Hilton got roughed up by the Black Eyed Peas a while back for some comments he made about their lead singer, Fergie, most everybody, including some LGBTQ people, felt he had it coming. He thought his being the stereotypical, bitchy gay man would make people feel sorry for him. He was wrong, and people like Lair Scott and these career activists need to understand that. It’s 2011, and people don’t necessarily hate gay people; they just don’t like people like THEM, who cling to that tired-ass victim mentality to justifying irritating people.
I won’t lie about it, folks: there was a time when I was all about the “rainbow warrior” shtick. At that particular time in my life, it served its purpose. But there was also a time for it to end. The role of “perpetual victim” may let you get away with more, but it also leaves you accomplishing less than you could. Yeah, I got attention for it, but I never really got respect. And I never got absolute acceptance; nobody ever will. When I took that leap of faith, and decided to let how I treat others decide how others treated me, I never had to second-guess myself again. It also meant that those who did me wrong would get what’s due them, even if it wasn’t by my hand. And I was no longer a prisoner of the past; the things that have happened can’t be changed. I stand and fall on my own accord, and don’t need somebody else standing on a park bench with a megaphone to talk for me. And it also meant I learned not to throw in on just anything because it has “gay” or “black” in its name. To indoctrinate three-year-olds to accept somebody because their adult parents won’t let you just do what you want is hardly the answer to life’s problems; after all, when they grow up, even if there are gay couples or even a transgendered character on Sesame Street, they’ll still have a sense of discernment. And under an umbrella of equality, they might discriminate against you not because of your sexuality, but because you’re an annoying piece of sh*t, period. In the span of one week, over 700 people of a possible 7600 left the Bert and Ernie Facebook page because of Lair Scott’s deletion of opposing comments and he and some of his buddies ganging up on people who didn’t fall in lock-step with his ideology. People like him need division or they’re out of anything to do. As people see how useless guys like him are, and begin to have genuine discussion amongst themselves without needing sh*tdisturbers like him and Al Sharpton, the better off society will be… and the closer to equality we’ll get. And not just for any one group, but the world in general. And in case you’re wondering, next month is the flip side to this matter. We gotta be all-inclusive, right?