Wednesday, October 6, 2010

My Idea

So here's my idea. I've already ran it past a few FB friends, and they've expressed quite a few reservations. Like I said, it's not without issue, but maybe running it by more people will result in something else that will work better.

Or maybe my idea is just good enough for now. I think it's a good step, really.

I know the "post your bra color in your status (but don't say it's yr bra color!) to spread awareness for breast cancer!" didn't exactly work. Not in the way people wanted it to. Really, it was just a way for women to be ever so slightly naughty. It was fun, I'll admit, but it hardly made me think of breast cancer. Also, a lot of people thought it was lame.

BUT, you know, I thought of this after remembering something Harvey Milk once said:

Gay brothers and sisters,... You must come out. Come out... to your parents... I know that it is hard and will hurt them but think about how they will hurt you in the voting booth! Come out to your relatives... come out to your friends... if indeed they are your friends. Come out to your neighbors... to your fellow workers... to the people who work where you eat and shop... come out only to the people you know, and who know you. Not to anyone else. But once and for all, break down the myths, destroy the lies and distortions. For your sake. For their sake. For the sake of the youngsters who are becoming scared by the votes from Dade to Eugene.

--"That's What America Is," speech given on Gay Freedom Day (1978-06-25) in San Francisco
And National Coming Out Day is arriving on October 11. Next Monday.

This idea isn't just for GBLT people everywhere, but for everyone. It's based on the Kinsey Scale I discussed a few days ago. A scale, I understand, is not entirely accurate but I think works for this particular idea.

We could do this on October 11. We could post our Kinsey Scale number. It doesn't have to be "I'm a Kinsey 2." It could just be "2." Whatever. A friend of mine worried that his friends would think he was rating himself on a scale of 1-10 by way of hotness and said everyone knew he was far too vain to rate himself a 6, so I suggested we could do 6/6.

But you know, whatever. Everyone knows he's gay and ex-mormon, so him posting this on his status would be ridiculous. I just wanted his opinion.

Here's the biggest problem with this: Anyone considered not completely homosexual (anything below a 6) could get the comment "Hey, if there's any chance you can be attracted to someone of your opposite sex, then you should wait."

And that was my worry and the worry of a few others, as well. What bothers me about this idea is that it suggests those who married or partnered up heterosexually somehow settled. While some have because of the teachings of their churches (it's not just LDS), I didn't settle. I know others who haven't. Either way, it's not the response I want. It's one I have to prepare for if we're going to do this.

The same friend (the "vain" one) also expressed concern over confusing others and having to go through a protracted conversation over what the hell we are talking about. My only suggestion for solving this problem is to send around a "note" discussing what the Kinsey Scale is.

But, really, I think the first concern is the greatest one. The fact that there are others who may recognize tendencies to whatever degree don't feel as if they *should* pursue a gay partnership. This could be due in large part because they've been told all their lives how wrong and unnatural it is.

So the issue is not whether or not it is a choice, but whether or not it is wrong. But we have so many events and attitudes in our history once believed wrong and unnatural that we no longer believe are wrong. Interracial couplings and marriage, for example.

So will this message fly over heads? Or is it sufficient that the message is just as much "hey, it's not just one or the other. It's a spectrum. Look inside yourselves."

Because the more something is normalized, the less wrong it seems. That was Mr. Milk's sentiment. Make them realize that their daughters, sons, fathers, mothers, friends, neighbors, etc.--people they've known and loved are "this" way. Break down the myths and the stereotypes. It's much harder to vote against them.

I know that's the argument of zealous right-wingers in opposition of this, but still. I think this may be a step in the right direction.

What do you all think?


  1. What a cool idea! I admit that I really detest the memes on Facebook, since I don't think they have much to do with raising awareness; today in response to all the "I like it on the stairs!" etc. I posted a tribute to my aunt, who was diagnosed with breast cancer last year. I think awareness must be raised by speaking in tongues that everyone can recognize.

    That said, breast cancer is something that is never going to be argued against--no one is going to respond to my posting about my aunt with "I think breast cancer is totally wrong and people who have it are evil and deserve it". Homosexuality and coming out are more sensitive and obviously have enemies and detractors. So in this case, I think a simple posting of "I'm a 4" might be a step in the right direction. The bolder among us may go for "I'm a 4. Where are you on the Kinsey scale?" (I have to decide if I'm up for that!).

    I really like the idea of National Coming Out Day. Lots of people probably have some aspect of themselves that they want their loved ones to know about, and this is a good opportunity to tell people about whatever it is--you're lesbian, you're not lesbian and you love your husband but you also find women attractive, you're pansexual, you've been practicing witchcraft for five years, you're an atheist. Who knows what might come out?

  2. The problem I have with FB (and, admittedly, it may just be *my* problem) is it's so superficial and fake. In my experience, it's also very passive aggressive at times. I can't stand it. I have a dozen little nieces who post shit like, "___ has chosen Jesus Christ as her Savior! Click like if you agree!" When I commented to one niece that she shouldn't feel bad about missing Pioneer Trek because it SUCKS SWEATY PIONEER BALLS (I was way more diplomatic) her sister reprimanded me in the comments: "Aunt Jennifer, Trek was the most AMAZING and SPIRICHUL experience of my ENTIRE life!!! Please don't turn my sister against it!"

    Yes, in my family I am also known as "Tool of Satan."

    I guess my point is I would never use FB to share things that are personal and even sacred (for lack of a better term) to me. Those things are none of their fucking business and I would never try to engage several of my FB "friends" in a substantive conversation about things that are close to my heart.

    I would create my own space, my own forum, to do that. Like my blog. That a few of my nieces are "secretly" reading. Heh. But they're in *my* territory. And they're very afraid.

  3. Diana: Thanks :) I'm glad you'd be on board.

    CD: I get that. I do. I suppose I'm coming from a place where I'd like to say something but don't have many other avenues to do so. This would get around. Let's face it, FB is a rather large network, full of people who say things like "JESUS CHRIST IS MY SAVIOR. Click like if you agree!" People of epic ignorance as well.

    So, I mean, I want to say something back. I'm tired of being afraid to say something back because heaven FORBID I offend them, but they sure as hell can do whatever to offend me because they are "right."

    I'm totally with you on those memes, though. But like I said, this would be my response. Moreso to those people who won't shut the fuck up about how much Conference spoke to them. Gah.

    But I don't expect everyone to want to participate. I'm just looking for feedback and an idea of how many people would be willing.

    I suppose right now I'm not entirely convinced my blog is read enough to make much of a difference :)

  4. I get what you're saying, Lisa. I say if it works for you, you absolutely should do it. I've resigned myself to the reality that FB is not my venue. It's a great way for me to stay in contact with certain people but as far as conversation goes it's not authentic. It's like F&T Meeting without the uncomfortable pews. Especially with so many believers in my family amongst my "friends." With them it's all about appearances. Trying to communicate with incredibly judgmental people in that superficial environment is as satisfying as beating my head against a brick wall. I choose not to.

    I probably just need to weed out a few of my FB friends. But they are family. Ya know. Those people who think I'm evil. ***sigh***

  5. I think FB (and other social networking thingies) is lame in a billion ways, but it can be a fairly effective tool for mass communication. Look at the massive Iran protest that started via Twitter (the "turn Twitter green" thing). So it can't be said that it's not good for anything, in practical terms.

    That being said, I don't do most memes just because I think they're annoying. I didn't participate in that bra-color thing because I'm opposed to most popular forms of breast cancer activism (finding them completely ineffective while funneling money into loathsome corporations), and I don't understand this "I like it on the ________" thing at all. (Is it about breast cancer or purses or what...?)

    But I like National Coming Out Day and I think FB could be a useful tool for supporting it. Personally I wouldn't bother posting the Kinsey scale because I think it's kind of dry. But I think we could each post individually, Coming Out in our own way, and encouraging others to do it as well to bring awareness to the diversity of sexual expression and relationships in humans. And sure, we could Come Out about other things, too - atheism or mental illness or whatever it is that we hide about ourselves.

  6. I love it! I'm doing it, and I'm telling my husband to do it too! And I'll send it to other people.

  7. I don't do memes either, historically. I've always found them lame--hell i've talked about it here. But I thought this might be a good one.

    I understand if you don't want to do it. Totally fine.

    Chandelle: It's about where you like to put yr purse. It's lame. I don't get it.

    Your idea works, too. However a person is comfortable, I think it's good.

    Carla: Thanks :)

  8. In the interest of "being open" though, I will admit to doing the bra color thing. I thought it was kind of fun, but hardly made me think of breast cancer awareness. Just bra color awareness.

    It was fun that my husband even participated ;) He wondered aloud why men didn't disclose their underwear color in order to raise awareness about prostate cancer. I mean, that's serious too, right?


  9. I did not respond on the facebook thread but I do think it is a great idea. Thank you!!! (I did the bra color thing too. No worries.)

  10. Kiley: Awesome! If you would, could you ask your friends if they'd be willing also?

    Next Monday :D