One of the banners, and key virtues, hung at the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Y is: "Respect." Respect is different than tolerance. Tolerance is a permissive attitude that a difference of opinion is O.K. Respect is esteem for the worth or excellence of another person. In terms of being a gay dad, what I desire for people to practice is the "virtue" of respect rather than mere tolerance. One's being gay is not a choice, but who I am and we, who are self-identifying as LGBT, are. However, the other person we are in relationship with--family members, co-workers, associates, acquaintances--will have to make a decision: tolerance or respect? I prefer respect.
Nevertheless, there is an important essay in this morning's edition of Huffingtonpost.com, in which a young gay man came out to his brother and mother. They both were horrified at this "news," and promised neither to practice tolerance nor respect. Rather, they chose to harangue the young man's very life, using the language of the church to be a cudgel in bludgeoning the young man. It is articles like this that does not make being a gay dad easy, but being out necessary.
Click here to the blog.
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