”We don’t want to promote one particular ideology; what we want in this city is a community that is welcoming to everybody, and that requires some limits on what some groups can do,” Solvang Mayor Mark Infanti said.
As if supporting the LGBTQIA community is promoting an ideology or theory. But don’t blame us, it’s a policy issue.
Well, you can argue pretty much anything when it’s a broadly worded policy that can be interpreted in more than a few ways. But you know what you can’t argue against? The LGBTQIA community.
Homosexuality is not something you can debate the merit of, and our very existence is not a theory with which you can disagree. Because last I checked, being gay is not a choice or a lifestyle. Veganism is a lifestyle. Being active is a lifestyle. “Lifestyle” implies that something can be changed or stopped. Homosexuality is like being straight, you either are or you aren’t. It’s that simple, and that complicated.
Now, you can choose to not befriend a gay couple or associate with a gay person in public. That’s your choice to live an exclusive life. However, when you start to discriminate based on … oh man.
I’m writing this, and I’ve lost that loving feeling. I’ve written similar words with similar points, multiple times across a dozen platforms and even in a couple of plays … 30 years ago.
Thirty years ago! AIDS was ravaging the world, gays could serve in the military but only from a dark closet, and legalized gay marriage was a pipe dream. In most states, you could be fired just for being gay. The Pink triangle became our badge and we spoke to each other in code about being “family.” And revealing that you were gay to anyone had to be planned, well-rehearsed, and came with more anxiety than if someone operated on your eyes while you were awake.
But things got better and continued to improve, or so I thought.
Now it’s 2023 and Solvang has to debate whether it’s promoting “one particular ideology.”
Promote this then: There is a rise of homophobic attacks across the land, gay youth are bullied to their suicides (often publicly on social media for all to see), and some merchants are refusing business because they don’t “agree” with that lifestyle. Books with even a hint of positive portrayals of gay characters are pulled from library shelves. Some families with gay parents are ostracized and looked at with suspicion. Gay youth are still being ousted from their homes, left to fend for themselves without protection, without stability, without hope.
Those who so fervently try to “save” the world from the gays and their “lifestyle” just won’t accept that people who are LGBTQIA are as much a part of this world as anyone else. And don’t get me started on how your tourism revenue can benefit from LGBTQIA visitors with their typically higher disposable income.
But hey, as Mayor Infanti pointed out, last year the gays got a parade and a banner to hang over the highway, so there’s that. To be fair, Mayor Infanti is not the villain. The true villainy lies in thinking that Pride banners, repainting crosswalks for a month, and your children learning about the different people that make up this world somehow harm you and yours.
Ever wonder why we have a rainbow flag? Its many colors represent the different shades of people in the gay community who are just hoping to live their lives like everyone else, free from discrimination, violence, and hatred.
Over the years, the LGBTQIA community has added colors to the Pride flag and letters to its acronym.
The “family” grew in its understanding, acceptance, and love.
There’s no reason that Solvang, or anyone else, couldn’t do the same.
Al Nunez wrote to the Sun from Guadalupe. Write a response by emailing it to [email protected].