Friday, May 25, 2018

Eliminating the Distinction of Rights

By: Greg Leitao ’12


I do not believe in gay rights. Now, when I say this, I do not mean I disagree with rights for the LGBT community. What I am referring to is the term itself, this idea of “gay rights.” It seems fair to suggest that in this day and age, a large majority of our world has come to understand the basic human rights every individual deserves. Why is it that, rather than accept this as an all-encompassing notion, we must distinguish between rights for humans solely depending on who they are attracted to? Why, when we boil it down, is there this difference between “human” rights and “gay” rights? Is a gay individual no longer human?

I bring this up because of an article I read earlier, coincidentally regarding two very non-human individuals. A large controversy has arisen in Toronto, as the Toronto Zoo is attempting to separate two penguins who appear to be a “gay” couple. The two birds, Pedro and Buddy, are male penguins that not only are inseperable but also have displayed signs of traditional mating behaviors. 
Now, I can understand to a point that the zookeepers want these penguins to be able to breed (they are, after all, African penguins and thus are endangered). But really, can they not just let these two penguins be happy? Have we really reached a point where homosexuality becomes an issue and cannot be allowed amongst penguins? Penguins?

This in turn made me think of the other articles I have seen recently involving controversies regarding homosexuality. This past weekend, famous director Brett Ratner was (rightfully) attacked for his casual use of a homosexual slur during a press conference. Two weeks ago in Scotland, Stuart Walker was killed and set on fire – his offense? Being gay. We are constantly bombarded in the media about clashes between the world and the LGBT community. How is it that this still is such a huge issue? One can only guess how long it will be before the rest of humanity realizes that, unsurprisingly, gay humans are just that – human.
This of course is not always a distinction made maliciously, that of the LGBT community and the rest of society. Many times friends will casually bring up while chatting who their favorite gay celebrities are, or something of that nature. This is all innocent, but when you think about it, should that distinction need to be made? Imagine one of these conversations brings up celebrities like Neil Patrick Harris and Freddie Mercury. I may be wrong, but I personally don’t think “How I Met Your Mother” would be any different if NPH was straight. Also I’m fairly certain that “Bohemian Rhapsody” would still be incredible, even if Freddie was the biggest womanizer in the world. Again, these are innocent comments made with no malicious intent. But what about when one comes across countless articles online, all conjecturing on the sexual orientation of celebrities and politicians. In what way does this matter? Call me crazy, but I still would love Will Smith whether he was straight, gay or had four different sets of genitals. 
Although I truly believe that this specific issue throughout our world will one day be resolved, I also believe that the process can be sped up. Give up this fight for “gay rights” – those should no longer exist. Instead, fight solely for the right to be integrated, the right to have no distinction between one group of humans and another. As Boethius says in his Consolation of Philosophy: “Who would give a law to lovers? Love is unto itself a higher law.” The one right that those in the LGBT community should be concerned with is the right to not be differentiated from everyone else around them. Any other rights are a part of the “being a human” package, and hopefully the world can finally come to realize that.

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