One of the most amazing experiences I’ve had traveling was to Europe going through customs at Heathrow Airport in London, England.
Customs, immigration and security are always a confusing social experiment: What desk do I go to? Do I have anything to declare? Do we go to the counter together or individually? These questions all have different answers in different countries and different airports. The rule of thumb I have learned over the years of traveling is that people who reside together and are traveling together approach the immigration desk as a group. That gets a little gray when the country in which you reside in (USA) not only doesn’t recognize your homosexual relationship, but is treated as “dirty/wrong/abhorrent” (Hello, Officer Ramirez). Something you should have to protect your children from.
Anyway, when I went to the Customs counter without my husband of four years, like I do here in the U.S., the woman asked with whom I was traveling; I pointed to my husband who was already going to another agent. She asked if we worked together, which we happen to, so I said ‘yes‘. Then I think she started to clue in, ‘Do you live together?‘ Crap, I am not a liar, and she’s asking, in this foreign country that could bar us for any reason. ‘Yes,’ I responded, pointing to my ring. Whereupon the agent remarked that we are supposed to check in together as a couple, and called him over. The Government Officer then addressed us as any other married couple. I felt, for the first time, completely accepted. I wanted to cry and hug this agent. I didn’t, but I hope she could tell in my eyes what she did for me. At the same time, I hoped she could not, because that would reveal the way America has shaped and formed my views regarding myself, was wrong.
Holy Bigotry Batman! It’s not me.
All throughout Europe, we experienced this kind of acceptance, and were addressed and treated as a married couple. In fact, eyebrows were raised in disgust and shock that we are not always treated with basic human respect here in the “land of the free”. The irony escaping neither of the parties involved.
Europe agrees with protecting children and the community, and what they feel needs to be abolished is hatred and intolerance. After all they went through, with wars that sent six million people to their death because of this line of thinking. They learned from it.
Enter the censorship of the Elton John on the cover of a major American gossip magazine in the state of Arkansas. This would never fly in Europe (they figure if you don’t want to read it, don’t look, don’t want your kids to read it, don’t buy it for them). That we display magazines depicting: women as objects, scandals, affairs, divorces, drugs as everyday desensitizing topics is what is disgraceful. What should be questioned is whether children’s eyes should be viewing that.
The fact these store owners are so obtuse that they would rather peddle the idea that being gay is strictly about sex. As if there is no way loving committed relationships are any part of being gay, or straight for that matter. These are the type of people who should be censored and hidden behind covers from the innocent eyes of children. We are amazed the teaching of hatred is not viewed more as the detriment it is in this country. It is not just ignored, it is raised up as a sacrament to godliness.
I feel sorry for these people, and the people who taught them, and the the children being taught by them. I am not even angry–I feel sorry for them. When you hate and are fearful, you section yourself off from so much goodness and life and God’s creation in all it’s varied forms, these close-minded people are restricting your growth as a human being, not just denying others, but yourselves.
It is not a magazine cover they are hiding and keeping hidden. It is their own humanity.