Be Ashamed, Just in Case
“Look, you’ve got a personal message from the Human Rights Campaign,” said Scott as he dug through the mail.
“Oh boy, another one,” I said.
“But this one’s different,” he said.
“Did they use both of our names?” I felt a warm glimmer of hope.
“No, but they put their name on the outside of the envelope,” he said.
“Well, kinda, if you hold it up to the light and read it backward,” he said.
Such is progress. As my longtime readers know, Scott and I have tried repeatedly and for many years to get HRC to include both of our names on their mailings — to list us together, as a couple. HRC is the only nonprofit group that has consistently failed to do so.
Groups that have no trouble listing our names together include the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington DC, the Humane Society, the Cato Institute, the American Civil Liberties Union, Saint Jude’s Children’s Hospital, and — for shame — the Disabled Veterans of America. In no case did it take more than a single phone call.
In my experience, HRC never addresses anything to both members of a same-sex couple. (Can anyone prove me wrong?)
We’ve written letters. We’ve talked on the phone with many, many customer service folks. We’ve nagged them at their website. They always promise they’ll get it right the next time around, and they never, ever do. We’ve finally come to suspect that it’s an unstated policy. Keep them closeted, even from each other. Lie to them about it, if necessary. Be ashamed, just in case. Never let go of the shame.
Which is why HRC fails. It’s been many years since they’ve gotten anything from us, and I doubt they ever will again.
I dated a neopagan back in college. I was an atheist then, and I am one now, but I gave it a try. I read a few books (some were plausible, some silly). I went to a few ceremonies (ditto). I even participated. I was never quite sure it worked for me, and ultimately it didn’t.
But I remember one man in particular — tall, fat, bearded, loud, opinionated, and the leader of a druid grove. And when he sang the nonsense words that began a ceremony, he honest-to-goddess meant it. You knew he meant it. He may have been spewing total nonsense, but he did it with a frightening authority. It was fantastic. Looking back on it, I think he may have been one of the reasons why I gave neopaganism a try in the first place.
Now for the moral of the story: If you’re about to say something that could possibly sound like nonsense to your audience, don’t be afraid. Just belt it the hell out. Loud, forthright nonsense is the only kind that changes the world.