Every time I hear someone who is anti-gay use the tired and sorry modern day cliche: “God meant Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve,” I think back to how it was instilled in me as a child that “God is love.” So I cannot even imagine a God who would be complicit which such un-Godly ways of thinking.
And also as I think back on my childhood I remember my dreams which were the simplest of dreams. I dreamed of a world sans “Colored Only” water faucets and johns, a world where being a Negro wasn’t a reason for sitting at the back of a bus. I dreamed of plopping a few coins on a counter and saying to the chef: “A burger and fries and a cherry coke, please” and then, in the same dream, I would feed the juke box and, in my ease, kick back at my table and bask in the sounds of the day. Nat and Frank and Bing and Ella and Sarah and Count and Duke. Cab Calloway.The Dorseys. T-Bone Walker. Billie Holiday. But, my world kept saying to me in those days: no way.
Engaged in such memories, I wonder what a gay child, a budding Adam and Steve or Lorraine and Eve, dreams? Might their dreams be equally as pure and innocent as my dreams of yore with beautiful music playing in the backround? Oh, they must, at times cry, and dream of freedom as did I. While I might have dreamed of being free to sit anywhere at the picture show, or free to skate at the rink on any day, or free to ski in the snow, a gay child must dream of being free to join the scouts, or free to walk unmolested down the schoolhouse halls, or free to let the world know who he or she is. Like it was with me the very essence of a gay child’s dream has to be the desire to just be the living breathing soul he or she was created to be without society imposing a penalty.
Our dreams were essentially desires to be loved and appreciated. I remember thinking that the Jim Crow Days of my childhood days would never end but they faded away by and by. But when will the gay child rise above second class citizenry? When will a gay child’s story be available in school libraries and shared at the reading circle and in special assemblies like mine is now? When will the gay child cease to be referred to as unnatural and an abomination, aka “less than,” as I once was considered animalistic and non-human, aka “less than”?
How much more of a toll on his or her wellbeing must a gay child endure to realize equality in an environment where “Freedom isn’t free?” And why isn’t it free when the Constitution promises liberty for all citizens no matter who they might be? What price will the gay child pay for freedom when there are towns that openly don’t want him around, when her representatives in city halls and in state legislatures and in D.C. won’t do what’s necessary to set her free?
Oh, I not only wonder what a gay child dreams, but I wonder, too, how long s/he can hold fast to those dreams. How much longer will we, as a society, defer their dreams when they like their straight peers are God’s children too?
Photo from Temari 09 via flickr.