Being gay is not a prerequisite

I have an announcement for those of you who think it is so important for folks who are gay to make themselves known to others in the room—it’s not. Being gay is not a requirement for anything in life. It might be a part of many individuals, including myself, but it does not dictate my life.

This thought came to mind over the weekend as I was reading about an Arizona Republican sheriff turned Congressional candidate who was in hot water because he secretly had a lover that was apparently in the United States illegally, all the while being tough as nails on illegal immigration. The reaction from other opponents was not about him being hypocritical about a particularly hot-button issue. It was the fact that he did not let the general public know that he was—gasp!—gay.

So why do we assume that in order to be a law enforcement leader, you have to be married or dating someone of the opposite sex? Being gay does not preclude you from knowing right from wrong. It does not mean you don’t know how to shoot a gun or put a psycho bad guy down on the ground.

It is also possible to be gay and a Republican, too. Granted, the Republican Party is the political poster child for the definition of marriage being between a man and a woman, but they have other philosophies that can make them seem endearing. In fact, there are enough gay Republicans to form a group called the Log Cabin Republicans. Being gay does not constitute automatic lifetime membership as a Democrat.

A long time ago, it was encouraged for gay people to let the world know their sexuality as we struggled to gain equality. You couldn’t admit you were gay and expect to last long in the military. You couldn’t always admit you were gay on the job if you hoped to keep it. While being gay still carries a certain amount of risk, it’s not like you’re required to announce it the same as if you’re a registered sex offender.

Being gay does not mean you have blond hair. Being gay does not mean you have hazel eyes. Being gay does not mean you’re more likely to be in the theatre, just like being straight doesn’t give you a predilection for athletics and sports. Being gay does not even mean you’ll be a drag queen. (Yep, straight guys do it, too!) I’ve written several gay romances, but there are also some straight women who write gay fiction, so the thought that you have to be gay to write about gay love flies right out the window, too.

Maybe Sheriff Paul Babeu of Pinal County, Arizona, did have a lover who was not supposed to be in this country. That, combined with the fact that he stands firmly against illegal immigration, leads people to question his credibility as a politician. However, his sexuality has nothing to do with his truthfulness, as he could have been a straight man with an illegal immigrant female lover. Condemn the man for being a liar or a hypocrite. Don’t condemn him for being gay, though.

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