CHE BELLO is disheartened…

December 5, 2009 at 5:41 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , )

There are days when I’m really excited about the future of the gay rights movement, like when the Iowa Supreme Court bravely stood up for equal protection under the law and made marriage legal for us ‘mos. And then there are days when something happens that’s so debilitatingly depressing that I wonder what I even care for. A few days ago I had one of those moments.

My younger brother is a sophomore in high school in the simultaneously rich and trashy city of Asheville, North Carolina. Since he lives with my mom and stepdad (currently deployed to Iraq), I don’t see him that often anymore, and he’s really grown up to be quite different than the little brother I was raised with. He skateboards, loves Bob Marley, shaves his head super-close, and basically possesses every attribute known to man that would make him my complete opposite. Not that I love him any less, it’s just hard to find things in common when the lil guy I used to know has been so adversely affected by his surroundings and the brainwashing of his father. (That’s a whole ‘nother post. The man once told me that “the Anti-Christ will be someone just like me.”)

Well, the other day he Facebook friended me. I thought nothing bad of it, clearly, and added him. Exchanged a few comments on pictures, etc. It was actually really nice, feeling like I had some sort of window into what was going on in his life, especially since my mom and I haven’t talked for a few months. Yeah, there were some things that gave me cause for concern, but it’s not my job to police his profile, and I said stupid stuff when I was younger too. But then up came a status update calling someone who didn’t show up for a fight afterschool a pussy and a faggot. Now, any of you readers who know me will instantly understand how my thoroughly nonviolent self reacted to the proposition that my brother had become just another street thug in baggy clothes looking for a fight after school, but that’s clearly not what upset me the most.

If we’ve built a culture that is so accepting of discrimination and hateful language against gays that our own families use those words without a moment’s thought about the consequences or messages they’re sending, how are we ever going to achieve equal rights? If it’s so ingrained in our culture that degrading gays, lesbians, and transgendered people is acceptable, and even cool, where does that leave the movement? Yes, I realize that the words and actions of schoolyard bullies may not reflect their true feelings, but haven’t we as a society failed in a fundamental way if it’s still okay to use these words?

And so, just days after New York State Senator Ruben Diaz lambasted the gay marriage movement as threatening traditional moral values, I’m fighting my own personal battle. Not with a state legislature, or with a panel of judges, or with the National Organization for Marriage, but with a 16-year old boy so caught up in the swirling social forces of high school that he’s blinded to how his language affects even his closest relatives.

Where do we even begin?

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CHE BELLO ponders language.

March 7, 2008 at 12:58 pm (Uncategorized) (, , )

One of my favorite quotes comes from Nobel laureate Toni Morrison. In a discussion of language’s usefulness to humans and the power it allows us to wield over our surroundings and interactions with each other, Morrison says: “We die. That may be the meaning of life. But we do language. That may be the measure of our lives.” Such a resounding affirmation of the ability of humans to communicate never fails to humble me. But what if that measure of our lives is measured differently?

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CHE BELLO learns Turkish.

March 1, 2008 at 4:35 pm (Saturday Sayings) (, , )

This week’s Saturday Saying comes to us from GobbleGobbleLand and is used to describe awkward actions, the motives behind which are unknown. Bayram degil, seyran degil. Eniste, beni niye optu? The pronunciation is fairly straightforward and rather entertaining ((don’t tell me you don’t giggle when you say nee-yay op-too)), but not as entertaining as the rough translation of this phrase: “It’s not festival time, it’s not vacation. So why did my brother-in-law just kiss me?”

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CHE BELLO learns French.

February 23, 2008 at 1:45 pm (Saturday Sayings) (, , , , , )

This week’s Saturday Saying comes to us from those pre-imminent connoisseurs of bread, wine, cheese, and everything fashionable, the French. It’s also the tiniest bit politically inspired. But, on to the phrase: cri de coeur. A cri de coeur is a heartfelt appeal, literally, a cry of the heart. And the best example I’ve come across in a long while came at the end of this week’s Democratic presidential nominee debate in Texas:

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