The Truth, Mainly - 06/03/1996

Hypothetical state of affairs puts straight folks in closet
by Leon Satterfield

As a teacher, I was going to begin by asking you to imagine that you're gay.

That would be my lead-in to a discussion of why some people are having a hard time with the Supreme Court's ruling two weeks ago. You know, the one where a 6-3 majority said it was unconstitutional for Colorado voters to nullify current and future city ordinances against anti-homosexual discrimination.

But as soon as you ask us heterosexuals to imagine we're gay, we cross our legs and lose intereste in anything else you might say.

So let me ask you to stay heterosexual, but to imagine you live in a mythical state where only 10 percent of us are straight and the other 90 percent are gay or lesbian.

Yes you can. Just imagine it. It's a mythical state.

Got it? OK. We're among the normal 10 percent of this mythical state and we're surrounded by the 90 percent who are perverts. Only they wouldn't see it that way. They'd say we're the perverts.

And they'd be disgusted by our sexual preferences. They'd make rude noises to show their disgust when they're around us.

Then do you know what they'd do? They'd rub our noses in their translations of Holy Writ, especially the Old Testament story of David and Jonathan and the New Testament commandment to love thy neighbor, gender not specified. And they'd look and look until they'd find other passages to justify what they do and to condemn what we do. Which they might even call an abomination.

They'd make us feel real bad.

(Don't be alarmed. This is not a real state. It's hypothetical.)

Then they'd try to reform us. If we don't reform, they'd say, we're choosing heterosexuality and we deserve whatever we get.

"Hey, we didn't choose anything," we might protest. "Why would we choose to get treated the way you're treating us?"

They'd tell us to stop listening to Satan, to get right with The Maker and become the healthy homosexuals we're supposed to be.

"Tell us," we might say, "how you chose to become homosexual. Was it a difficult choice?"

They'd cross their legs and give us this look as though we'd just asked them a question in Chinese.

"We didn't have to choose to be homosexual," they'd say, "any more than we had to choose to be biped. It's just natural."

We'd try to explain that it might be just as natural for us to be heterosexual as it is for them to be homosexual, and that if The Maker didn't want us to be straight, He shouldn't have made us this way.

That would drive them crazy. They'd call us sacrilegious. They'd call us lots of other things too, but this is a family newspaper.

When we'd get sick, they'd say it was The Maker's way of punishing abomination. When they'd get sick, they'd vote to fund medical research.

And they'd make funny movies about us. All the male heteros would walk like John Wayne and all the female heteros would walk like Marilyn Monroe. And both would always be ogling the body parts of the opposite sex.

The 90 percent in the movie theatre would laugh and laugh. The 10 percent would squirm—because we'd also been ogling the body parts of the opposite sex.

But we wouldn't be allowed to marry someone of the opposite sex. That kind of sexuality wouldn't be necessary anyway with the advances in artificial insemination. And of certainly the 10 percent wouldn't be allowed to corrupt children by raising them.

Many of us would stay in the closet, passing as gays and lesbians. That way, we'd be less likely to be disowned by our families, fired from our jobs, evicted from our apartments, or separated from our senses by heterophobic hoods.

But the militants amond us would argue that we're Americans too, that the Constitution doesn't exclude heterosexuals. And enough of the homosexual majority—in mythical places like Denver, Boulder, and Aspen—would be sufficiently moved by the argument that they'd pass local ordinances making it illegal to discriminate against us.

The trouble would come when 53 percent of the state's voters would be convinced that the heterosexuals were being given "special rights" by these ordinances, so they'd vote to outlaw them. Then the U.S. Supreme Court would step in and tell the voters that what they did is unconstitutional.

And that's about what happened two weeks ago. Any questions about why it happened? You, there on the back row.

Yeah, this will be on the final exam.


Lincoln English Professor Satterfield writes to salvage meaning from his confusion. His column appears on alternate Mondays.

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