Thursday, April 26, 2012

This video makes me uncomfortable

The Campaign for Equal Marriage video, Homecoming, made me uncomfortable.

As I am sure you are aware if you read my blogs or follow me on Twitter or Facebook, I support marriage equality. I want people to be able to marry each other if they want to, or have civil partnerships if they want to, regardless of gender. I want religions that want to perform marriages to be able to marry whoever they want.

So why did the video make me uncomfortable?

The main thing was the military setting. I'm a pacifist. I accept that wars happen sometimes, and that soldiers also carry out peacekeeping roles, but I think that we should do everything in our power to avoid war, and not to glorify it. The guy who is coming home is clearly returning from a military campaign (presumably in the Middle East as he is wearing desert camouflage). Given the controversy over Britain's recent wars in the Middle East, I find this difficult.

Then there's the statement at the end of the video "All men can be heroes: all men can be husbands". This has its good points, in that it undermines the myth that gay men are "effeminate" - but it also reinforces the view that gay men are OK if they're butch, but not if they're effeminate. And what about women who want to marry? What about bisexual and transgender people? What about disabled people who want a same-sex marriage? The statement is almost (but not quite) saying that being prepared to die for your country is what confers civil rights (so no marriage equality for conscientious objectors, then). No - being a citizen of a country is what confers civil rights.

Many GSD (gender and sexually diverse) people have criticised the marriage equality campaign for trying to make GSD people too much like the straights, and/or seeking to reassure the straights that we are just like them. I can understand this criticism; I do not want to be straight, I have never wanted to be straight, and I don't want to reassure the straight population that we are just like them. I think this video is a prime example of trying to reassure the straights that we are just like them. Would I be right in thinking that this video is aimed at people who read the Daily Mail?

What I did like about the video was the tender expressions on the faces of the two men, and the kneeling to propose marriage, and putting the wedding ring on the guy's finger. That was lovely. Put it in a non-military setting and I'll watch it lots.

But please, can we have a video with two guys, or two women, or both, in an ordinary setting?

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