The LGBT community has not been freed from discrimination by this ruling though. Pennsylvania does not protect this population from discrimination at work or in housing along with other civil rights granted to others, based on religion, ability, race, etc. etc.
Sexuality remains a very polarizing topic, with moral and amoral judgments placed on it from all sides. But this perspective is very limiting and ignores varying degrees of acceptance across cultures and millennia.
Humans are more than 7 billion people strong on this planet. That is a huge number. With 7 billion people, can there really only be 1 good kind of love – 1 man to 1 woman – and no other consenting possibilities? Can there really be one good kind of sex – 1 man and 1 woman – and no other consenting possibilities? Can there really only be one good perspective of gender – either man or woman – and no other possibilities?
As our understanding of gender and sexuality begins to incorporate the real experiences of a growing percentage of the population, a more fluid view of these concepts is taking hold scientifically – even logically – if less so empathically or emotionally.
Gender is loaded with societal and cultural norms and in many cultures is binary – that is only viewed as male or female, but this doesn't adequately fit some people, and if we really sat down and broke down the roles and norms of each gender, we would find many more of us bridge these 2 possibilities.
From a biological perspective, we're all conceived as female, and it's not until hormones kick in that male sex organs develop. Are we to believe that nature has been doing this perfectly billions and billions of times? Transgender is the most obvious example of the human experience outside of the male or female paradigm, and it's frightening to some people, but fear is not permission to discriminate.
The term bisexual has bridged the gay and straight labels for some time now, but has shared in negative reactions from both ends of the spectrum. Asexuality sits outside of the spectrum and has been equally derided from all sides. Pansexual, polyamorous, queer … the list can go on.
It's the ongoing list, I think, that makes people uncomfortable. The sexual binary of straight (good) and homosexual (bad) has expanded, and using the waning dominant view that “not straight is amoral,” there is growing immorality. But everyone knows someone who is in a different part of the spectrum than themselves and who they wouldn't define as or even know them as bad people, breaking down the model further.
So why not have a larger table for all?
If you are coming to terms with your own sexual or gender identity, or finding difficulty in how the world around you responds to you, the therapists at PhiladelphiaMFT are hear to listen and help you complete your journey to identity acceptance as well developing the resources and support you need to feel safe in your world.
This Topic of the Week was written by Brian Swope, MFT.