“In the past, comics companies have tended to suggest diversity should ‘happen naturally,’ as if when you leave a comic book open overnight gay men might grow in the pages like mustard and cress, so it’s great that Marvel are now championing it, doing it deliberately. Because that’s the only way it can be done. Jeanine’s [Schaefer, his editor on Wolverine] a force for change. And there are a number of prominent female editors now who are altering the face of pro comics culture pretty swiftly.
Online comics fandom, meanwhile, if you judge solely by the comics message boards, remains conservative and behind the times. The action is to be found on Tumblr, where the Carol Corps lives.”
For a very long time, I’ve said that marriage equality is one of my ‘soapbox issues.’ Indeed, anyone who knows me well, knows that it’s one of the topics I’ll get angry and argue about. The Prop 8 battle a few years ago was the only time I’ve actually physically gone out and protested something. I’ve discussed this, with varying levels of passion, with friends, co-workers and family. And, to be honest, I’ve always been quite proud of myself for standing up for my beliefs on this issue.
This week, we’re surrounded by the discussion of marriage equality and gay rights. The SCOTUS could make huge decisions that could, potentially, change history. So, I should be really happy and excited because my soap box issue is getting so much focus and discussion.
Instead, I find myself somewhat deflated. Not because I think the issue is no longer relevant or valid; quite the opposite. But rather, it occurs to me how completely ridiculous it is that the fundamental concept that people should have the right to choose who they spend their lives with is actually something we have to argue and protest about.
Chocolate is one of my favorite things in the whole world. It helps cheer me up when I’m feeling sad, I share it with people socially and I have long, argumentative discussions about who makes the best chocolate and why.
One of my dearest friends in the world doesn’t like chocolate at all. If she never saw a piece of chocolate again, it would be too soon. And yet, she and I get along fine. I sometimes even eat chocolate in front of her and neither of us are bothered by it.
But what if other people were bothered by it? What if a huge proportion of the world believed that liking chocolate was natural and proper for humans and that anyone who didn’t like chocolate was a freak? And what if, when my friend decides to eat a chocolate dipped Dairy Queen cone, the world protested and pointed and used it as an example of how she acutally DOES like chocolate but she’s just faking dislike for the attention?
What if I had to attend protests and sign petitions just to allow my friend to choose vanilla instead of chocolate? If Facebook and Twitter were deluged in people changing their profile pictures to show their support for candy choices?
It occurs to me that the marriage equality issue is about as ridiculous as that. We are literally depriving people of rights based on choices they make about what makes them happy. Why does this matter? And why does it matter so much that I’m forced to make this one of the DEFINING ISSUES OF MY PERSONALITY AND BELIEF SYSTEM? Aren’t there enough other issues, actual real relevant problems in the world? Do we really need to fight over chocolate and vanilla? Wouldn’t our time be better spent elsewhere?
I hope that the events of this week and the cultural changes we’re seeing will eventually make this issue as irrelevant as what candy someone prefers. I look forward to telling the stories of my protests to kids and having them look at me like I was crazy because why would anyone think that’s even an issue. I hope those days are soon. And I hope I’ll be able to find a new soap box. This one is just silly.