Sunday, September 8, 2013

Our Need for Community

The human species needs a sense of community.  Tribes, clans, nations all reflect that need for a collective sense of wellness.  We join churches and join clubs in need of being around people with similar beliefs and interests.  Within these communities we chart history, mark milestones, and develop traditions.
Studies have shown that these community relationships are as important as our family and close personal relationships.  The stronger and larger community ties make us healthier and happier.
Short of death and physical torture, the most severe punishments involve solitary confinement, excommunication, shunning, shipping off to a penal colony.
If you wonder why GLBT people want to live openly authentic lives, this is why - Community.
At one time I did not support the notion of gay marriage.  I thought it foolish to want to mimic an institution that has not be so successful in recent years.  But now I believe we need a return to what marriage is supposed to be and it does not matter if it is same sex or not.  The ritual of marriage should not just be something private between two people.  It is an important community foundation.
Finding a life partner is a really important thing.  Our friends and family should be part of that process.  When they are not, we don't have as broad a view as when they are part of the process.
Think of friends or relatives who were dating someone who was totally wrong for them.  If they married that person, what happened?  Think of others that you felt were totally right for one another.  Did they separate later?  Were family and friends involved in their lives?  Did they trust their friends and family to be involved?
I am sure everyone would agree that we all want a life companion.  That is the most important commitment of marriage.  Just as important is community and the community's commitment to support and encourage that marriage.  I'm a better person when I have friends and family near encouraging me to tackle a problem a different way or to choose my battles more carefully.
Many people believed that shunning GLBT people - making them outcasts - would serve as a deterrent.  Most people now understand that becoming un-gay is not going to happen.  The next step has been - ok, you're gay, so do you have to make a big deal out of it? 
Look at it from the need for community and you may understand.  It is a big deal.  To build a stronger society, we all need a sense of community and acceptance.  That's what GLBT people are fighting for - a sense of community and full acceptance.

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