Today, July 3rd, would have been my Uncle Tom’s birthday. Sadly, he died in 2001.
A devout catholic, he moved to Washington, DC in his later years and helped found PLAGAL, The Pro-Life Alliance of Gays and Lesbians. They faced opposition from both communities they sought to represent. The organization was banned from participating in March for Life rallies, while also belittled in the pages of The Advocate. The Pro-Life community saw their views as tangled up with the gay rights movement and not solely based on religious convictions. To the Gay and Lesbian community, a Pro-Life choice was seen as anti-woman, and an example of the government ruling on the personal lives of its citizens (which could become detrimental for the gay rights movement in general).
While Tom and I may disagree, his argument has some merit and is the product of a certain time and place. Primarily, it’s the product of the rumor that scientists were trying to locate the “gay gene.”
The discovery of the “gay gene”, which most of us are convinced exists, will be a double-edged sword for gays and lesbians when and if it happens. On the one hand, it would demolish forever the argument that gays “choose” their orientation and are thus undeserving of protected minority status like African-Americans or the handicapped. But on the other hand, if the exact cause of our sexual orientation could be determined, it would be no time at all before science offered a “cure” for homosexuality – perhaps not for those of us who are already legally recognized as persons in our own right, but certainly for prospective parents who might be “at risk” of giving birth to a gay son or lesbian daughter. And if the cure turned out to be too expensive – well, there would be another option for parents who didn’t want the responsibility of bringing a “different” child into the world. Thanks to Roe v. Wade, they could always choose abortion.
Tom has become an inspiration, and a real hero of mine for the pure fact that he stood up, even when it was unpopular with both of the communities he felt deeply connected to.
The excerpt above is from an article Tom wrote, called “A World Without Gays? Beam Me Up, Scotty!” which you can read by clicking the title. For those who are interested, PLAGAL is still around and could always use a few more hands.