Essays on Technology and Culture


Sometimes, the words aren’t there.

Sometimes, the words are there, but they’re not the ones considered appropriate for the situation. They’re four-letter words, or compounds and derivatives thereof, often beginning with the letter F. Those words convey emotion, important and powerful emotion. Those words are cathartic.

They don’t make for a good essay.

Right now, the four-letter invectives I’m summoning are aimed at legislation—signed into law in Indiana, and heading to the governor’s desk in Arkansas—that makes it legal for business owners to discriminate against people for their sexual orientation. More than legal—protected.

Thankfully, the backlash has been swift, and serious, from Tim Cook’s inspiring Op Ed in The Washington Post, to the Front Page of The Indianapolis Star.

Yet, I’m still having trouble finding polite words. I don’t know why polite words are necessary right now.


I’ve not kept my own sexuality much of a secret among people I know. I came out publicly as bisexual after Tim Cook’s announcement of his homosexuality in October. If the leader of one of the biggest companies in the world can be openly gay, a schmuck like me can be openly bisexual. After all, visibility matters. There was a time, before and after I realized my sexual orientation, when I didn’t really see the point. I thought the battle had been won, and the end of the war was in sight.

Laws like the Religious Freedom Restoration Act are proof of why visibility matters. Would the horrible humans who drafted this legislation, who voted for it, and signed it into law had even considered assenting to it if someone they knew—a friend, a family member, their child—were gay?

I can’t speak for any of them, but I’m the the answer for some would be yes. Some people are just that hateful.

But others, I’m certain, would change their minds if they knew that someone close to them would be a victim of legalized hatred and discrimination for something they have no control over.

We have to do something. Speaking out only is the start. Boycotts are only a start.

The only thing that’ll keep this terrible nonsense, and future horrors like the (thankfully failed) Kentucky bill that offered a bounty for outing transgendered individuals, is to vote the hateful, spiteful bigots out of office, and keep new ones from being voted in. It has to happen at the state, local, and federal levels.

I have friends online and off who are of devout faith. They know who I am, and my orientation, and even if their religion doesn’t like it, they’ve treated me as I treat them—with kindness and respect. With love. If only the people in government who claim to be of faith, who claim to speak for people of faith would treat us all the same way. Maybe then we in the LGBT community wouldn’t have to exhaust ourselves in fighting to be seen as the human beings we are.

Maybe I had the words after all.