"You guys don't understand. You've already lost. My generation doesn't care."
Now I don't think that this girl speaks for the entirety of her generation...but...Following her comment into a line of thought, one paints a mental picture of a day when it doesnt matter what your sexual orientation is because for this young lady's generation...its a non issue. But is it?...
The very first thing that pops into my mind when I read her comment was an image of a future where gay men, women, trans folk... can walk down the street in any town and hold hands without worry of violence. A world were gays are just another part of of the fabric of everyday humanity. Or...as a few young people have a expressed...a world where people don't even think of themselves in terms of gay or straight anymore...a thought that I confess scares me just a bit...but..Overall it sounds like a wonderfull future where people are free to express their love with out fear of violence or legal sanction.
All of this puts me in mind of another time when a generation of young people dreamed of Utopia. Hippies, Flower Children, free love, freedom from autoritarian powers, communes...a dream where individuals lived their lives according to the dictates of their hearts rather than the expectations of society or tradition....this was my fathers generation. It was the age of Aquarius remember...it was all gonna change..
Songs like this one and "Love The One Your With" defined a young generations attitudes toward sex and society.
Now...my father was not a hippie...when I was growing up, he never had good things to say about anyone who practiced "free love". He was himself raised rather conservatively and when the time came when he could enlist...off he went to the navy...and Vietnam. However, no matter what political side of the fence you lived on...the 60's left its mark...and the stories he tells of those times...even the stories he WON'T tell me bear that out. No one lived that decade and came out unchanged by its upheaval. It was a world undergoing monumental change on almost every front...there was war, changing attitudes to sex and gender roles, and an utter rejection of the social mores of the older generations...just to name a few of the birth pangs of the 60's and they sound like a close description of today.
As a child of those who directly experienced that decade, its interesting to see how that generations ideals played itself out as it became the generation in power and became the ones who held the reigns of money and government. When I think about the stories, documentaries, and the history that I know about the 60's and the much mellower people who I see today...there is a disconnect of ideals and action. After all, we don't all live in communes today. There are no more "love ins". We don't live in free love society that eschews war at all costs. We still very much have tradtional families, societal expectation, war, corporate greed, and governmental abuse of power. As they aged, many flower children blended back into society...a few still tenaciously hanging onto their ideals, even today...others consigning those dreams to the days of their youth.
So what of comments like the ones from the Senators daughter that her generation doesn't care about sexuality. Will that bare out over time when they get older and it gets harder...and more important, to live your ideals and as life begins to impose its realities upon them? Will many simply fade back into the whitenoise of "the way its always been" and become a slightly more tolerant version of their parents?
Thinking further on it...I know that even though the flower children of the 60's may have become wild roses, the world is a much different place for having experienced that time...and its lagacy still live in the hearts and minds of many. While we don't live in a post-racial society...yet...neither do we live with the degree of open prejudice and injustice present in my fathers day. While we don't live in a post-sexism society...women live vastly different lives then they did just a generation ago. The 60's really changged how we thought about ourselves and how we fit into the world in which we find ourselves and even though the dream of Utopia did not litterally come to pass....many things are still changed forever because it was dreamed.
Likewise, we do not live in a post sexuality society. I doesn't matter whether you kissed a girl tonight...or even if you liked it. It doesn't matter if your not yourself tonight or if your looking for a little bad ...you know...
It also may not be Utopia as we understand it...But mayby the values and ideals of the coming generations will unlock the dam of fear and prejudice directed at gay and lesbian people...even if we never reach a day when people don't label themselves with a sexuality. Perhaps the world will be impacted significantly enough just from having dreamed that it was possible to be free of the fear and prejudice associated with them.
Every generation steps a little further forward than the last. Some...like mine..may only baby step, others leap ahead. And, if the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step, its a little humbling to realize that your whole life is only one step on that greater journey. In the end, it may not matter that we fall short of reaching that Idyllic state of Utopia...but that you believe in its possibility and keep reaching so that one day, someone can carry your torch through its gates.
Until then dear readers...a little something from the year I was born...I'll see you there...