I recently read an article from last month posted at the blog, The New Civil Rights Movement titled I Do Not Deserve Your Tolerance. The premise of the article was that, we [LGBT people] don’t deserve tolerance because, as so wonderfully put by the article, tolerance is something you give to people/things that don’t know any better than to do what they are doing – like a dog that jumps up on you because they are glad to see you. I made my way through the list of things that the writer “is” or “does” like sorting the recyclables at his apartment or holding the door for other people and saw something in it that made me think of something my mother told me used to exist, chivalry.
That got me to thinking about the gay rights movement of the 2000’s, and more particularly, my feelings toward tolerance. Generally, I’ve believed that tolerance was good compared to intolerance, but after reading that post, which was much more eloquently put than I could do it, I’ve decided I don’t want mere tolerance, there’s nothing about me that requires tolerance because I don’t affect you – you [anti-gay rights people] are affecting me. The truth is I have been tolerating “you” my entire life. I’ve tolerated the fact that you: beat me, insult me, deny me, loathe me, misrepresent me, lie about me and otherwise disenfranchise me. Chivalry generally means courtesy, generosity, valor, and dexterity in arms. I’ve always considered myself to be courteous, generous and even at times valiant. Now that I’ve decided to stop tolerating you, perhaps it is time to learn whether I meet the full definition of chivalrous.