Picture it: Anytown USA, circa 1994. A sheepish adolescent addresses their family at the dinner table. Sarah McLachlan plays on the compact disc player in the corner. The teen apologetically confesses to being gay.
Tolerance or ignorance ensues.
Either way, coming out has traditionally been a dour affair. Sexual orientation was often viewed as a condition rather than a celebration.
The track suddenly changes from McLachlan to REM’s “Everybody Hurts” as you prepare for the waterworks.
Fast forward to the queer and now. Attitudes have changed, (some) communities have become enlightened, and acceptance is more mainstream than it once was. But queer life in America is still synonymous with otherness and struggle.
Where’s the joy? Where’s the dancing? Where’s the party?
Answer: in Chile.
The South American nation just ratified marriage equality and they did it with a big, beautiful rainbow blast of enthusiasm.
A statement from President Sebastián Piñera declares, “True freedom is built by recognizing ourselves as equals in dignity and rights. Respecting and valuing the diversity of identities and life projects. And that freedom must also include the freedom to love.”
Swoon ignited. Please go on!
“Today is the time of Equal Marriage in our country. The time to deepen around the value of freedom and dignity. The time to consecrate the freedom to love and form a family, and the time for the dignity of all relationships of love and affection between two people.”
Reaching a crescendo of compassion, Piñera concludes, “Today is a good day for freedom, family, dignity, equality and appreciation and respect for the diversity of Chilean society. Because love is love. Long live love, long live Chile!”
We’re not going to pretend that Chile is suddenly a utopia of LGBTQ+ inclusion. After all, Pinochet lorded over a horrific dictatorship as recently as 1990. And the nation’s troubles aren’t relegated to the past. They are on the verge of electing a new president, and the frontrunners are depressingly divisive.
But the past is dead and the future is unwritten. We must take a breath of cleansing queer air and savor the moment in which we now revel.
So let’s all give a loud gay HOORAY to Chile on this day!
Photo: Facebook @movilh.chile
Last modified: December 14, 2021