The "gay agenda" | LZ Granderson | TEDxGrandRapidsJun 09, 2021
Transcriber: Leonardo Silva Reviewer: aknv tso Hello! Oh God. Nobody has started drinking yet. Everyone feels somewhat happy and excited. Good, because I hope you remember what we talked about, at least up to this point. After that, you will be alone. When I was about sixteen years old, I remember flipping through the channels at home during summer vacation, looking for a movie to watch on HBO. And how many of you remember Ferris Bueller's day off? Oh yeah. Great movie, right? Well, I saw Matthew Broderick on the screen and thought, "Sweet! Ferris Bueller. I'll watch this!" It wasn't Ferris Bueller.
And forgive me, Matthew Broderick. I know you've done other movies besides Ferris Bueller, but that's how I remember you. You are Ferris. But you weren't doing "Ferrisy" stuff at the time. You were doing gay stuff at the time. He appeared in a movie called Torch Song Trilogy. And Torch Song Trilogy was based on a play about this drag queen who was essentially looking for love. Love and respect. That's what the whole movie was about. And as I watch it I realize that they are talking about me. Not the drag queen part. I won't shave my hair for anyone.
But the gay part, the friendly love and respect, the trying to find your place in the world part. So as I watch this, I see this powerful scene that made me cry and that has stayed with me for the last 25 years. And it's this quote that the main character, Arnold, says to his mother, as they fight over who he is and the life he lives: "There's one more thing you better understand. I taught myself to sew, cook, fixing pipes, building furniture. I can even pat myself on the back, when necessary. Plus, I don't have to ask anyone for anything.
I don't need anything from anyone, except love and respect, and anyone who can." Not giving me those two things has no place in my life." I remember that scene like it was yesterday. I was sixteen years old, I was crying, I was in the closet and I was looking at these two people, Ferris Bueller and a guy I had never seen before , (Laughs) fighting for love. When I finally got to a place in my life where I came out and accepted who I was, and I was very happy, to tell you the truth, I was happily gay and I guess that's supposed to be right, because "gay" means "happy" too.
I realized that a lot of people were not as gay as me, "gay" was "happy", not "gay" who was attracted to the same sex. (Laughs) In fact , I heard there was a lot of hate, a lot of anger, a lot of frustration, and a lot of fear about who I was and the gay lifestyle. Now, I'm sitting here trying to figure out "the gay lifestyle," "the gay lifestyle." And I keep hearing this word over and over again, “lifestyle,” “lifestyle,” lifestyle.” I have even heard politicians say that the gay lifestyle is a greater threat to civilization than terrorism.
That's when I got scared. ! (laughs) Because I'm thinking, "If I'm gay and I'm doing something that's going to destroy civilization, I have to find out what this is and I have to stop doing it right now!" (Laughs) So, I took a look at my life, a hard look at my life, and I saw some very disturbing things. (Laughs) And I want to start sharing these bad things I've been doing with you, starting with my mornings. (Laughs) I drink coffee. I don't just drink coffee, I know other gay people who drink coffee. (Laughs) I get stuck in traffic.
Evil, evil traffic! Sometimes I get stuck in queues at airports! I look around and say, "Oh my God! Look at all these gay people! We're all stuck in these lines, these long lines, trying to get on the plane! Oh my God! This lifestyle I'm living It's tremendously evil!" (Laughs) I clean. This is not an actual photograph of my son's room. Yours is messier. (Laughs) And, since I have a fifteen-year-old son, all I do is cook, cook, cook. Are there parents of teenagers? All we do is cook for these people! They eat two, three, four dinners a night!
It's ridiculous! (Laughs) This is the gay lifestyle. And after I'm done cooking, cleaning, standing in line, and getting stuck in traffic, my partner and I get together and decide that we're going to go have some wild, crazy fun. (Laughs) We used to be in bed before we found out who got eliminated on American Idol. (Laughs) We have to wake up and find out the next day who's next, because we're too tired to hear who's left. This is the super dumb and evil gay lifestyle. (laughs) Run for your straight lives, people! (Laughter) (Applause) When my partner Steve and I started dating, he told me the story of the penguins.
And at first I didn't know where I was going with it. He was a little nervous when he shared it with me. But he told me that, when a penguin finds a partner with whom he wants to spend the rest of his life, he gives him a pebble. The perfect pebble. And then he reaches into his pocket and pulls this out. I looked at it and thought, "This is really cool." And he says, "I want to spend the rest of my life with you." So, I use this whenever I have to do something that makes me a little nervous, like, I don't know, a TEDx talk. (laughs) I use it when I'm separated from him for a long period of time, and sometimes I use it just because.
How many people are there in love? Anyone in love out there? You might be gay. (laughs) Because I'm in love too and apparently that's part of the gay lifestyle I warned you about. (Laughter) (Applause) You might want to tell your spouse, who, if he's in love, might be gay too. How many of you are single? Any single people out there? You might be gay too, because I know some gay people who are also single. This gay lifestyle is very scary. It's super evil and has no end. It goes and goes and swallows. It's really quite silly, isn't it?
That's why I'm so happy to finally hear President Obama come out and say... (Applause) (Applause) that he supports marriage equality. It's a wonderful day in the history of our country, it's a wonderful day in the history of the world to be able to have a sitting president saying "enough of this," first to himself and then to the rest of the world. It is wonderful. But there's something that's been bothering me since he made that comment a little while ago. And apparently, this is just another movement by homosexual activists that is on the "Gay Agenda." And this worries me because I have been openly gay for quite some time.
I have been to all the functions. I have attended fundraisers, written about it, and have yet to receive my copy of this "Gay Agenda." (Laughter) I've paid my dues on time... (Laughter) I've marched with gay pride flags, parades and all that, and I've yet to see a copy of the "Gay Agenda." I was very, very frustrated. I felt left out, like I wasn't gay enough. But then something wonderful happened. I was shopping, as I usually do, and came across a brochure from the official Gay Agenda. And I said to myself: "LZ, for so long you have been denied this.
When you get in front of this crowd, you will share the news, you will spread the Gay Agenda, so that no one else has to wonder: "What exactly is in it? the Gay Agenda?" 'What are these gays doing?' (Laughter) 'What do you want?'" So, without further ado, I will present to you, ladies and gentlemen, (and be careful, because it is evil) a copy, the official copy of the Gay Agenda. (Music) The Gay Agenda, people! (Applause) (Cheers) There it is. Did you absorb it all? The gay
agenda! Some of you may be calling it "The Constitution of the United States"?
Is that what you call it too? The United States Constitution is the Gay Agenda. These gays, people like me, want to be treated as full citizens. And it's all written! In sight! I was blown away when I saw it! I was like, "Wait! Is this the Gay Agenda? Why didn't you just call it "The Constitution" so I knew what you were talking about? I wouldn't have been so confused! I wouldn't have been so confused. so angry!" But... there it is! The gay
agenda. Run for your heterosexual lives. (Laughter) Did you know that in every state where there is no shading, gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender people can be kicked out of their apartments for being gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender?
That's the only reason a landlord needs to have them removed, because there is no protection against discrimination against GLBT people. Did you know that in no-shadow states, you can be fired for being gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender, not for the quality of your work, how long you've been there, or whether you stink? Only if you are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. All of which goes against the Gay Agenda, also known as the United States Constitution, specifically this little Amendment here: "No state shall make or enforce any law restricting the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States." USA".
I'm looking at you, North Carolina, but you're not looking at the Constitution of the United States. This is the Gay Agenda, equality. Not special rights, but rights that have already been written by these people, these elitists, so to speak. Educated, well dressed... (Laughter) Some would dare to say "Questionably dressed"... (Laughter) However, our ancestors, right? The people who, we say, knew what they were doing when they wrote the Constitution, the Gay Agenda, if you will. All of that goes against what they did. That's why I felt it was imperative to present this copy of the Gay Agenda to you, because I thought that if I made it fun, you wouldn't feel as threatened.
I thought if I was a little irreverent, you wouldn't find it serious. But when you look at the map and you look at our state of Michigan, it is legal to fire someone for being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. It is legal to remove someone from her home because she is gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. But you'll realize that this whole conversation about marriage equality isn't about taking away someone's rights. It is about granting them the rights that have already been declared. And we're just trying to respect those rights that have already been declared, that we've already agreed to.
There are people who live in fear of losing their jobs! So they don't show anyone who they really are! Right here, at home. It's not just about North Carolina. In all those states that were made clear it is legal. If I could brag for a second, I have a fifteen-year-old son from my marriage. He has a 4.0. He is starting a new club at school, “Policy Debate.” She is a track star in the making. She holds almost every high school record in every event in which she competed. He is a volunteer. He prays before eating. I'd like to think, as his father, and he lives mostly with me, that I have something to do with all of that.
I'd like to think he's a good guy, a respectful young man. I'd like to think I've proven myself to be a capable father. But if I went to the state of Michigan today and tried to adopt a young man who is in an orphanage, I would be disqualified for one reason only: because I am gay. It doesn't matter what I've already proven, what I can do with my heart. It is because of what the state of Michigan says I am that I am disqualified from any type of adoption. And that's not just about me. These are many other Michiganders, American citizens, who don't understand why what they are is so much more important than who they are.
This story continues to repeat itself over and over again in the history of our country. There was a time when, I don't know, people who were black couldn't have the same rights. People who were women did not have the same rights: they could not vote! There was a time in our history when, if you were deemed disabled, an employer could simply fire you, before the Americans with Disabilities Act. We keep doing this over and over again! And here we are, 2012, Gay Agenda, gay lifestyle, and I'm not a good father, and people don't deserve to be able to protect their families, for who they are, not for who they are.
So when you hear the words “gay lifestyle” and “Gay Agenda” in the future, I encourage you to do two things. One: remember the United States Constitution. And then two: If you don't mind looking to the left of him, please. Look to your right. That person next to you is a brother, she is a sister, and she should be treated with love and respect. Thank you. (Applause)
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