Gay Marriage... And Your Health?

 And She Loves You Right Back!

You may have thought that the Supreme Court decisions yesterday ending discrimination against gay marriages were nice, but not really relevant to your quest for better health and fitness.

But hey, would you like to lower your blood pressure, shed excess belly fat, be happier, lift stronger and live longer?

Bear with me as Cranky Fitness yet again manages to take a topic that might seem to have nothing to do with health and fitness, and attempts to uncover the amazing secret health benefits hidden within!

Yeah, so this is really a post written because I was SO HAPPY about the decisions yesterday that I had to blog about it.  As you can see from the photo above, I am the luckiest human on earth to have a wonderful wife and supportive family. And finally, federal legal recognition.

Things looked quite gloomy on the civil rights front until very recently. Not that long ago most states were falling all over themselves to amend their constitutions as quickly as possible to make sure no gay people could ever, ever see equal treatment under the law.  And many of our supposed liberal political allies, including President Obama, were right on board with that sentiment.

What changed?

The cultural climate.  Social attitudes.  Media messages.  Institutional policies and priorities.  Water cooler conversations.

(And sure, the Supreme Court justices are not supposed to be swayed by stuff like that but you know damn well they are.)

So what created this sudden and amazing change in the cultural climate?

You did!  Thank you, Cranky Fitness readers!

You came here without giving a hoot whether the Lobster was a boy or a girl and supported me for who I am and offered community and encouragement and made it easy to be "out." From the very beginning.

You and others like you grew increasingly tired of hostile work environments and policies, casual hateful remarks, discriminatory local laws, divisive politicians, and intolerance on all fronts. 

I wasn't sitting in a cube in your office building to see how you helped create a climate where a scared gay person could finally bring a partner to a company picnic and stop pretending he just hadn't found the right woman for 30 years. I wasn't in your church to see how you helped the congregation become more accepting and inclusive.  I wasn't at your dinner table to see how you handled a teen's comments about the faggot who got beat up the other day behind the bleachers.

And some of you are gay, and live in places where that could get you fired or bullied or ostracized, and I don't know exactly how you found the courage to tell more friends, family members and people in the community.  But you did, which forced them to realize that their attitudes were hurting people they cared about, not just a few random screaming drag queens they saw in some parade on the news.

Anyway, I'm not sure how you all turned the tide but you did and I am so grateful!!!! 

So what does this have to do with health and fitness?

Well, let's see: looking around the nation, it seems we have a lot of people who are not taking care of their health and do not have strong, energetic and disease-free bodies. They are stressed and often sad and ashamed of themselves.  So why don't they have the motivation and ability to make the necessary changes to become fit and happy?

Could it have anything to do with the cultural climate?  Social attitudes?  Media messages?  Institutional policies and priorities?  Water cooler conversations?

Can you imagine how much easier it would be to achieve our health goals, for unfit and fit alike, if there were safe bike paths and trails and grocery stores and restaurants full of healthy stuff? If enough people stopped consuming junk so that retailers stopped carrying so much of it, and there was just a small special section for it behind a curtain, sort of like where porn used to be back when there were video stores?

What if no one bought magazines or watched tv shows that told women that they should be skinny and "beautiful" above all else? And that women who don't look like underweight and possibly malnourished models should fear eating food at all and hate their bodies and be embarrassed?

What if we looked around and all our friends and neighbors and coworkers were exercising and eating healthy food.  And were sharing stir fry recipes and exercise tips rather than commiserating about the size of their thighs?

Ooh, and what if it was considered totally normal to set aside a chunk of your day for stress reduction and working out and even napping?

But that would take a lot of people challenging norms and speaking up and boycotting and having different conversations at work or at PTA meetings, planning commissions, boardrooms, or at family gatherings.  Is it really possible?

That would take a lot of courage.  It's hard to stand out and speak up.  Changing societal attitudes takes a really, really long time.

Doesn't it?

Oh dear, I'm sounding all preachy again! What do you guys think? Mostly I'm just REALLY happy today! Back to health and fitness next week, I promise!

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