Thursday, May 10, 2012

Hey straight friends,

Can we talk about something for a minute? You might find it a little uncomfortable, but several of you have prompted the need for this, so just bear with me.

I'm going to speak for all gay people here for a second and tell you that we really appreciate your support. Seriously. All you "straight but not narrow" folks are super awesome, and we obviously couldn’t have made any advances in gay rights without your help. So don't think we're not grateful.

Like, you're awesome and you love gay people and you would totally be gay for Kristen Bell or Lucy Lawless or Daniel Craig or whatever. We get it. We know how open-minded you are. Which is what makes this next part so hard. And now I'm just speaking for myself, though I don't doubt that others feel the same way I do.

Sometimes, we really just want you to shut up.

I'm referring specifically to times when you say things like, "Hey, guys, I know this fighting for your rights thing is tough, but remember to be nice, okay? Love will win out in the end! Peace!" It's frustrating. More importantly, it's incredibly condescending. Because you really have no idea what this is like.

Has there been a point in your life where you've had to watch people go to the polls and vote on whether or not you should be able to marry your significant other? Do you think if you were to head off to the hospital with your spouse, anyone would question your relationship or deny you the right to make important decisions? If your spouse dies, is anyone going to say you can't have access to his/her Social Security benefits or pension?

The answer to all of the above questions is an unequivocal "No." So as much as you think you understand, you really, truly don't. Not all the way. You can't.

And while it's easy to talk about love and tolerance, I want you to tell me how you'd feel if you were walking down the street with someone of the same sex who happened to be your girlfriend (not even touching that person, for the record) and someone yelled, "Dykes!" out the window. Would you just throw up a peace sign and track down that person to invite her to dinner? When a customer service representative at an insurance company says you can't do something because what you have is not a "real marriage," are you going to pleasantly thank her and wish her well? If so, you're obviously a much better person than I am.

I wasn’t bullied in school. In eighth grade, a stupid bitch at a cafeteria table said, "Are you a dyke?" And guess what? As a 13-year-old I didn't know what the word meant, so I answered honestly: "I don't know." I'm sure the group of kids involved in that mess had some fun at my expense, but I don't remember it. For the most part, I've been pretty well accepted, save a few incidents of people yelling derogatory terms out of car windows and people at insurance agencies treating me poorly. I'm one of the lucky ones.

But when I hear, quite often, about stories of children who are bullied about "being gay" so much that they end up killing themselves, I am not even a little bit interested in having someone tell me that I need to just calm down and love my enemy. I don't love my enemy. I don't love anyone who would cause as much pain as my enemy has caused.

Here's the deal. You can tell me about the civil rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s and talk about how MLK preached love and tolerance in his effort to get civil rights. And we have a black president now, so everything is okay, right? Well, tell that to Trayvon Martin.

And you can say that hate doesn't help anyone, even the opposition. But who is in power right now? The bigots. And do you know why they are in power? Because hate is fucking powerful, and they are using every ounce of it they can possibly muster. And they're winning. Even with the president supporting us (symbolically), they are still winning. So who are you to tell me that my side isn't allowed to employ those same tactics?

When a state passes a law that puts it in that state's fucking constitution that same sex couples cannot ever get married, don't get on Facebook and tell us to play nice. You didn't just have your rights stripped from you. I am absolutely entitled to call someone an idiot when they believe that I am somehow inferior because I have a wife instead of a husband. I've earned that right. So let me be angry. Anger is passion. Anger is fuel. And while it can sometimes be counterproductive, it can also often be motivating and inspiring.

Have you heard MLK's "I Have A Dream" speech? Like, actually listened to it? Then please don’t tell me you can't hear the anger. Yes, he's inspirational and all that. But he is also angry. He is not talking about this dream he had in which he was riding a pony through a brilliant meadow. He had to fucking dream about his children getting to have equal rights because in that climate, they simply did not have that chance. Don't you think that would make anyone angry?

I'm not saying that I want to just get a bullhorn and pull a Westboro Baptist Church and make some horrible signs that emphasize how I feel about people who hide behind the bible as a justification for absolute hatred and intolerance (though if I wanted to do just that, I would be perfectly entitled). I am saying that if North Carolina wants to tell me I'm not equal, and I say, "Fuck North Carolina," that's perfectly acceptable. If people who supported that law decide they're going to celebrate by eating wedding cake, and I say I hate those people, that's okay, too. And not for you to judge. Because I do hate them. I'm not turning the other cheek. I'm looking them straight in the face and I'm telling them that they are awful and that I hate them.

When you tell me to do anything even resembling loving my enemy and that these things take time, I want to scream. There's absolutely no reason that in a democratic republic, any citizen should have to wait any amount of time at all to have the same rights as his/her neighbor.

So instead of talking about love and understanding and being nice and cute with the people who spend their days trying to destroy my life, you should be getting fired up and ready to go. Get angry. Join me.


Anonymous said...

You do have the same rights as your neighbor. Exactly the same.

Erin said...

Thanks for stopping by!