A depressingly, confusingly, and oddly serious investigation on why I feel totally guilty about gay bashing, and a call to arms…
Recently, I had a very disturbing dream in which I was being bullied by practically everyone. I couldn’t walk down a street without encountering someone holding up a sign that said that I was a terrible person. I couldn’t turn on the tv without someone debating or questioning the validity of my life. My soul was being constantly battered by people telling me that I was awful and an abomination – and the clincher was I DIDN’T KNOW WHAT I HAD DONE THAT WAS SO WRONG. I didn’t think that I was evil or disgusting. I just thought I was me, and I was horribly saddened and confused by the fact that no one seemed to like me, or appreciate me, or even want me around. When I woke up (literally in a cold sweat), I realized that (although this has never happened to me personally) this is what happens to my gay friends on a daily basis. I never thought about what it must feel like to be marked and hunted and treated as though you’re less than human because of who you are – who you were, in fact, born to be. Let me tell you folks – I felt like a total fucking asshole.
I have pretty much always had gay friends. When you’re the weird chick in a small town high school, gays are your go-to folks on the friends front. They have a tendency to be more accepting and just generally nicer and (dare I say WAY smarter) than the I-Roq-driving douchebag alternatives. Because of the fact that I’d always been a friend to gay people, I didn’t think that I could possibly be responsible for what admittedly happens to them in our society. How many times, however, have I witnessed people being close-minded assholes about homosexuality and NOT SAID ANYTHING? How many times have I been sitting with a friend when someone made an off-color joke that clearly hit home, and not DONE ANYTHING? I may not have been an active participant in any gay bashing, but I was a party to it, and for that I am sincerely ashamed.
There are many things about gay people that I admire, (their sheer courage, their wonderful humor, their compassion towards others) but right now the thing I’m liking the most is that gay people seem to be able to affect political change in a way that is both positive and compelling.
Let’s just think, for a moment, about the word “gay.” Some of you campers may be too young to remember this, but when I was growing up, the word “gay” was like a mid-level cuss word (less than “fuck” and greater than “damn” or “hell”). It was also what you’d call a fighting word. If you called a kid “gay,” he was probably going to punch you square in the nose. Things have changed, however. Now the word “gay” doesn’t have the cuss word connotation attached to it – they use it on the news (even stupid, reeking, stinking, horrible, borderline illiterate, asshole brigadoon, FOX News) all the time. I don’t know if it’s still a punching offense in kid land to call another child “gay,” but it seems like some of the sting has gone out of the term even as an insult. It seems to me like now it’s more of a jibe that has nothing to do with homosexuality in and of itself. How did this happen? It happened because through education, humor, class and grace, homosexuals managed to change their own etymology. They changed a word without being caustic or resorting to violence. They took a word that was meant to be hurtful and transformed it into an adjective that in the worst case has a null value, and in many cases, has a positive one. This is an amazing, and wonderful, and RARE event – it should be noticed and celebrated.
It’s not okay to be passive when other people are being bullied. It’s not okay for anyone to treat any other person as less than human, ever, for any reason. Not to beat a dead horse, but THAT’S WHAT HITLER DID. The Christian Right is wrong. Even if you don’t agree with me about the evolution of the term “gay,” however you slice it, it’s still an adjective – it modifies PERSON. It’s time all of us straight people who love our gay friends, do something about it. It doesn’t take a lot of time or money to take a stand – all it takes is your voice, and all you need to say is, “No.”
Tell ’em how you feel! You can order this here: