I’ve been playing with this post for awhile now, and today I’m in a frustrated enough mood to post and finish it.
Not that I don’t experience it on a day to day basis, but the bigotry I’ve been subjected to within the last few months has been ridiculous. I don’t know if it was the release of Brokeback Mountain, the recent fights in court for gay marriage, or what. But people are taking the existence of the LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] community to heart.
A few weeks ago, I was at a bar to celebrate a friend’s 22nd birthday. On our way out, some drunk derelict took it upon himself to throw in some half assed insult, saying that she looked 34, not 22. Not being one to sit by and let someone insult my friends, I confronted the guy by saying Hey listen. She’s 22, so maybe you should work on being a little more polite.
Now, this is the thing that gets me. That he considers this to be an acceptable thing to say to ANYONE.
Well, maybe you should work on not being so gay.
Oh. Okay then. Let’s play.
Well, actually…I am gay. So maybe you should work on not being such a jackass.
Then I turned around and left. Because there was nothing else to say to him.
I’ve already spoken about the issues I’m dealing with personally, which I fear, while they may seem unique and unrepeated to me, are more than likely all too common. If nothing, this should prove that latent and quiet, so to speak, bigotry is just as harmful as anything else. I’ve always found it interesting how the general populace avoids being associated with such words as racist, homophobe, sexist or bigot like they would avoid the plague itself. Yet the qualities of the person and the requisites of the definition match up like puzzle pieces.
Then I read in the D.O. [page 2] today about the reaction the LGBT community had to a recent court ruling that upheld the decision to deny the right of marriage to gay couples in New York. This just put me in a worse mood. Apparently, the reason that the appeal failed was because the judges cited the traditional definition of marriage as a union between man and woman “that long predates the constitutions of this country and state,” emphasizing its “critical importance to its role in procreation.”
There is no way for me to comfortably convey my disappointment with the reasoning behind quashing such a vital and integral step towards equality. I cannot, for the life of me, understand the thought process that goes through the mind of an individual who wishes to deny another human being equal rights.
I got into a thread fight on Jon Armstrong’s site awhile back [I ended up losing my cool, a bit, as you’ll see…all comments by John are me] with a certain individual whom I don’t know. I guess it was foolish of me, but I had always felt distanced from hate. I believed it was something that only a few ignorant individuals had the gusto to actually come out and voice to people. I was surprised, to say the least, that a discourse like the one that had occurred in that particular thread followed the course it did.
If there’s anything I’ve learned from my education, though, it’s that there is an inbred superiority complex instilled into our culture. Specifically, into those that are not considered to be a minority. Continuing with this acquired knowledge, I know it isn’t my issue. Bigotry of any kind is not the problem of the afflicted, but the problem of the persecutor. Racism is a white issue. Sexism is a man’s issue. And homophobia is a straight issue.
It’s frustrating, because sometimes there seems to be no one that minorities can depend upon. I had gotten into a heated discussion with my boss about some of the things that I’m not happy about concerning the resident advisor position this year [I’m in my third year]. One of which being that, as an RA, I’m required to attend a 2 hour dialogue circle every week of one semester to have discussions about race and gender. While I do not disagree with the goal of the program, I do question the enactment and thought process put into the program.
The only people required to attend these circles were RAs. I will be the first to admit that discussions about social problems are a necessity. However, how much of a difference will be made in a room full of [for the most part] forward thinking, open-minded individuals? Not only that, but in order to register for what group I was going to be placed in, I was asked my race and sexuality.
When I enter the group, there are about 12 people. A mix of men and women, but 2 or 3 were visible minorities. The rest were white. This seems to be a trend to me. When forward thinking, well intentioned people get together, they spread minorities around for diversity’s sake. This way, we can make sure to educate those around us.
Good thing us minorities were around. Because without us, how would they receive their diversity education? Picking up a book is apparently too much to ask.
If there was one thing I could tell every single person, it would be this. Educate yourself. Go to public events you wouldn’t normally attend. Go out of your way to experience new things. Pick up some journals by bell hooks, Millie Bruce Pratt, Jonathan Kozol, or even Michel Foucault. Very simply, become an educated individual.
It’s the least that can be done.