Racism, Sexism & Homophobia

In light of the horrific events last Saturday and the absolutely appalling response from 45, I had to write this week’s blog on this important topic. Don’t let Heather’s death fall into the annals of historical obscurity. I’ve said this before and I will say it again, what we permit, we promote. Staying quiet and hoping things will get better is really not an option.

heather

I am going to admit something that I’m not proud of, but I believe is illustrative of what is possible. In my youth, as I was trying to come to terms with my sexuality, I attended a lecture that the Gay Alliance (that’s what it was called way back then) sponsored. I attended the lecture to get credit for a class, and I suspect because I was curious. Although I wouldn’t ever have admitted that at the time. Instead, I fell into the trap of self-loathing and spouted along with my friends a bunch of truly hateful slurs. I was only eighteen, but I should have known better. My parents did not teach me that hatred. Unbelievably, I think I may have vaguely alluded to carrying some type of defensive weapon, you know just in case one of those evil lesbians tried to convert me to win that toaster oven. I will tie this in later, I promise.

I remember when my sister said to me that she’d rather I die than hurt my mother and my mother saying, she’d rather I be a whore on the streets than gay. I didn’t say a word.

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When I attended my grandmother’s funeral, all of my aunts, uncles and cousins were talking about the disgusting way that Ellen Degenerous was parading her sexuality in front of everyone. I kept quiet.

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When my father who was the ultimate liberal in our family expressed his opinion that the military should keep gays out because it was a distraction, I finally found my voice. This was at a time when both parents had, I thought, come to accept me and my partner at the time. I was flabbergasted by his statement. I was equally flummoxed that both my parents believed in “civil unions” but not same sex marriages. I found my voice again.

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A few years before I married my wife, I was at lunch with my sister and she kindly informed me that, she wasn’t judging me because everyone sins. Homosexuality is a sin in her eyes, but she loves me anyway. That was the bone she tossed out. I found my voice again and told her that I would never consider loving another a sin and any higher power that espouses that dribble is not worthy of anyone’s devotion.

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Recently when I lost my job and was in another debate with my sister over 45, I broke my silence again. Normally, I would refuse to debate with my younger sister over politics because it always gets out of hand. Initially she thought it was against the law to discriminate on sexual orientation. After I provided some much needed education, she texted, I was great at what I do and it was the company’s loss for not hiring me. At that point I lost it, my voice was loud.

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My sister cannot truly understand homophobia and I cannot truly understand racism, but that does not mean I should remain quietly on the sidelines when I know in my heart the moral integrity of the nation is at stake. I listened to a former neo-nazi talk about his transformation and it gave me hope.

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I provide all the above examples because in each circumstance, something has made a difference to those antiquated views. Let me provide the updates:

    • I no longer hate myself for being a lesbian. I embrace it.
    • My younger sister not only came to my wedding, but supports same sex marriage and was a huge help when I married my wife. I don’t know if she still considers my love for my wife a sin or not. I haven’t asked.
    • Before my mother passed she had made a complete turnaround on her views and understood that my happiness would only ever be with a woman and not a man.
    • When my cousins and uncle came to Florida to honor my mother’s passing, they embraced my wife and did not blink an eye at my choice for a life partner.
    • My father changed his views on gays in the military and on same sex marriage.

We must persist and continue the fight to hold our ground and move forward because changing views are possible, but it won’t happen in a vacuum of silence. Let our peaceful voices of love and moral right be heard above the din of hatred. Don’t let 45 take us down that horrid path to any kind of hatred, including self hatred.

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What we permit, we promote. Please don’t stand idly by and promote hatred, racism, sexism or homophobia. Authors, use your pens. It can be a very influential way to educate when done with love and compassion. I believe it is possible to change, there is proof of that all around us. The neo-nazi who no longer has those hateful views is a beacon of hope. I will continue to use my pen in the hopes that something will shake loose for a person on the edge of enlightenment

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6 thoughts on “Racism, Sexism & Homophobia

  1. I am feeling pretty lucky about how my friends and family have reacted to my coming out in the last few months. I have had none of these struggles or hard conversations to go through. I also believe that if my Mom were still alive, she also wouldn’t have had an issue with it.

    I know at some point I will probably face back lash from public sources and stand ready to face it with my head held high and fire in my eyes. The new friends I have made and Lesfic writing community has taught me how to value my feelings and find unity in our numbers. As long as we stand together and support each other our voices will not be drowned out.

    I may have been late to the party but never has my life felt so right and so accepted. Thanks Annette for your voice and your friendship.

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  2. My family has fully embraced me and my wife. My mother just spent 8 days with us. My wife’s family is a different story. They’ve come a long way but they have so very far to go. We’ve been together 11 years and married for nearly 7 of those. We still get “yuck” and “ewww, gross” from her aged 40s sister if we give each other a peck goodbye in our own house. My niece and nephew are far more accepting of us but my niece makes it a point to out us to everyone, everywhere. She’ll say things to perfect strangers like “Save two seats together. The lesbians will want to sit next to each other.” They think nothing of calling crappy things “gay” instead of crappy and she often calls him a faggot in anger. I’ve corrected them hundreds of times, “That’s crappy/shitty; I’m gay.” I get nowhere but I keep trying. The same niece and nephew, although neither bothered to vote, loudly support every last thing the man whose name we won’t mention says or does. They’re blatantly racist but they don’t see it that way.

    Unfortunately, it’s not just them. All of these things are rampant attitudes out here in rural America. It’s quite typical to hear a black person/African American called ‘colored’ at here, still, in 2017. I keep telling myself, one heart, one mind at a time and I keep trudging along. It’s an exhausting grind.

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  3. Great blog. I am a glass half full type person and I have to tell u I too went thru similar circumstances when I came out. Not exact but similar. Things with my family have improved greatly. Understanding and education can go a long way and so can love. Our families love us and I think that was the difference. As we kno it doesn’t work out for everyone. Love was the key but doesn’t exist for those strangers who clash because of race or sexuality. We have to fight so that somewhere down the line common decency that should exist between human beings will kick in. Keeping these issues visible is a step.

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