Harvey Milk famously called on gays to come out of the closet in the seventies. The theory was that discrimination would lessen once people could put a face to homosexuals. Once you realized your neighbors and friends were gay, you wouldn’t be so quick to hate.
I’m inspired by Harvey Milk and the work he did. Unfortunately, homophobia is still running rampant not only in our communities, but in our legislation. I’m not okay with that. And I’m assuming since you’re reading this blog that you’re not either.
But do the people around you know that you’re against homophobia?
Every time there’s a news story about a gay kid getting bullied or committing suicide, they usually have an interview with the parents. It’s sad, but what I’m always stunned by is one thing:
Where is the outrage?
Where are the other parents, teachers, students, etc. that should be standing with the parents of the gay student? There can’t really be whole communities full of bigots, can there? If not, then where is everyone?
The problem is, the homophobes have hit the streets. They let it be known far and wide that they don’t think homosexuality is okay. They’re out there passing out fliers trying to legislate homophobia. They’re screaming until they’re blue in the face. If homosexuality comes up in casual conversation, a homophobe will let you know just what they think about it.
It’s not enough to know in your heart that you’re against homophobia, you have to be against homophobia.
It’s time to speak up. If homophobic comments are said in your presence, you must speak up and let people know it’s not all right. Silence implies that you agree. Silence implies that homophobia is fine. Silence implies that you’re all right with being in the presence of bigots.
It’s time to let the people in your life know that homophobia is not okay.
My husband was raised to be homophobic. Let me repeat that. It’s not like there was a reason for the issue of homosexuality to be brought up (there were no gay people in his life). No, the adults in his life actively raised him to be homophobic. That’s scary.
Now, as an adult, he supports gay rights. He was able to break free from the hate. But he still had to listen to his family spew the same hatred and homophobia they always had. And then he came to a decision.
It was around the time of Prop 8 in California. You see, his family were the types that were out canvassing in support of Prop 8. Do they canvass to raise awareness or money for hunger, disease, or poverty? No. Only the threat of gays could get them to be active.
Enough was enough. My husband made it clear to his family that homophobia was not okay. He was no longer content to sit silently by. His family’s response was: Are you gay? (Bigots don’t realize that’s not an insult.) I was extremely proud of my husband that day, but it’s come at a cost. Relations with his family are strained at best.
It’s time for heterosexuals to come out of the closet in support of gay rights.
Watching one of those news interviews with the mother of a bullied kid, it struck me that maybe homophobes don’t get that it’s not okay. Kids certainly don’t want to do anything that’s not “cool.” So how is it that we have a culture that allows gay bullying?
Maybe they don’t understand how many people in their life are against homophobia. It’s easy for people to want to keep quiet, to not make things uncomfortable.
Well, maybe homophobes need to start feeling uncomfortable.
Dan Savage likes to talk about the price of admission in a relationship. I think the concept can work for friendships too, and the price of admission to be counted among my friends is that you not be a bigot.
What if that became the price of admission to be friends with all non-bigots? If you attend a church that is homophobic, it’s not enough to sit quietly and know that in your heart you’re not like them. How many other people are sitting quietly? What if they all spoke up? If you have a friend who’s homophobic, it’s not enough to just be embarrassed when they start ranting. What if all your friends spoke up?
What if we all spoke up?
The homophobes are in the minority. We have the majority on our side, and yet we still sit quietly by.
It’s time for it to stop.
My name is Caethes Faron, and I’m against homophobia. Are you?
To help support the Hop Against Homophobia, I’m giving away a copy of my upcoming novel, Measure of Devotion. Simply leave a comment on this post or subscribe to my newsletter and you’ll automatically be entered. On the 21st I’ll pick a winner at random and send them the ebook file by email (so make sure you enter a valid email address).
Thank you to everyone who participated in the Hop Against Homophobia. It was a lot of fun, and I enjoyed reading all of your comments.
The winner of the drawing for a free ebook copy of Measure of Devotion is Lana A. Congratulations, Lana!
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