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Homophobia

I wrote the following while laying in bed unable to fall asleep. It jumps around a bit but I chose to publish my thoughts unedited. I need to get this off my chest…

Homophobia has to stop. It seems in the last decade or so, calling someone gay has become an epidemic with consequences that may reach far beyond intentions. While some Americans are legitimately hate spewing bigots, a growing percentage of Americans support gay rights and wouldn’t consider themselves as homophobes. Unfortunately, in these populations, homophobic remarks are still a common place way of teasing and joking around with friends.

If you were with someone who was obviously mentally retarded, you probably wouldn’t call someone a retard as that would obviously offend that person. Likewise, unless you were a true homophobe bigot you would probably refrain from making homophobic comments around someone you know to be gay. But what would life be like if no one knew you were gay?

The other night I was hanging out with some of my neighbors while on vacation. We were drinking beers and playing pool at the pub. These neighbors all were men in their 40s and they were all married with multiple children. None of them know of my sexual orientation and as a result, they didn’t think twice about the comments they made. The worst offender was a career police officer and the closest to our family. During the duration of the game, the men frequently made gay jokes about each other. At one point, the police officer was pointing out to me, how gay the other married father of two must be by the way he holds his cue sick. I’m fairly confident that the men were simply joking around, and didn’t mean any harm by their comments. If they were aware of my sexual orientation, they probably would have refrained. They remain completely unaware of the harm their jokes had on me; something I’ve had to deal with my entire life.

Imagine the same situation but with race instead of sexual orientation. Imagine 4 men drinking and playing a game of pool. 3 of the men are white and one is black. Now imagine if during the game, the white men joked with each other making comments like “he shoots like a nigger” and “look at how he holds the stick just like a nigger”. How do you think that one black man would feel? Obviously, this situation wouldn’t happen as it would obviously be offensive, but how is this any different from what I experienced the other night?

Even worse, last week while volunteering to help my brother’s family move into their new house, on a number of occasions my sister-in-law called things gay in a derogatory fashion in my presence and she is aware of my sexual orientation. At my previous job my Co-workers were unaware that I am gay and would make homophobic comments and remarks on a daily basis. Like the others, I don’t believe that they really mean any harm by their comments or mean any malice towards gays.

It saddens me that we live in a world where people don’t consider the ramifications of their actions and their words. It’s bad enough that there are many people who legitimately hate homosexuals. Some countries even go as far as making homosexuality a crime punishable by death.

I knew I was sexually interested in men from a very young age however I didn’t “come out” until I was 22 years old, after two failed long-term relationships and a brief period of “hooking up”with women. Even after finally accepting myself enough to come to terms with who I am, I still struggle with my homosexuality.

First of all, being gay is certainly not a choice and it is not something that can be overcome, changed or cured in any way. Trust me, if I could be “normal” and not subject myself to hate and discrimination I would. That being said I wouldn’t want to be straight ever, even given the hypothetical chance.

I am lucky in that outwardly I don’t appear as a stereotypical gay male in America. I rarely match my clothes, I don’t have a limp wrist, I don’t talk with a lisp, I like cars, sports, guns, and first person shooters. I’m actually really good at the latter. All of my friends are guys, I’ve never had the posse of “fag hags”. Basically no one except maybe my close relatives had any suspicion of my sexual orientation. That has made my life easier in the sense that I’ve never been bullied or teased for being who I am, but it has allowed me to witness hate and homophobia from some of the least expected sources.

Even after “coming out” I don’t readily disclose my sexual orientation and have even lied to cover it up. I avoid the topic of dating, girls, and would rather say I’m single than disclose that I have a boyfriend. In my mind I would rather have to deal with those around me making homophobic comments directed at others than possibly have them directed at me.

This gets back to my original point. Homophobia needs to stop. Gay jokes especially need to end. People don’t realize the impact their words can have on someone else. Tragically sometimes bullying and discrimination can drive people to suicide especially in teens. I wish to issue a challenge to everyone that ever reads this. Please make a conscious effort to eliminate anti-gay language from your vernacular. While you may just be making a light-hearted joke amongst friends, you never know who you could be hurting in the process. No one deserves to be discriminated against, or hated just for being different. Next time, before you say “that’s so gay” or jokingly call someone a faggot, stop and think about the real meaning of what you are about to say and what impact it could have on someone else. What is nothing more than a simple joke to you is a crushing, debilitating blow to me and my self-esteem.

Hate speech is hate speech and it hurts whether it was meant to or not. As we sit on a proverbial precipice for gay rights in this country, and my ability to one day enjoy the same right to marry the person I love that you take for granted is debated by politicians influenced by corrupt religious biases, I ask that your join me in trying to put and end to the hate, and an end to the suffering.

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  1. Nelson
    May 8th, 2014 at 08:45 | #1

    You literally wrote how i feel whenever my friends around me make jokes about being gay (they didn’t know i am gay) and it hurts although the jokes are not directed to me. they didn’t do that intentionally to hurt someone’s feelings and this is why we should stop the world from being homophobic.

    Thanks for writing this out. I feel better after reading this knowing there are people out there having the same issues and i am not alone.

  2. Tom
    April 17th, 2014 at 18:50 | #2

    I know that I’m commenting on this massively late, but I think you express beautifully eloquently what I’ve always tried to explain to other people. I hope you don’t mind but I put a link to this from my own blog because it says everything I wish I could say!

    I recently came out myself and my situation is very similar to yours. Reading your experience is very helpful because it basically tells me what I can expect a few months down the line 😛

    Anyway, sorry for the essay, thanks for your videos and blogs. They’re very inspiring.

  3. Miro
    June 1st, 2013 at 14:00 | #3

    Hi,
    I think many people can see themselves in the story. I do.
    It is very nice from you that you share your thoughts. In my oppinion, It also help some people to realize that they are not alone and somebody also having hard times.
    You and Dan are very cute couple! You both are inspiration for everything you do.
    Thank you both for sharing your life stories
    Miro from czech republic

  4. Emiliano
    January 14th, 2013 at 12:11 | #4

    I love this! You basically wrote my life ! You’re a really good writer and I found my self reading because I couldn’t sleep as well ! Anyways we should write something together about homophobia sometime ! 🙂

  5. Eric
    December 16th, 2012 at 11:16 | #5

    I agree with your views on homophobia and how it should stop. But, I don’t agree with your choices with telling people and even lying about your sexuality. These people might not know any LGBT people and don’t understand how the things they say hurt us. I’m not saying you should introduce yourself like, “Hello, my name is Brian and I’m a homosexual”; but you should be truthful about who you are especially to the people you consider friends and educate them on how their attitude toward LGBT people is hurtful and harmful. Show people how happy and in love you are with Mallow(Daniel) and if their your true friends then they’ll be happy for you. Family is a little harder to deal with because you can’t choose your family. In my situation, my immediate family doesn’t agree with my choices in life but they love me anyway. Love doesn’t mean agreement. It means unconditional love no matter who that person is or what they do.

    • December 17th, 2012 at 10:14 | #6

      I definitely agree with you on that point. I wrote this back in May, this was before I started dating Dan. It was also only ~4 Months since I “came out” so I was still getting comfortable with the idea. In the time since this post I’ve become much more comfortable with myself, so it’s not really an issue anymore.

  6. Bryan
    December 13th, 2012 at 11:40 | #7

    Well said man, great post.

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