“You know I have no problem with them,” he said loudly but cheerfully. “They can do what they want, they can be what they want. I’ve got no beef with the lgb’s, or whatever they’re called, as long as they keep their lifestyles to themselves. I don’t want anything rammed down my throat.
Rammed down his throat. That’s such a phallic term. Such a violent term. As if the person is being dragged into the bedroom and forced into a sex act against their will instead of something mundane like finding out that the new lead character on Doctor Who is gay. Their reaction is always astronomically disproportionate to what’s happening in the LGBTQIA2S community.
I stood in his kitchen and wished I was anywhere but there. I can’t even remember why I was there in the first place, either something for cats or about food. We swap food and are always up for a good chat about our cats. That day I felt some of my still new and fragile trust crumble. I can’t see that coming back.
I’ve had people say multiple times, usually in June, that the queer community doesn’t need all those parades and days now that everything is equal. That’s usually about when I stare at them in dumbfounded astonishment. Just because people aren’t being chased down on the streets (usually) doesn’t mean everything’s equal.
One thing I’ve noticed is that, when you look at fiction and in examples at school and in meetings, everyone is straight. And I mean e-v-e-r-y-o-n-e. I can’t speak for anyone else but I find it uncomfortable. Not hugely, more in a “slight wrinkle in my sock” sort of way. I found it uncomfortable before I came out too. When I want to forget something, my mind tends to throw it down the deepest metaphorical hole around, board it up, pile rocks on it, and then sit on it. So I was uncomfortable and had no idea why. I mean other than the obvious that there’s more than straight couples. There’s more than straight/gay couples for that matter. Show some imagination and initiative. Single people, throuples, families with grandparents in the home. I was going to get into queerplatonic relationships but you can’t see relationship bonds in a picture.
And even the most well meaning allies can mess up. I was in a group several days ago and the instructor made a comment along the lines of, “… whoever she was dating. You know, male… whatever…” I don’t know about anyone else but I don’t think I can find “whatever” on a dating profile. I’m pretty sure I winced. I just hope it wasn’t too visible.
But at least I live in Canada where our major LGBTQIA2S issues tend to be Jordan Peterson and his memory issues, especially around remembering pronouns. I hope someone tells him about the MMSE. It’s not difficult to take a dementia screening test and it’s certainly better to find out early. However Britain and the United States are faring far worse.
I don’t know why it’s so often the right side of the political spectrum. I mean they’re the ones who are supposed to be out there protecting the children. They’re the ones whose self professed core identity is “family values”. Except which families? From what I’ve seen they’re for family values as long as they’re the “right” families. You know, Leave it to Beaver style but with microwaves and computers.
Thing is, as soon as you’re not part of their stereotypical family, it’s all “not my kind of family, I don’t care what happens” and that goes for the children too. I have personally spoken to several parents who lost children to Children’s Aid (or whatever it’s named in their area) simply because they affirmed their trans child’s gender. One parent had to watch helplessly as her ex punished their daughter by making her hold hot sauce on her tongue for saying she was a girl. Protective services either okayed or ignored it because “what if it works?” I mean what’s a little cPTSD if she ends up cisgender, even though never in the history of ever has that happened. Even though every major children’s medical organization supports affirming your child’s asserted gender.
I wasn’t sure what was happening in Britain so I messaged a friend of mine and was sent this video with the warning that it’s long. She wasn’t kidding, it’s an hour and a half long and I watched the whole episode. The host is very interesting and very informative. While I recommend watching her, what was talked about can pretty much summed up as planned ineptitude. Trans people need to see their GP first before getting any gender specific care. Except the GP doesn’t actually do anything except send a referral to a gender clinic. Let’s say the best case scenario happens (knock on particle board) and the GP isn’t transphobic and/or wildly misinformed and they send that referral right away. Britain is supposed to provide healthcare within 18 weeks for every citizen. That apparently doesn’t include their transgender citizens. The wait just to get the first appointment at a gender clinic is roughly 18 months to five years, depending on where you live. If you live by The Laurels, for example, the wait will be around the five years mark seeing as that one’s in a busy part of London. And there’s a crucial segment of the society which this lackadaisical approach hurts the most and that’s children. GPs do not offer a single bit of trans health care and that includes puberty blockers. If they have a patient with precocious puberty, they have no problem administering blockers. But the same dose of the same medication to a similar sized trans youth? Suddenly that’s way out of the doctor’s expertise. Puberty does not stop because of wait lists, it keeps creeping up, leaving clue after clue of it’s existence. And each clue just deepens the dread of each child who did what they were supposed to (and the ones who couldn’t to be honest). They talked to their parents and their doctor. They got sent to the gender clinic. This wasn’t supposed to be happening. Except it is and good luck in finding someone on the phone who cares.
There was a church nearby-ish when I was a little girl. They sent buses all over the city and picked up any child from the foot of their driveway. I know my parents were a little concerned about letting us go off to an unknown church on our own but ultimately the chance to be down two out of three girls won out. Besides, it was a church. What could go wrong? People all over the world sigh deeply. My parents were further reassured because our friends and neighbours were going too. The oldest was a girl who got described as mature, responsible, adult, and who always followed the rules. These days she’d be described as anxious. Either way the nursery school teacher saw her as the perfect target. My class was supposed to be drawing a picture of Jesus and I decided to draw a picture of a meadow instead. It still sounds like a non-issue to me but the teacher was dead serious in her insistence that I was going to burn in the fiery pits of hell if I didn’t repent and colour Jesus. I’m pretty sure my response went along the lines of, “I think I’m going to make this flower purple”. So she moved on. To my anxious friend. And told her that I was going to burn in hell and it would be her fault unless she convinced me to draw Jesus. My friend told her parents, who told my parents, and we all got pulled out immediately. The church is still around today and is doing spectacularly well. They’ve bought at least one other church in their neighbourhood and installing a large LED sign complete with moving images. They’re also queerphobic, something that came up in an article recently. I wasn’t surprised. Religion broke my trust from the moment we met and didn’t do much to redeem itself since then. Any church that would tell a five year old they were going to hell for being different had a really good chance in being anti-LGBTQIA2S. When I go past a church my automatic thought is often, “well they’d hate me”. If anyone out there is thinking that I need to do better, no. It’s not my responsibility to guess which churches are safe and which think I’m Satan incarnate. Police your own. Make it safe not only for queer adults to come in but for the queer 8 year old in the third pew to listen in safety. They don’t need to hear that everyone in their lives, right down to their God thinks they’re damned for existing.
Sticks and stones can break your bones but names can leave you standing on a ledge
That was my first but not the last outright promise of a one way trip to hellfire and brimstone from people who proclaimed their faith in both Christ and their church. Many claimed they were a better person because of that faith. Better than me, not better than their past selves.
Pardon me, I don’t think you can hear me over your overweening ego.
There are so very many good, kind, and loving people who read their holy books, seeing only goodness and truth, then they set out to follow that path. And then there are the ones who see judgment, retribution, and wrath – of course only to everyone else. They sit in their pews feeling righteous all the while judging those around them. And one of the biggest, if not the biggest groups, is the LGBTQIA2S community. It goes right back to the beginning of this post…
“I don’t want anything rammed down my throat”
People who make statements like that are thinking about sex first and us being people second. Nothing was rammed down their throats but they think of queer people sexually and then they get upset and it’s our fault. Right? It’s like the meme where the guy shoves a stick into his own bike wheel to show he was the victim. No one made you think those thoughts and chances are they weren’t even true but, like the cyclist, you’re yelling and pointing just the same.
I had a friend a few years ago. We’d worked together for several years and now we hung out with each other and chatted on messenger. I thought she was a great person. And then I went to Canada’s Wonderland with Colin to celebrate Gay Day. Canada’s Wonderland is a decent sized amusement park in “the city above Toronto” and Gay Day is an LGBTQIA2S event offered by PFLAG with discounted tickets, a free ride, and a free meal. Colin and I had a great time and went home satisfied and with a phone full off pictures. The next day information started popping up about a gay couple who got kicked out of the waterpark area because one kissed the other on the cheek. The whole issue was badly handled by Canada’s Wonderland and PFLAG found somewhere else to go for the following year and beyond. Everyone was supportive of the couple and furious with Canada’s Wonderland and then my friend wandered in clutching her “won’t anyone think of the children?” pearls.
The park was right, in her eyes, because little children didn’t need to see things like that. When I expressed confusion over what the hell “that” was, she informed me that things of a sexual nature need to stay in the bedroom. I pointed out that straight (and straight appearing) couples kiss all the time in public then she informed me she was fine with straight people kissing (and totally missed the irony). She blocked me a short while later.
I’d actually written this a while ago. I just needed to write a closing paragraph and add it to WordPress and I was done. Then, on November 20th I saw a post from a friend of mine on Facebook. It was brief and mentioned a shooter at a gay bar. There was no way it could be the Pulse Nightclub, not this many years later so I asked her and googled. A 22 year old walked into Club Q nightclub right before midnight (and right before the Transgender Day of Remembrance) and opened fire. Twenty six people, including the shooter, were injured and five murdered. It could have been worse, there was an army veteran in the crowd who tackled the shooter and got the guns out of his hands; plus several more who kept him down. But it certainly could be better.
As soon as the shooter got into custody he immediately said he was non-binary* and wanted the appropriate pronouns and the honorific Mx. Maybe he was trying something sneaky but…
“I’m a Mormon and a conservative Republican and we don’t do gay,” said the shooter’s father with relief. He’d heard his son was at a gay bar and was happy to discover his son had just shot over a dozen people and killed five instead of maybe looking for a date.
People make all sorts of excuses.
It’s part of their religion.
Everyone has the right to their own beliefs.
But it’s always the rights of the haters that are protected and not the ones being protected. How much is a life worth? How much is one that’s free from depression, anxiety, and cPTSD? We place so much value on words of hatred and cruelty that we diminish the lives of the people they’re aimed at. Words and hatred work together easily, dripping poison into minds, especially into vulnerable ones. I wonder how much poison the Club Q shooter heard before he packed his guns and headed out, especially considering his father’s attitude. I can only wonder who’s soaking in a hefty dose of poison before girding up their hatred so they can shoot next.
* I don’t know what pronouns the Colorado shooter is now using but everyone was using he/him and I figured that might be a clue