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2013/05/07

Yes, We’re Asking For It!

In my gay life, I am frequently confronted by my own self-imposed limitations; blocks I put up out of fear of retaliation.  I never want to put myself at risk of bodily harm.  I avoid dark alleys late at night and take the usual safety precautions when in public.  Being in the wrong place at the wrong time?  Oh, yeah… I’d be to blame.  I police my behavior, too, because I never want to make others uncomfortable or be accused of ‘asking for it.’ 
For example, public displays of affection, between two gay men in a place other than a gay bar?  That’s a no-no.   An equality sticker on the bumper of my car?  Not in this lifetime.  My car is paid for.  I don’t want people keying it.  And you have no idea the amount of risk assessment I had to do to before I put that LGBT Obama sign in the back window of my car last year.
So when those who object to gays and our so-called ‘lifestyle’ react in a violent manner? 
I ask myself… are we asking for it?
No, of course not.  No one asks to have their property vandalized or to be beaten.  Or picked on.  Or verbally assaulted. Or hated.
I find it painfully sad that I am of a generation that feels unsafe being gay in the daylight.  That’s probably part of the reason I am reticent to attend Gay Pride events or be gay anyplace there is sunlight and a chance others might see me.  The fear I am speaking of is subtle and always runs just under the surface.  Call it my own, self-induced gay panic. 
Sometimes I experience it in the workplace.  Co-workers share and celebrate so much of their personal lives and who they are, but I I feel I can’t because my sharing might be deemed inappropriate.  It might make someone uncomfortable.  And I wouldn’t want that.  No, I’d rather feel uncomfortable than to cause someone else to be uncomfortable.  Still, I am gay and can’t help but share that on occasion.
So when I am gay at work… am I asking for it?
I began wrestling with the whole idea after reading an article about a recent hate crime in New York where two men leaving brunch arm-in-arm were verbally assaulted with gay slurs by a group of twenty-something men before being pushed to the ground, kicked and punched.  Curiously (or not?) the “Police could not say whether the attack was a hate crime, as it was still under investigation.”  But based on what the victims reported and the injuries sustained… what’s to question?  So I have to read between the lines and ask myself… because the two men were walking arm-in-arm, were they ‘asking for it’?  Is that what the police are insinuating?
No, of course not.  I hope.  But then… how is this NOT a hate crime?
Today, the Minnesota House of Representatives announced that HF1054, a bill to extend civil marriage to same-sex couples while strongly protecting religious freedoms in Minnesota, will receive a vote on the House floor on Thursday, May 9th.
And out come the big guns.  You know the ones. So I have begun to prepare myself for a few days of hearing:  Everything That Is Wrong About Being Gay.  Because those big guns?  They are loud and inescapable.
And I ask myself… are we asking for it?
And the answer is - of course we are.  And I say…
Those that are against us?  Those that hate gay people or are uncomfortable or afraid of gay people?
Let them say what they want.  Let them be as hurtful and hateful as they want to be.  Let them be loud and be heard.  For their words and actions only help make our point for us.  That, yes, gay people need protection under the law because that hatred is so obvious.  And, yes, gay people deserve to marry one another and have their relationships protected in the same manner and enjoy the same benefits that heterosexuals now enjoy because that hate makes that need so obvious. 
Yes, their hate makes it so obvious.  And so scary to be out here and queer.  But gay is not going away.  This is not a fad.  This is not a lifestyle.  Gay simply ‘IS’.  And gay is just as question-proof as the color of one’s skin or presumed heterosexuality.     
I wonder if the time will ever come when gay people will begin to question heterosexuality as a ‘choice’?  In some alternative universe, perhaps. Those that say, “hell, yeah, I’m straight because I choose to be” set themselves up; for if being heterosexual is a choice for them, then it stands to reason that they are choosing between heterosexuality and something.  So we must assume that they struggle with gay thoughts all the time, too?  Yeah… trust me, they aren’t gonna wanna cop to that, now are they?  And, of course they can’t cop to that, because it is blatantly untrue.  Hey, you breeders out there?  I accept that about you.  You have no choice.  You were born to breed.  You born heterosexual.  Now… if you could just see clear to…?  You know, shoe… other foot…. walk a mile…? 
Get where I am coming from?  Get what I am asking for?
The big thing for the haters is now to try and turn the table on us gay folk.  Gay folk are the real bullies.  Gay folk are the true haters.  Because we disrespect their beliefs.  Because we point fingers and call them names like ‘bigot’ and ‘bully’.   Because we are forcing our beliefs on them.  Therefore, not only are we gay folk bullies and haters, we are also not worthy of protection under the law.  Because we have political clout.  Because we are political.  Because we vote. Because we are organized.  Because we are vocal.  Because…
…we are asking for it.   
Yes.  Yes, we are.
You better believe we are. 
And about time, too.
Can I get an ‘Amen’?

8 comments:

Nate Oman said...

Amen.

SEAN said...

Just wanted to say I always read but rarely have time to comment. Love your blog and love all the comments you leave on mine! Thanks!!

BlkJack said...

Amen!
BlkJack

whkattk said...

Amen, brother! On those who are very vocal and demonstrate against equal rights, I will repeat what a very wise and respected black man in my life once said to me: "I'd rather they call names out at me and vocalize their hate because then I know where they stand. It's better then having them hide in the shadows and then stab me in the back."

Rob said...

The truth is that there's too much bullying and pushiness on BOTH sides. The more vitriol is thrown BY us, the more vitriol will be thrown AT us. Better to concentrate on what we have in common as Americans rather than what divides us.

Upton King said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Upton King said...

Rob. Obviously, I disagree with you. If you have some concrete examples to back up your statements, I would love to hear them. Speaking the the truth is not bullying. Nor is sticking up for your rights. Disagreeing with people who are telling untruths about who you are? Not bullying. Nor does it qualify as vitriol. I would love to concentrate on what we have in common as Americans... but according to them we're a bunch of Godless sodomites dooming the country, threatening the safety of their children and ruining the moral fiber of this country. I would love to be polite and nod my head when the Westboro group shows up waving God Hates Fag signs at some event that has nothing to do with gay people. But... I can't. I won't. And for you to ask me to tone down the rhetoric makes me think that you'd be okay if things just continue as they are and gay people are treated as something that should live in the darkness and be treated as second class citizens. So... yeah. I'm afraid I'm going to have to disagree with you on this and hope that you realize that disagreeing with you doesn't mean I'm disrespecting your right to have the opinion you have. But as I live in this world, having seen and experienced what I have? You're wrong. Grant me my equal rights in America. Let me stop living in fear in America. Let me feel represented in America... and then I'll take a look around and see what we all have in common as Americans. - Uptonking from Wonderland Burlesque

O!Daddie now at http://smokeyandme.typepad.com/ said...

Haven't had the opportunity to comment because I've had a wicked flu all week and had to drag my as to a mandatory dept meeting yesterday at which time we were all told (34) of us with 30 days notice that our jobs have been made redundant.

The bottom line in all of this is that we need to do what we have to do in order to survive. Out on the picket lines or flying under the radar and sucking it all up; we do what we must because nobody is going to do it for us.