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’?