Thursday, July 20, 2006

Say It, Don't Gay It

Okay, let me preface this my saying I realize that I said that my jury duty ramblings were concluded a while back, however, this is something that took place during that time and I wanted to blog about so here it is.

One day, towards the end of the trial, some of the men and women got into a movie discussion. From time to time throughout our 'tour of duty,' various jurors (usually Darth Tater) would struggle to remember the title of a particular movie, and even though I knew the title, I wouldn't say a thing. I know it's petty, but eh, it gave me some cheap thrills. Anyway, the topic of Brokeback Mountain came up and naturally, all the men clammed up and went into macho-mode, priding themselves on not being homo enough to see that movie. Only two of the women, Chiffon and G.I. Joan would admit to seeing it and were discussing it. Since I wasn't asked or involved in the conversation, I just sat back and listened and observed (but I did throw in my distaste for Michelle Williams' performance being nominated instead of Anne Hathaway, which in turn "outed" me, I suppose).

While the women were discussing how sad the film was, Kenny Rogers with a Sunburn was preoccupied making gay jokes to the guys sitting next to him, Kojak and Pucker Pants. It was something oh-so-clever about butt sex and it proved a comical hit with all the men within earshot. Those wacky breeders!

Meanwhile, Chiffon and G.I. Joan were still discussing it and G.I. Joan said something to the effect of "I thought it was sad that they couldn't be together. I don't 'condone' it, but I think they should be able to be with whoever they want." To which Chiffon replied, with some comment about how "that" (re: being gay) didn't matter to her and how she had a friend whose daughter way gay, etc. It was at that point that Chiffon's stock soared, while the homophobes showed their true colors. I never looked at those people the same again.

First off, let me preface this whole ordeal by saying this: Whenever I go into a situation where there are going to be a bunch of people whom I don't know, the thought crosses my mind of 'How would these people react/interact with me if they knew I was gay?' At the risk of sounding like a martyr or like I go into any and all social situations LOOKING to be rejected, that's not it. Seriously. It's not like it preys on my mind the entire time, but the possibility of being the 'lone gay' (Hi Ho silver pattern, away!) amongst a group of straight people, DOES enter my mind because, not unlike the jurors, I've been in situations where people are nice TO YOUR FACE and should they know/detect that you are gay, put on that brave facade of "That's cool," but in reality they AREN'T okay with it. Personally, I'd rather know who's who and bypass the 'nuances.' Like I said, the foray into gay jokes/comments, really showed me who's who.

However it got me to thinking later on that day, while on the drive home: Could I be friends with someone who didn't approve of me/my lifestyle? I told myself 'Hey, it's no big deal, someone doesn't have to approve of homosexuality to be your friend. That's like saying "If you don't like meatloaf, you can't be my friend." People are going to have different mores and such, just roll with it and don't dwell on it too much.' Then the question still lingered and I put it into this perspective. Saying that we're friends, though you don't 'approve' of me, is like telling a black person "As a rule, I usually don't even like black people, but you're the exception." After asking some of my friends and getting their perspectives, it was unanimous, I don't think I could, with a clear conscious, befriend someone who, in the back of their mind, was disapproving of me. It may seem like I'm making a mountain out of a mole hill, but that was the conclusion I ultimately ended up coming to.

For me, personally, the whole situation ranks right up there with those people you see on television trying to justify their bigotry with passages from the ultimate scapegoat, The Bible. The ones who claim that they don't 'hate' us (gay people), but they're "praying for us." I think that's the definition of a back-handed compliment. "We don't hate you, but we know you're going to Hell unless you change your wicked ways, so we're praying that YOU change." Fuuuuuck off.


Blogger Terri said...

I wouldn't ever want to be even "friendly" with anyone who didn't approve of me. Screw that. My dad doesn't "approve" of my life and we know what advice you give me regarding that, LOL! Who cares what those other tater heads think? I love ya tons!!!!

Thursday, July 20, 2006 9:13:00 AM  
Blogger Shelly said...

If someone doesn't like meatloaf and you do, you can be friends because friendship isn't based on enjoying meatloaf together.

If someone doesn't want to be gay or isn't gay, and of course you are, you can be friends because your friendship wouldn't be based on you both being gay.

But someone who disapproves of something you are and do, that's different. That's not approving of you. My best friend is Baptist and I'm a non-believing Jew and I know she prays for my soul. But there's no disapproval on her part re: my lack of belief (at least, I've never sensed any) and we're incredibly compatible otherwise. But I have to admit there are times I wonder what she's thinking. Too much of that can destroy a friendship. We each have to know how much of that sort of thing we can live with.

My disbelief doesn't define me the way my heterosexuality defines me. I think when someone disapproves of an aspect of a person that is so vital to them, a defining characteristic, that's hardly a solid basis for friendship. No one needs a "friendship" like that.

Thursday, July 20, 2006 9:33:00 AM  
Blogger Mariana said...

No, it's not the same thing as meatloaf, because when people don't approve of homosexuality they're not saying it's a matter of taste and to each its own, they're making a moral judgment, they're saying you're a bad or depraved person. Why would anyone be "friends" with someone who thinks ill of you, who despises you? I'm so sorry you had to be trapped with such stupid people.

Thursday, July 20, 2006 10:03:00 AM  
Anonymous Brandi said...

Why does sex have to 'be' who you are to people? I know this is one of those retorical questions and it's not ever going to be answered with anything other then 'because that's the way society is. But really - its not about who we have sex with that makes us a good or bad person. (so long as that other person is of age and mental capacity) Whooo box of firecrackers there!

Thursday, July 20, 2006 11:53:00 AM  
Blogger Dennis! said...

You really, really, REALLY should have asked Chiffon if that meant she was pro-gay marriage then. Then sat back and watched the fireworks fly.

Thursday, July 20, 2006 5:17:00 PM  
Blogger It's Me, Maven... said...

See, the question of whether I could be friends with someone if they didn't accept me (in whichever context), has crossed my mind quite a bit.

I have a co-worker of whom I am friendly, share rather amusing stories/jokes, etcetera with, however, from a religious standpoint I find her POV intolerable and ignorant, and I realize with all seriousness that she believes anyone (me included) who doesn't believe in Jesus the way she does, is going to hell.

It's taken me until my 30s to realize that just because someone is "friendly" doesn't make them a friend. I doubt if thinking someone is going to hell is the quality I'd choose in a friend.

Saturday, July 22, 2006 3:17:00 PM  
Blogger Sapphique said...

Interesting post. I found myself pondering whether a serious homophobe would truly want to be friends with me. My experience has been that coming out to new folks sorts out the wheat from the chaff, so to speak.

It also depends on the level of friendship we're talking about. I think to be good friends with somebody requires a level of integrity and authenticity that is almost impossible if fundamental things about the people involved are not respected and welcomed. Sexuality is not just what we do in bed. It's all the way down our backbone and in our DNA. How could we isolate that piece of ourselves from any relationship?

Tuesday, July 25, 2006 1:12:00 PM  
Blogger Kirkkitsch said...

Oh trust me, I so know what you mean. I'm pretty much the same way. It definitely puts some ice water in your veins when you find out how duplicitous some people can be.

Thanks for taking the time to comment! :)

That's totally true (re: your meatloaf perspective). At the risk of sounding like one of the Brady Bunch kids, 'I never thought of it that way.' Seriously.

And you're right. I don't need a 'friendship' like that. I have enough problems, why invoke another potential one.

You know, reading your comment, I was reminded of one of my current friends who is straight. I consider him one of my best friends and I really do enjoy his friendship in every way, BUT, there is one aspect of it that has always kind of hurt my feelings: I'm one of those people that is a 'hugger.' I didn't used to be, and actually I used to be quite the opposite (I still feel weird telling anyone that I 'love' them). But now, when I greet friends or say goodbye to friends, I give them a hug. Well, the few times I have attempted this with him, he gets very stiff and awkward about the whole thing, so naturally, I stopped doing it. However, I've noticed that he's actually initiated it in the last year or so, so taking that cue, I leave it up to him to decide what he's comfortable with and tell myself not to take it personally, that it's just about boundaries. I don't ever want someone to feel uncomfortable or like they have to do something. So, I guess all's well that ends well.

Thanks, for kind words. Being Texas, I kind of went in expecting a certain level of stupidity, but not as blatant as what took place. I find it ironic that Texans are known for their hospitality. Makes you wonder how their 'Christian' acts of charity and kindness during the whole Hurricane Katrina/Texas as a safe haven routine would have played out had the evacuees all been gay. Dollars to donuts the reception would have been less forthcoming.

Thank you for commenting! :)

Oh man, I couldn't agree with you more! I am forever saying that exact same thing. People, especially straight men, are so wrapped up in Gay=Anal sex, that they can't wrap their tiny little minds around anything else! Who gives a shit? It's not like when I see heterosexual people my first mental visual is dick-in-vagina...though I must admit, I do have my own certain prejudices when it comes to "parents."

And you are so right (re: good/bad person). Unfortunately, there are a lot of self-righteous people out there that deem themselves the ones who determine that.

Thanks for taking the time to comment! :)

LOL! That would have been so wrong to put her on the spot like that...I wish I'd thought of it. Dammit! You know what they say about hindsight being 20/20. That would have totally been a great can of worms to open and sit back and observe.

Thanks for commenting! :)

You hit the nail on the head! You are absolutely right (Re: just because someone is "friendly" doesn't make them a friend). SO true! I'm currently having an interpersonal dilemma that kind of hinges on similar aspects. I think the personal thinks they are well-meaning, but little things they say come off twisted and off-color. I get the distinct impression that they have some pretty ingrained ideas of what a 'gay man' is and so far, they don't apply to me. For now, I'm writing it off as gay/straight stereotyping/misinformation, but if it continues, I don't see this potential friendship "happening."

Thanks for taking the time to comment, I appreciate it! :)

You put so eloquently exactly the conclusion I came to: I think to be good friends with somebody requires a level of integrity and authenticity that is almost impossible if fundamental things about the people involved are not respected and welcomed.

I totally agree. Since I "came out" in the late 80's/early 90's, my perspective has been "I don't edit my conversations for people." God, it sounds so simple, but for years I did the whole he/she: him/they song and dance. It was a lot of draining subterfuge that I vowed never to deal with again, after I came out. So now, instead of having to do a whole "BTW, I'm gay" song and dance, the person will eventually know one way or the other. Now, this doesn't mean I go into some overly-detailed account involving graphic sex, lustmonkeys, etc. but if the story happens to have a gay aspect to it, I don't falter or skip a beat when discussing it.

Thank you for taking the time to comment! :)

Thursday, August 03, 2006 10:09:00 AM  

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