Monday, May 17, 2021


 I remember her.

The first time I met her.

She was sitting at the end of the bar.

Messy drunk.

Loudly drunk.

And people all around her, mostly gay men, ignored her. It was as if her presence was just slightly less than tolerated. They all spoke of her disparagingly - using words that were meant to hurt. They called her, 'it'. 

I was new to gay life, new to the idea of gay bars, new to the social mores of the community with which I now identified. Even so, common decency told me that this was wrong. I did the only thing that I thought I could do. I said 'Hello'. Friendly like. Small town neighbourly.

She looked at me suspiciously but then replied, "Hello," and we talked.

Today is marked as a day against homophobia, transphobia, and biphobia. We hold these days that have the implicit message that it's the straights that need to clean up their act. And, oh dear, they do. But we can't hold these days without looking to see our own behaviour. Are we guilty of the same things?

The nastiest thing that's ever been done to me as a gay man was done to me by another gay man, he suggested that someone 'like me' who looked 'like me' could not be gay, should not be gay. He was clear that the idea disgusted him. I remember this clearly. 

Everyone needs to double-check their attitudes and triple-check their behaviour. The enemy may come from within. So use this day to think about who you are and the attitudes you hold. All of us will benefit. But until then:

So if you ever see me.

Messy drunk.

At the end of the bar. 

Please say 'hello'.


Andrea Shettle, MSW said...

Oh my yes.

So many of us marginalized communities don't like to look within to seek out and eliminate the same kinds of prejudiced attitudes that stirs such anger among us when it's used against us.

I've known disabled transgendered people who have felt the need to distance themselves from the disability community, even though they feel the need for disability rights advocacy and a sense of connectivity among disabled people, because they face so much transphobia among us disabled folks. They've been hurt too often and are too tired to fight any more.

I've known disabled Black queer women who are struck with racism in the queer community and the disability community, with ableism in the Black community and the queer community, and with homophobia in the Black community and the disability community, and with sexism everywhere.

We need more spaces where every person can bring EVERY PART of who they are, no matter how many identities they bring with them, and no matter how many marginalized communities they belong to. And the good news is that the younger generation seems to be learning how to create some of those spaces--slowly, haltingly, but gradually better. We need to keep at it, and some of us older folks (I'm middle aged 51, the folks who seem to be increasingly more fluent in the world of intersectionality tend to be much younger) need to do more learning from the generation Z folks. Even some millennials could learn from them.

Andrea S.

ABEhrhardt said...

It's fear and insecurity and wrong.

I don't blame people who have been othered for it - I blame the rest of us - but it is still wrong.

But your choice was right - and it shows your kindness.