Wednesday, October 12, 2011
"That's Gay" and Hispanic Homophobia
Men have been bullied, beaten, and driven to suicide because they sought a life whose bounds did not fit neatly within the space society carved out for them. It amazes me how, to this day still, the ignorance continues to live around me. It's okay to "not know any better," but don't continue to shun education when it's been presented to you because at that point you're choosing to perpetuate the problem.
"That's gay" is one phrase that's carelessly thrown around to cast something in a negative light or hint at someone's sexuality based on factors that have nothing to do with what truly makes someone gay. It grates my ears to hear it and even though it doesn't make me any better on the assumption front, I often judge those who, in using these words so nonchalantly, condone this mentality of hatred. Thousands of dollars paid for a college degree does not a tolerant person make. Even if the person claims to be accepting and agrees that everyone is free to do as they choose, resorting to off-handed remarks and insensitive jokes might indicate otherwise. And even if you think nothing of saying it to someone as a joke, do you know who's within ear shot that could get offended?
A trip to this year's Gay Pride Parade to celebrate New York's ruling that gay marriage is legal was met with a joking "You support that shamelessness?" A mother PDA'ing with her new girlfriend resulted in a rant that she had the devil inside her and should be ashamed for leaving a husband behind for this. And the term "that's gay" and "no homo" have ingrained themselves into the urban vernacular of younger generations. Sometimes I wonder if they even know what being gay actually means.
+ Not liking something does not make it gay. In fact, an inanimate object cannot be gay. Someone, he, she, we, I, they can be gay. That colorful sweater that you think is "fruity"? It's just a colorful knitted sweater and nothing more than a possible eyesore.
+ Dressing a certain way does not make you gay. This includes cross dressing (they can still love the opposite sex) or men who wear skirts (look up kilts).
+ Men who like to be pampered, treated by a woman, or fail to fit your stereotypical idea of a macho man are not automatically gay.
+ If a man likes anal sex with a woman or enjoys having his prostate stimulated, he is not gay.
+ Limp wrists, high pitched voices, and swivel hips do not indicate homosexuality.
+ A man showing emotion, or hugging or caring about a male friend is not gay.
When someone is gay, it simply means they are turned on by and prefer to be with their own sex. That's it. There's no set correlation between the way a person dresses, looks, or acts and their sexual preferences. Gaydar be damned, unless he tells you himself or you've had sex with him, you have no idea what he might be into. For all you know he might not even fit neatly within the homosexual category by being curious about oral sex with a man, but only if he looked like a convincing woman. Or she might be into guys, but fantasize about girls as she orgasms. Using your assumptions to categorize those around you based solely on sterotypes is not only pointless, but could keep open-minded friends from sharing their "more radical" thoughts with you.
Why promote interracial love, but not inter-gender ones? Because it's not natural, they say. Because our bodies are built to mate with the opposite sex, they explain. But what about what the mind and heart desire? Are those not natural, too? Like an inheritance passed down from parent to child, so the ignorance continues to trickle down to the next generation. What will you teach your children?
P.S. Did you know yesterday was National Coming Out Day? Learn more about the Human Rights Campaign and how to support LGBT equality, help fight hispanic homophobia with the Hispanic Federation, and give hope to LGBT youth who are experiencing bullying and taunting at school through the It Gets Better project or StopBullying.gov. You can start by taking note of the words you say and the ideas you spread.