A Radio Hosts Open Letter Dealing With Homophobia
I wanted to write about some of my experiences with homophobia off the heels of a couple in Ontario who were looking for a wedding photographer and got turned down because they wouldn’t take pictures of their gay wedding… also, it’s just a wedding. I digress…
I was 5 years old when I realized something was different. To be honest, I thought I was a boy for a long time because I didn’t want to dress in more feminine clothing; I would play with the boys and would get “crushes” on the girls. But that was because growing up I didn’t know what being gay was or meant. I had no experience with it, never met any queer folks and lived in suburbia. I didn’t want to be gay, I always thought I would suppress it forever and never tell a single soul because I thought it was disgusting and immoral. No one ever told me that but because I never met a queer person or had any exposure to the community I thought something was very wrong with me. Let me tell you, internalized homophobia is real. Fast forward to 19 when I came out and couldn’t live a lie anymore. I was very feminine presenting, had long hair that touched the top of my rib cage, painted my nails and wore dresses all the time. I would get the classic “you don’t look gay” or “you’re too pretty to be gay” at least a few times a week, which then made me question if I needed to “look” more gay. Walking down the street holding your partners hand is a luxury when you’re straight because when you’re gay you get looks like you’re the plague. I’ve been called names. I’ve been told I made someone gay. I’ve been told someone “tolerates my lifestyle” which they didn’t think was a bad thing. But who wants to be told they’re tolerated? We tolerate parsley on our food, not people. I’ve had men try and fight me and friends literally introduce me as their gay friend. Can’t I just be your friend? They aren’t in my life anymore. My point is, homophobia is alive and well and we can’t just pretend it’s not or think it’s getting better and sweep it under the rug thinking the dust won’t collect there. It isn’t an out of sight out of mind issue. It is the conversations we need to keep having for the ignorant comments like “why doesn’t straight pride exist?” What about the uncle who has been in the closet his whole life because he is terrified of what people will say or think (because regardless if you are supportive of the LGBTQ2+ community you still don’t know how someone you love will react). It’s for the young child who isn’t sure if they feel like they belong to a binary gender. The little girl who wanted to stay in the closet her whole life because she thought loving someone was immoral.
Homophobia is alive and well and maybe if we create enough conversation and education it can slowly slip farther and farther into the dark corners of the world until eventually it no longer exists. But until then, check your priorities if you care so much about something that doesn’t affect your own life. Be cognizant of what you say (you never know how it hurts someone) and read a dang book- so much education is free and it is ABUNDANT. It’s time to be better.