My year as a "Gay girl"

My year as a "Gay girl"

Yesterday, my girl Keisha Howard (of Sugar Gamers) and I were in the Gay Pride Parade. Of course, there was a section of the parade that was taken up by protestors who wanted everyone involved in the festivities to know that God hates us and we are all going to hell together. Because, you know... God is love.


In spite of this, Keisha and I were in the parade risking uneven tan lines (which we got), skipping down the street with a sign that said "Thou shalt be fabulous." There was lots of dancing and shaking our butts to help drive the message home, too. The large group of Christians who were gathered IN SUPPORT of Gay rights loved us. The protestors weren't amused.


I think that those people who try to push their beliefs onto others suck, they are like grown up bullies treating life as if we're still on the playground. I know how it feels to have others whisper "homo," "dyke," or some other ignorant shit when you walk past. I know what it's like to have to make a decision to not give a damn about anyone else and just be who you are because, no matter what, they will just continue to judge you either way. And the interesting part about that is I'm not even Gay.

In my sophomore year of high school, I became very close with two Gay kids. One was a girl who was a few years older than me and the other was a guy who was not necessarily in the closet but was very discreet. I had been friends with the guy for 2 years before he came out to me. Honestly, I didn't even know he was into boys. It wasn't until he saw that I was friends with a girl who was openly Gay that he decided it was okay to share that with me. Soon, a few other kids at the school who were secretly Gay or Bi started being nicer to me. They knew that I was hetero and they didn't care. I guess they just wanted to be friends because they knew they didn't have to hide their sexuality from me.

When I became friends with the girl, who was the first lesbian I'd ever known, we were inseparable. We went everywhere together and she practically lived with me during my summer break. I wasn't popular at my school so it had never occurred to me that anyone would care that I was hanging out with a Gay girl. For some reason, though, it became a big deal and created some serious drama.

It started with whispered name calling when I walked down the school's halls. Then it evolved into girls refusing to get dressed near me in gym class. Eventually a guy came right out and asked me "How come I have never seen you with a boyfriend?" My answer was "My boyfriend is in college." He didn't believe me. I didn't care. Then he asked "Why do you always be with the Gay kids then?" I replied "I don't know what you talking about." I thought that dude was just being nosy. I didn't realize how bad it had gotten until my super protective friend Carmisha, who was older than me and didn't even go to my school, came back and told me that everyone was saying I was Gay. Carmisha told me that my bestfriend had been going around telling people I was her girlfriend. I didn't believe it. I told Carmisha that people were lying on my girl and that she would never say that about me. Carmisha was pissed. I'm actually pretty lucky that she didn't say "I told you so" when I found out that what she told me was true.

Eventually things at school got so annoying that I started ditching. I didn't wanna tell my bestfriend what was going on because I didn't want her to feel bad or go up to my school and raise hell. I'd always gotten good grades, so when my parents saw that I was slipping they freaked out and transferred me to a school in the suburbs where we lived.

Things changed once I transferred to the burbs. My best friend and I couldn't spend as much time together because I wasn't in Chicago as often. My crew of friends that I hung out with didn't like her, and her friends didn't exactly adore me either. And transferring to a school in the burbs brought along a whole new set of issues. Now I had to deal with blonde haired, blue eyed rich dudes ending every sentence they said to me with the word "yo" or "home girl" and people sticking gum in my school books. My bestfriend had her own problems to deal with at the time and couldn't be there for me. We quickly grew apart. Yet, the "Gay girl" title stuck with me when I was back in Chicago. So did the judgement.

I have never been a person who liked defending myself, because fuck explanations. So I just started hanging out with a totally different crowd. It took me years to get close to anyone again.

I can't say that I know how it feels to be Gay, I just know how it feels for people to think that you are and to treat you badly because of it. I did not like it, it annoyed the hell out of me and made me become mean. I only dealt with it for a little over a year, I can only imagine how it must feel to deal with that your whole life. That is why I support Gay rights. It isn't fair that anyone should be treated bad just because of who they love, bigotry is stupid and it hurts people.

One day, future generations who are studying Civil Rights are gonna look back to 2012. They will see that Gay people didn't have equal rights. They will see that people thought it was okay to show up to their parades and political events to protest their very existence. They will see how hella Gay kids made headlines after getting bullied so badly in school that they resorted to suicide, and they will see that all of this happened in the name of God and family values. Think of how stupid we are going to look. As a hetero girl, I'm embarrassed for us already.

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  • Love!

  • first things first, nikki, i need to apologize for not keepin an eye on your blog like i should, and reading this latest entry made me slap myself on the wrist. with that out of the way i'll chime in and say this:

    i have to admit that at one point in my life i was what i guess you could call homophobic. it was made more acute by being hit on by gay men on a regular basis (which made me sympathetic to what women go thru when approached by men, by the way). then some years later, i met a gay couple through a friend, and they befriended me and treated me like a little brother. homophobia cured, it took some more years and another gay couple for me to reach a level of understanding of those who are homosexual (and those who hide it).

    i said all that to say this...we as a species, humans, like to call ourselves more highly evolved but we really aren't. we still fight the same way we used to in the stone ages and what's even worse, we've turned love into something that people are ashamed of or have to defend. really? if you are fortunate enough to find love in this world that has so little of it, why should anybody care if that person you love and who loves you is the same sex as you...or of the same culture...or of the same race...it truly saddens me that people will work to exhaustion to find reasons to hate...and that love is one of the favorites...

  • In reply to misterchi:

    When I met my friends who were Gay, I was a teen. Fortunately for me I had not really been taught that being Gay was wrong so I didn't feel weirded out by it. I mean, I knew that some people in my family weren't comfortable with it, but one of my aunts had a best friend who was Gay and everyone accepted her so I figured it wasn't a big thing. I did ask my bff at the time to keep her sexuality under wraps when she stayed over, but I think my mom knew and didn't really care. She isn't the kind of person who judges people by stuff like that, she raised me to judge people by their actions. I know it is hard for a hetero guy to resolve feelings of homophobia, especially when u're being hit on by guys. I don't care if u are Gay, straight etc. Persistent unwanted flirtation blows. But I am really glad to hear u were able to get around that, it says a lot about your character. Always great to hear from u love!

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    Man Nikki...you never cease to amaze me!

    I love love love love love this article. Almost brought me to tears at the end.

    In high school, I struggled to be "Out" to friends for fear that the girls I hung out with would think I was hitting on them/attracted to them/etc. I joined the GSA (Gay Straight Alliance) at my suburban high school with my two gay guy friends and was only out to them and the other kids in the alliance. High school was difficult, never feeling like I was able to be open for the sheer and utter fear that someone would judge me. College was the first time I felt like I could be free, be out, and not judged (Except by some religious zealots.)

    Now I am able to be out and live my life the way I want to. I'm past the "what people think about me" in my personal life. I'm fortunate to work with an organization that is staffed by half-an-office of Lesbians, so I'm out there as well.

    Life as a homosexual is difficult. People don't understand that being with someone of the same sex is just as normal as a hetero relationship. I did not wake up one morning and go, “You know what…I think I’m going to chose to be a lesbian today…I want people to judge me without knowing me, snicker behind my back when I kiss my girlfriend in public, make snide comments about how ‘I just haven’t had the RIGHT MAN…’” I didn’t chose this any more so then I chose to be a female and born brown skinned. But you know what: I LOVE being a woman. I LOVE being this sexy caramel coated skin color. And I LOVE WOMEN.

    Being a minority, I don't understand how other people in minorities could even allow for the persecution and prejudice of people because of their sexuality. I am a mixed Black lesbian...and I can't get married to another woman because of what? I have to jump through hoops to adopt with my partner, I have to get a “civil union” to be able to put my partner on my insurance…WHAT?!

    And people have the nerve to JUSTIFY our persecution because it's not a "natural" relationship...

    For thousands of years, women couldn't vote, own property after marriage, hold public office, work and earn equal pay, serve in the military, enter legal contracts, have education, etc.

    African Americans were SLAVES in the US for almost 300 years. And did not have equal rights until well into the 1960s.

    How can we live in a society that CONTINUES to persecute its people? In 50 years, when homosexuality is finally ACCEPTED by the masses there will be another group of people that will take the brunt of oppression.

    We live in the most oppressive “land of the free…”

    Fuck it, I’m moving to Australia…

  • In reply to EMarie:

    Oh no! While Australia is quite awesome, I hope it does not come to the point where u have to move there. I feel that things are getting better here, and if they aren't then f*ck that, we'll fight to make it better. Thank u so much for sharing your story here. I am glad that, after all that u went through growing up, u were still able to remain a positive person. U rock.

  • I'm not what you would call a gay supporter but I do feel they should'nt be discriminated against.As a hetero black man I realize that its just plain evil and really a waste of time to hate someone for something they cant change.I dont think anyone woke up one day and said "oh I want to be gay".I'm convinced gay individuals are born that way rather they display that trait immediately or later on in life when they feel comfortable enough to display such feelings.I admit sometimes I get pissed when they try to piggyback their cause on the back of the civil rights movement for what they are going through is nothing compared to the horror stories my grandfather use to tell us they went through coming up as a black person in the south in the 50's and 60's.But the world is changing and the powers that be that have imposed their will on us are slowly dying off and losing power.All the lynching,killing and discriminating all in the name of Christianity will soon come to an end.I'm going to be blunt..this good ole boy,old white man,hate everyone that is not like us shit is coming to an end.I have a gay aunt and would seriously hurt anyone that abuses her.I'm not trying to turn this into a race issue but lets be real.For generations we as blacks have been too busy working,climbing out of the hole of hate,working our asses off and simply trying to survive and really had no time to hate,especially as far as gays are concerned.Hating gays in the name of Christianity is plain fucked up.They gay haters are playing mind games because the same hate was done to and forced upon Native Americans and slavery of Africans was perpetrated under these same beliefs.And again,not trying to turn this into a race issue but we know who the perpetrator's were.Go ahead gays..do your thing...you wont see me marching in one of your parades but you also wont see me spewing hate and discriminating against you.Hell..a gay furniture salesman even helped me pick out and design the interior in my home..LOL.

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    In reply to anthony:

    I just had to reply to the "piggybacking on civil rights movement" and gays not having to go through what Blacks went through following the abolition of slavery.

    Hatred, lynching, discrimination in all aspects of life, and everything that occurred to Blacks was HORRIBLE. But It doesn't mean that gays don't go through that same stuff. How many gays have to be beaten to death or an inch of life? How many "out"/"outed"/effeminate males/masculine women have to be bullied to the point of self-harm and suicide? I would like someone to do a study on how many Blacks KILLED themselves because they were Black. Because the number of gays who do that to this day is out of this world. Belittling the gay struggle and level of discrimination is what keeps us down and oppressed. This isn't a light matter.

    A Black person (aside from people who were able to "pass" and went on to live lives as Whites/Italians/Irish etc.) cannot HIDE their race. You wear it proudly (or not as proud) on your skin. It allows for a form of hatred towards your color and your people. You KNOW it's coming and you have a group of people who can help you deal with it. And you can easily (and did) ban up and fight for your rights. Not to mention that the Black Civil Rights Movement piggybacked on the Women's Civil Rights Movement.

    The issue with gays discrimination is that for so long homosexuals have been "in the closet" if they felt they could not withstand the discrimination and hatred. And I hope no one thinks that is a "good thing." There are many who lived straight lives, married, and had children. They had to deny their wants and desires, in order to have a job, get a house, buy a car, get a loan, etc. That denial or dismissal of what you truly want eats you inside, it poisons you. That's a kind of depression and guilt that laws passing can't clear up. Many closeted gays will remain in the closet for the sheer fact that they cannot come out and disrupt their families. And that's something Blacks did not have to go through because at the end of the day, your race is your race, and your family is your family, and everyone sees it.

    There are so many more issues that come along with gay discrimination that I feel shouldn't be belittled, but I really don't have the time to prompt that discussion.

    I just want to leave you with the thought that "Civil Rights" is NOT a Black thing. Civil rights are rights that protect individuals' freedom from unwarranted infringement by governments and private organizations, and ensure one's ability to participate in the civil and political life without discrimination or repression. Basically put, they are a person's RIGHT to be who they want to be (within the law), without government stepping on their freedoms.

    I only wish to get that "what they are going through is nothing compared to the horror stories my grandfather use to tell us they went through coming up as a black person in the south in the 50's and 60's..." Out of your head, or at least shine some light on what we are going through, because it's apparent that you don't know. Being gay isn't a walk in the Rainbow lit park...

  • "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it" - Aristotle.

    You stated: I think that those people who try to push their beliefs onto others suck, they are like grown up bullies treating life as if we're still on the playground.

    This is an idea that I often see repeated. But I have to say (honestly) that I don't understand it. I don't know what people mean by "pushing their beliefs onto others" really means. Now, in the early written history of North America, there was a whole lot of extreme pressure to force the aboriginal people into Christianity. I would agree that that behavior was deplorable. Another example comes from the militant, radical section of Islam. If one converts to another religion, that person is under a death sentence. If that person does not convert back, they will be executed.

    But does that extreme behavior happen here, now, in the good ole USA? Are the protestors at a Gay Pride Parade holding a knife or a gun to someone and saying "return to heterosexuality or I will kill you"?

    No, this is not happening. Now, certainly, the homosexual is being bullied, ridiculed, and assaulted. But the assailants are not pushing beliefs. They are thugs who attack the different.

    Really, we all live in an amongst a marketplace of ideas. Each of these ideas is looking for an audience; looking for a buyer. A gay pride parade is simply an advertisement of an idea: acceptance and equal rights for homosexuals. The protestors are advertising their ideas as well.

    My point is this: I'm not sure how those who espose the beliefs of acceptance and equal rights for homosexuals are any different than those who protest those same ideas. Aren't you, in this entry in your blog, pushing your beliefs onto others? I don't see the distinction; the behavior is identical, just from polar opposites of the topic.

  • In reply to RickB:

    I don't think it is considered forcing your beliefs onto others until force is actually involved. Holding up signs that say "You're going to hell" and "God hates you" while yelling into a mic and standing on a stage that you built in the midst of a Gay Pride Parade is an attempt to force their beliefs upon people who had no interest in hearing it. Using language such as fags, homos, sodomites, etc. is forceful behavior. That is why that language s categorized as hate speech. And the thing of is it, they have the right to say it, they have the right to persecute others based upon their beliefs. But exercising that right in a confrontational way is bullshit, in my book.

  • In reply to Nikki Lynette:

    Thank you for a reasonable response and a good dialog.

    From your response, I am supposing that you and I have significantly different ideas as to the definition of force.

    I define force as removing choice. For (a silly) example: A bully wants me to eat potato chips for lunch. This bully could physically restrain me and force feed me the chips. He could display a weapon. Or there could be veiled psychological threats of force upon me or my loved ones. These options all have effectively removed my lunch choices.

    If I understand you correctly (and please correct me if I understand wrong), your definition of force is basically "using forceful speech when one does not want to hear it".

    Concerning the parade in general... I am not sure that every single individual in that neighborhood is a homosexual. Is it possible that there is one person who lives there, who is not a proponent of gay rights? If there is even a single person there who fits that category, then, according to your definition, the gay rights cause is being "forced" upon that person. But, admittedly, this is speculation.

    A better example of gay rights being forced (according to your definition, and mine) is in public schools. Homosexuality is being promoted in public schools as a legitimate and normal activity. It is being promoted as equal and identical to heterosexuality. Now, there is a sector of the population who would choose to raise their children with a view contrary to that. Yet that choice has been taken away.

    Back onto the idea of speech as forceful behavior. In this day and age, those who hold a view contrary to gay rights are often subjected to forecful speech. Others frequently use the word "bigot". Your own words: "Stupid", "sucks", "bullshit". Harsh words. Forceful words. Words used to ostracise a segment of society. I contend that the use of those words is no different than the protestors claiming that the participants are headed to hell.

    Next, onto hate speech. I am presuming that that there were police present at the parade. If the words that were being used were indeed hate speech (as you indicated), then why did not the police arrest them? I would argue that the police did not arrest them because the words did not meet the legal definition of hate speech.

    Finally, a summary. There is no force, because choice was not taken away. But even if you adopt your softer lesser definition of force, then many advocates of gay rights are just as guilty of force as the protestors are.

  • In reply to RickB:

    I disagree. People who live in that area know they are moving into a predominantly Gay area. Odds are many of their landlords are Gay. Just like when Chicago hosts Blues Fest and the Bud Billiken parade every year, people are made aware in advance that streets will be cut off and the parade will be going on, it's actually less "forceful" than the Taste of Chicago which ties up traffic downtown for an entire week.

    Further, the police weren't stopping the protestors from using hate speech because it is their constitutional right to say hateful things as long as the only threat involved is eternal damnation. I am joy sure of you have ever been the victim of hate speech, I assume you have not because you thought it was illegal. Its hurtful and totally legal to do.

    And the majority of schools in larger cities might be preaching equality for Gaus, but large cities don't even make up the majority of America. Most schools don't take a pro-Gay stance, it's actually a huge source of contention because many of them ignore Black History Month, Women's History Month, etc.

    Further, I didn't inven the words bigot, racist, supremely, extremist. Those words existed before me to define a certain type of anti-social behavior that some people display. I also did not define the word billshit. Bigotry and intolerance fit the definition of bullshit. There is a difference between attempting to force your subjective beliefs in someone and fighting for equality. You don't see GAY PEOPLE on television publicly bashing hetero people, calling us sinners for having ore-marital sex and children out of wedlock. But plenty hetero people do it to them. So semantics aside, I think it is pretty obvious that this issue of Civil Rights is relevant, and I hope they continue to push back against haters.

    Pardon any typos, I replied from my phone.

  • In reply to Nikki Lynette:

    Impressive response from a phone! You've made no comment on my typos (from a keyboard), I'll make none on yours.

    My assertion continues to be that many who push and strive for gay rights, do so using the same methodology as the protestors do. I feel that you have not adequately addressed this assertion. I was unable to follow how your recent post disproved my assertion.

    Talking about the person living in a predominantly gay area... I was never thrilled with my example, so I will surrender that one.

    However, lets talk about gay rights in schools. As to what is being taught in schools outside of the cities... I have not done the research. I have no statistics. I presume you have, so I will assume you are correct. However, the fact that gay rights is not taught everywhere is irrelevant to my thesis. What is relevant is that it is being taught in some places. And in these places there are people who would not like such things taught to their children. But they have no choice. It is being "forced" on these children, against their parents wishes. My point remains, both sides are using this strategy.

    Concerning your reply on the use of words like "bigotry" and "extremist". If I understand your point correctly, you are justified in using these words because they are accurate. But that kind of demonstrates my point. The other side... the protestors, if you were to ask them why their use of hateful words is acceptable, their answer would be nearly identical. It is OK because it is accurate. Words like bigot and extremist are extremely aggressive and hateful words. Words that stem for the self assurance of a correct point of view. Again, this demonstrates that both sides are using the exact same tactics.

    As to seeing gay people bashing hetero people...yes I do see this all the time. With words like above: Bigot, racist, extremist. How is that not bashing? How is calling the protestor a bigot any different than they stating you are a sinner? I have argued, and continue to contend that there is no difference. Both are hateful things to say. I am not seeing how you have addressed this assertion.

    Finally, as an aside, I feel a need to clarify...Hate speech vs saying hateful things: There is a difference. Hate speech is a legal term. It is illegal, just like screaming fire in a crowded movie house is illegal. Such speech is not protected. There is a difference. Hate speech is not protected, but hurtful and hateful words are. I have not been a victim of hate speech. If you have been a victim of hate speech, then you should press charges. Have I been a victim of hateful words? Yes, but I have no legal recourse.

  • So you think the protesters will look stupid in 40 years?

    Maybe.

    But from the photos I've seen, a LOT of the paraders won't have to wait that long because you looked pretty stupid on Sunday.

  • In reply to MisterMan:

    Judging from how stupid that comment was I can only assume you are an expert on stupidity. So I guess I'll have to take your word for it.

  • In reply to Nikki Lynette:

    Thanks.

    For a group which preaches tolerance, you aren't very tolerant - unless people agree with you, huh?

    As for looking stupid, the pictures from Sunday speak for themselves.

  • In reply to MisterMan:

    I'm not tolerant of anyone saying I look stupid. Nope.

    And not everyone who supports Gay rights is part of "a group," as u put it. I thought that was common knowledge or at the very least common sense.

  • Isn't having a parade down a major street a version of pushing your beliefs on others?

  • In reply to mattvegas:

    It was in THEIR community, where they spend their disposable income and buy their homes and socialize. Thought that was common knowledge.

  • In reply to mattvegas:

    That's part of the problem. They want what they want, when they want it, and it doesn't matter how what they want affects you or me.

    I guess I don't understand how a group who says they want to be part of mainstream America goes to such lengths to set themselves apart from it.

    You can read that from the reply below. It's THEIR community, THEIR disposable income, etc. Just like they have gay cruises, gay vacations, gay bars, gay newspapers, and so on. When someone tells them that they aren't fitting in, that they're standing out, they get offended and call you a bigot (or worse).

  • In reply to MisterMan:

    No offense, but u seem like u are intelligent enough to understand the need for them to have created their own space. For CENTURIES people have treated Gays like they're uncomfortable with their existence, now u're speaking against them for building their own communities? Are u arguing for the sake of arguing right now???? Do Black newspapers or Christian singles cruises marginalize those groups, or just appeal directly to that demographic? Come on, u gotta do better than that, apply logic man. People kill me by their willingness to abandon logic just to make their point. Smh.

  • @"MisterMan"..."they" have "gay cruises", "gay parades" and (HORRORS!) "gay sex" because historically homosexuals have been marginalized by people like you. What don't you get? I find your position curious...just how are gay people "affecting you"?

    Unless they affect you in a way you don't want to admit, at least not yet...

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    Best t-shirt ever I spotted in the Castro '89. It was white with big black "frankie says RELAX" letters and it read "NOBODY KNOWS I'M GAY". I still see his smile and the pride in his step even if he was in the safest place in the continental US. Walk with pride.

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