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.