After a stranger publicly accosted Arizona kindergarten teacher Jia Howard's sexual orientation, she wrote this post on Facebook:
Hello, my name is: Faggy Dyke .
Let me back up and explain.
You see, today I got to experience my first "official" introduction to Trump's America. Also [known] as: the next 4 years of my life.
As per my normal routine, I dropped of the kids and headed over to the neighborhood donut and coffee shop. As I was pulling into the parking lot, a car sped past me to get the spot I was headed to. No big deal. I gestured "go ahead, you're obviously in more hurry than I am." Again, no big deal. I had extra time. As I walked in, the woman who cut me off was ahead of me in line. Donning her very patriotic shirt AND matching earrings. The cashier made small talk and asked her how her morning was. Her response took me by surprise. "It was going well, until that (looking at me) faggy Dyke cut me off."
Now of course, 4200 thoughts ran through my mind. Mostly resulting in her in a hospital and me in jail. Not a good plan. I was more shocked because normally people don't look at me and think "gay". I didn't feel any more gay this morning when I got dressed. So I'm not sure what gave her the idea. Either way, it was shocking.
While plotting her demise, a small voice reminded me, "when they go low, we go high." So I cut her off (intentionally in line) and said to the cashier "please ring me up for my usual and pay for her order as well."
I then turned to the lady and told her to enjoy her order on behalf all the "faggy dykes" in the world. And to have a sparkly day. I WISH I had a [pocket] full of glitter to toss in the air as I walked away.
Welcome to our new country, folks.
In less than 24 hours, Howard's post was shared more than 150 times. I reached out to the mother of two this morning, and here's our exchange:
- How do you feel about the reaction to your post?
I'm completely shocked about this whole thing! I never in a million years expected a response of this magnitude! It's inspiring, really. Amidst all of the negativity, there is some light in the world.
- How did it make you feel to be spoken to that way?
I think I was shocked initially. However, I expected it eventually. Sadly enough. I never expected it to happen without my partner by my side. Because I don't usually "look gay". Whatever that means.
- What "clicked" for you to go high? Did something in particular come to mind?
Our FLOTUS. She is an admirable woman. I'm a mother of a son who happens to like having his nails painted pink and wear a dress around the house. I immediately thought of how I would want HIM to respond. My children drive me.
- How did she even know you were gay? Have you seen this woman before? Do you have anything on your car that she could have seen to tip her off?
I truly have no idea. I've never seen her before. Maybe it was my collared shirt/sweater combo. I truly have no idea. Even my rainbow tattoo was covered! I only have a broncos sticker on my car lol.
- Will you tell your children about this incident? What will you say?
Funny story, so after that happened, I went on a out my work day. Well, I received a call from my child's school saying that my son was having a meltdown and wouldn't leave class. I rushed up there to figure out what happened. Oddly enough, someone had hurt his feelings. So I took the opportunity to explain that someone was very unkind to me and I chose to ignore their actions and kill them with kindness. Just like we practice at home.
- Has anyone attacked you in the past for your sexual orientation? If so, how did it compare to this and what did you do?
I've never really felt personally attacked by anyone to the extent of needing to talk about it. People make remarks, but who really cares? Unless it is something violent OR affects my children, I don't give them the time of day.
- What do you hope to see happen as a result of this incident?
I truly hope that, if anything, that woman takes a second thought before spewing her hate. I don't expect to affect the world. But I hope that one person reads it and feels a little bit braver walking out of the house. Or knows that they aren't alone. Maybe I'll pass out a few bags of glitter for extra support.
- How old were you when you knew you were gay?
I can recall my first girl "crush" at 8 years old. I didn't come out until I was 26.
- Anything else you want America to know about this "new normal", from your perspective?
Be aware of your surroundings. Always know what's going on. Protect yourself. Be safe. Think before you speak and then think one more time. And in the words of our FLOTUS "When they go low, we go high!"And be kind. ALWAYS be kind.