Sunday, 13 May 2012

Action or Ignore?

I've mentioned before that I'm normally very passive about politics. I'm a Brit and generally centre (Lib Dems), and it's usually hard to remove the fence pole from my behind. I'm an apathetic voter. I vote because I believe you have no right to complain if you don't, but I'm not active in understanding all the issues. The last time a British politician came along that engendered any strong feeling was Margaret Thatcher. She was a bit like Marmite - you either loved her or hated her.

For the first time in my life I am actively interested in the rights of equality. I've never considered myself homophobic. I've had gay friends since I was a teen, worked with openly gay people all my life. But up to now I haven't thought much about equality, and I've not done anything about it. I've been apathetic as usual. Even realising that I wasn't as straight as I thought I was did nothing to get me off the fence post.

This quote, however, made my brain cells tick over. David Gaider's (from Bioware) response to a "straight, male gamer".

"And if there is any doubt why such an opinion might be met with hostility, it has to do with privilege. You can write it off as “political correctness” if you wish, but the truth is that privilege always lies with the majority. They’re so used to being catered to that they see the lack of catering as an imbalance. They don’t see anything wrong with having things set up to suit them, what’s everyone’s fuss all about? That’s the way it should be, any everyone else should be used to not getting what they want."

I've thought about this for some time. Maybe I'm as bad/worse than the homophobes. Saying nothing in support is just as bad as the opposing people. At least the haters are showing their true colours. What am I doing?

I write about gay men. I actively write about religious homophobia in Morning Report and Complete Faith. Nothing Ever Happens has my main character bodily and mentally scarred by his religious upbringing. More people read them than know me. Am I doing my part? Am I doing enough?

I can lobby my MP, sign petitions, highlight injustices on my sites. Marches aren't on my agenda - hate crowds and bad back.

I have read some within the community saying that straights (I'm not, but lets not split hairs) should keep their nose out. Sorry, I don't believe that now. You can be self-righteous about it, or you can understand that not all people of privilege are homophobes and that some want to add their voice to support yours. Not drown it. Just add to it.

I share my working life now with many gay, bi, and trans men and women. There are many with a world of pain inflicted on them by a society that likes the world just the way it is. I don't want to be part of that society any longer. The fence post is removed.


  1. I was working at a hospital and one of the nurses there was seriously anti gay, She had no idea about me until the night she went on and on about some gay marriage ruling. She was of course against it and I said nothing, because she was frankly an idiot. Finally she looked at me and asked when I thought.

    I thought about telling her and breaking her mind, which had its benefits but honestly, anything I said after that would be ignored because she would think I was another fag crying about my rights. So instead I told her this.

    They pay taxed, they serve int he military, they hold jobs and they are bound by the same laws as everyone else. I don't understand how you can discriminate against anyone if they are an American, I mean, that's the whole point isn't it? If you allow one American to marry, don't you have to let them all? Even if you don't like it?

    She was ready to be all liberal and argue about hatred and civility because I am a pretty liberal person. She was not ready for common sense.

    She never spoke to me about it again. In fact, she never spoke about it out loud at work any more. I like to think she learned her lesson.

    One down, several million to go :)

    1. *smacks head* Of course, actually talking *to* people. You must have made an impact, John, for her to have shut up, and stay that one. She still may not have agreed but you made her think. Sometimes the quiet approach makes the loudest noise. (I should try that with my kids *g*)

  2. It's hard sometimes. I am out, but not loud. I usually take on a "Don't Ask and Don't Tell attitude, because frankly, I feel like "gay" is only a small part of who I am.

    I get the funny looks when I tell people what I do for a living, and since I work for an agency dealing with HIV+ people, you would be surprised how many assume I must be positive myself. And didn't that make me step back and think for a moment.

    I catch a lot of crap because I'm a conservative, and aren't all Republicans (notice I didn't say I was a Republican, just a conservative) baby-eating homophobes? I can believe in social equality and fiscal responsibility. But I get shunned by the gay community and the heterosexual community for not being "gay" or "straight" enough.

    I guess my point is, until we - ALL of us - view this as a human issue and not a gay issue, we'll always separate people into two classes. And history tells us that never works.

    Love to you, John, Sue - you pick different ways to make your points. All it takes is one brave person, standing in front of a tank, to make a difference.

    1. I am interested by your point that being gay is only part of who you are. I see so many people say it is all of them.

      I don't envy you being gay and conservative. It is like being gay and Christian. So many feel it must be mutually exclusive.

      I'm not sure if I'm at the standing in front of the tank stage, but I'll start with the fence post.