The Road to Hell

roadtohell

Image: #PicsArt #FreeToEdit

Homophobia and hatred killed dozens of our gay/lesbian family this weekend in a horrific, incomprehensible massacre in an Orlando nightclub.

Many (straight) people on social media and around water coolers in offices everywhere have been pondering whether it is possible that homophobia is still alive and well in 2016.  After all, don’t gays/lesbians have the right to marry now? Don’t we even have our own parades, our own special Pride week? Haven’t we come a long way, baby?

And, yes, we have indeed made progress since the days when cops raided gay/lesbian bars and rounded us up and carted us off to jail, beating us badly along the way.  We have, for instance, gained the legal right to marry in the United States, a feat that seemed impossible when I first came out at age 17.

But the thing that straight people don’t realize is that to be a lesbian is to live in a parallel universe alongside heterosexuals, but separated by a thin one-way veil.

We can see them, but they never truly see us.

Homophobia, bias, straight privilege, and discrimination don’t usually show up with an AR-15 assault rifle, thank goodness.

But they show up in thousands of other subtle and not-so-subtle ways, often from a smiling friend/coworker or a much-loved relative, and always with the same message: You are a second-class citizen.

I honestly believe that most (normal, intelligent, reasonable) straight people truly do not intend to be offensive, and, from my experience, they actually are quite surprised, unaware, and contrite when their homophobia is pointed out.

Here are just a few examples of comments/actions that I have personally experienced from well-meaning, straight (so-called) allies/friends:

  • “I just don’t see why gay people need to call it marriage.  Why not just call it something else, like civil union?”
  • “My boyfriend and I have been together 20 years and we’ve never gotten married, so I don’t know why the gay marriage issue is so important.”
  • “It’s fine if you’re a lesbian, and we can still be friends, but I just can’t support gay marriage.”
  • “Hate the sin, not the sinner.”
  • “It’s God’s place to judge, not mine.”
  • “I wouldn’t want my children to see 2 women kissing on TV.”
  • “But you could get a man…”
  • “The Ellen show was good until she came out, but then it was all about being gay and not interesting anymore so I stopped watching it.”
  • When traveling with straight women friends with my ex, our straight female friends would often come jump in bed with us, never once treating us as a couple, even though they knew we were.  (A comparable situation in reverse would be if I simply walked into a bedroom of a straight female friend and her husband, wearing a skimpy nightgown, and crawled into bed between them).
  • Straight female friends hold hands in public with their male partners, without having to worry about potential violence because of it, not understanding that lesbians constantly have to scan the environment and analyze every situation for possible danger. When this fact was pointed out later, during a discussion, one friend flippantly said, “Oh, if I were a lesbian, I’d just do anything I wanted.”
  • A former coworker, a straight married woman, asked me to lunch, and at lunch, tells me she would like to have sex with me “to see what it’s like”.  I pointed out that she had met my (now ex) lesbian partner many times, and reminded her that I was in a long-term monogamous relationship.  The straight coworker actually looked surprised and said she didn’t know that it counted as cheating for 2 women to have sex.
  • “It’s fine if people are gay/lesbian, I just don’t know why you need to talk about it.”
  • “I wish I were a lesbian. Life would be so much easier.”
  • Any woman can choose to be a lesbian.  I might just start playing for the other team one day.”
  • The hospital scheduler called to schedule my mammogram a couple of weeks ago. She asked me if I am married, and I replied “yes”.  She then asked what my husband’s name is, despite the fact that it’s been legal for lesbians to marry for almost a year now.

I will assume that my readers can easily see the problems with these examples, so I will not write a dissertation to describe the multiple ways in which these instances are offensive.  (If there are any questions as to why any of these examples are inherently problematic, just let me know and I will be happy to explain further).

Straight people typically don’t realize how they are personally contributing to gay/lesbian invisibility and homophobia every time they do not stop to question their heterocentric assumptions.

Many are even hesitant to call the Orlando massacre what it was: both an act of terror and an act of homophobia.

This was not a random attack; a gay bar was specifically targeted and gays/lesbians were massacred on purpose. (Although it appears at this time that the attack was primarily targeted at gay men, obviously, lesbians were murdered as well).

And it doesn’t matter whether the murderer himself was a homosexual filled with self-hate, as is currently being speculated, or whether he was simply a homophobic, hate-filled bigot for other reasons. We may never know the full truth, but, regardless of the answer, this massacre illustrated homophobia at it’s most extreme, whether that homophobia is internalized and/or externalized.

To gloss over the obvious fact that this mass murder was a crime of hate against gays and lesbians, to say it is a crime against all of humanity or to simply call it a random act of terror, is yet another way of saying to gays and lesbians that we are invisible and that our lives don’t matter.

To deny how deeply this hurts gays and lesbians as a community is yet another slap in the face, albeit one that well-intentioned straight people most likely don’t realize they are committing.

As the saying goes, the road to Hell is paved with good intentions.

17 thoughts on “The Road to Hell

  1. Another problem I have is the way the gay/lesbian victims have been erased by progressives when they talk about the attack on the LGBTQIA+ community or some other variation (LGBT, LGBTQ, QUILTBAG, etc.) For fuck’s sake, intersex and trans were not intentionally targeted and massacred by this man the way actual gays and lesbians were. And since WHEN have “asexuals” and “pansexuals” and “genderfluids” been massacred, beaten, or targeted for anything? Where were asexpansexqueerfucks when gay and lesbian bars were raided? Fuck me. These were GAY AND LESBIAN VICTIMS, who were targeted for being GAY AND LESBIAN. Not for being part of an amorphous queer community. There were no asexual or pansexual victims, and no known trans or intersex victims. If there were victims, they were collateral damage to this man. Whenever trans, intersex, and other members of the alphabet soup are targeted or killed, it’s not because of ace-phobia, transphobia, etc. but HOMOPHOBIA. You fit the image of a deviate, non-straight faggot/dyke, whether you identify as such or not. Gwen Araujo was killed because he was a man who was seen as a woman who conned a straight man, which is homophobia. “Queers” of all stripes are killed for their affiliation with gays and lesbian or being perceived as gay or lesbian…which is homophobia. Stop erasing gays and lesbians by blending us into the queer abyss. Oh, and watch as trans activists make this all about them and their bathroom issue. Fuck me again!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Joanna, you make excellent points…as usual! I have been feeling increasingly erased by the seemingly never-ending LBGTQQIAAP(etc.) community, which isn’t actually a community after all, because the needs of gays & lesbians are being pushed aside more and more every day by the very organizations that were created to fight for our rights. (Sighing loudly).

      Liked by 1 person

    • What’s sad is that some of the things listed above came from people who were (supposedly) supportive of gays/lesbians, LOL! 🙂 I think, most of the time, it is simply a lack of awareness/sensitivity of the issues we face, rather than people trying to be mean. Sorry your dad has said some stupid things, it’s always difficult when it comes from a close family member…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hideous is this mass murder, the families and loved ones endure tragic loss, and on top of it, we ALL have so-called Christian clergy and politicians claim they believe it is Gods will. One Minister told his flock that 50 pedophiles are now dead and too bad all of them are not. Not linking here, will say his Facebook page has been removed. The politician from Texas claims we as a country are reaping what we sow.

    They seem to turn a blind eye to the escapades of say a Larry Craig, remember him? the bathroom perv. No avalanche of condemnation when it came to a white male Republican.

    The facts are still pouring in. There may be a chance that this murderer was a closeted gay man, the ultimate homophobe. He abused and hated women and gay men according to witnesses and ex-wife and current wife.

    I will not go on my tirade about the public having access to automatic weapons, these weapons were made for the military, not for general consumption. The 2nd amendment? According to the NRA, THIS supercedes any rights for safety for children ala Sandyhook or gays and lesbians dancing in a nightclub. I will say this, the musket would never have done the damage our current crop of mechanical annihilators do.

    I also read the right wing talking points today. They claim the shooter really wasn’t focused on the lesbian or gay community (thank you loser Scott Brown)

    Scott may have conveniently forgot about Eric Rudolph who blew up a lesbian bar in Atlanta 1997.

    This nightmare will never end until religious dogma is pushed aside. Man made religion hurts women. It is used as an excuse to dominate, erase and eliminate.

    He may have been trying to find a lesbian bar, but those are for the most part gone.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Personally, I don’t object to people saying or believing in “Hate the sin, love the sinner” or “It’s God’s place to judge, not mine!” Even if I don’t like those ideas, people are entitled to be wrong or disagreeable and if I didn’t accept that, I would have to live on an island somewhere with no friends or family at all. 😉 What I DO object to are the liberal use of those phrases at inappropriate times. I expect to hear phrases like that when talking to certain people about religion, politics, etc. Those also tend to be conversations that I enter into willingly and Iam prepared to have. But when people address you like that on a personal level, I think that’s totally inappropriate. You don’t comment on someone’s weight or eating habits, their clothing choices, or their visible disability, their spouse/sex partner or their sexual orientation just as a matter of course. I would no more tolerate someone telling me that they love me (but hate my sin!) any more than I would tolerate a stranger talking to me like a five year old and talking about how cute it is that I drive or hold down a job, being retarded and all, bless her heart!

    As for the cultural homophobia that drives acts of violence such as this, I partially blame the “queer” community for creating a cultural environment that feeds the delusions of right wingers with conspiracy theories. What started as the gay/lesbian movement became a bisexual/bicurious, transgender, genderf***, polyamorous/polygamist, kinkster, etc. movement. Basically anyone with any sexual difference ever decide to sponge off of the hard work of gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and gender nonconforming people, including a small number of transsexuals. From what I understand, the gay/lesbian movement had to do some hard-core housecleaning when the likes of NAMBLA tried to pony in with gays and lesbians, leading the right and mainstream society to see us as a danger to children. It looks as though history is repeating itself. When you have people like Stephoknee, an obviously disturbed pedophile and clear and present danger to children, claim the transgender label and no one on the left wants to call it out for fear of “kink shaming” or “transphobia,” what else is society supposed to think except that we enable dangerous delusional people and predators?

    I certainly do not endorse the burning, bombing, or murder of BDSM practitioners, kinksters, pedophiles, or any other group of people, guilty or innocent. I believe in humane treatment of criminals and accused, the rule of law, and the rights of consenting adults to make choices I don’t agree with. However, I think it’s delusional to pretend that turning our movement into a sexual free-for-all isn’t having destructive consequences for us. If kinksters, polygamists, or any other group of people wants to create a social movement for rights and acceptance, it is their job to do so, and to assume the risks of doing so. And it is our right to protest these developments if we don’t agree with them, if we believe they are wrong or destructive. Instead, we are in a position where people are increasingly convinced that gays and lesbians are a danger to society and they feel justified to discriminate, exclude, and engage in behaviors all the way up to rape, assault, and murder. Similar to radical anti-abortion activists think it’s okay to murder abortion providers for their “murder” of unborn babies. And it is all because we are being asked to shoulder the burdens and risks of a small minority of parasites, mostly men, while they contribute nothing to the well-being of gays and lesbians.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, yes, it seems that lots of people attach themselves to the gay/lesbian community who have absolutely nothing to do with us. As a example, a friend of mine was at a Gay/Lesbian Pride Parade and a group of straight couples where one partner pretended their sexual partner was a horse and they were the rider showed up to march, complete with saddles, bridles, etc. These were straight couples, with not even one single gay or lesbian among them. So, these special snowflakes had absolutely no business. crashing a gay/lesbian Pride Parade, but that didn’t stop them. (Sighing loudly). Thanks as always for your well-thought-out comments!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I have a straight friend who identifies as queer and is getting married to her straight boyfriend. Never had any serious identification with the lesbian community. But of course, pride needs to include her and her boyfriend. But pride can’t include me because I’m celibate and being celibate is somehow an insult to kinky transwomen or other people with zero sexual boundaries (yes, I’ve heard stuff like that.)

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Spend any time in the “queer” community (if you dare,) and you will quickly get the message that being monogamous, celibate, not into pornography or kinks,etc. Makes you a “conformist” and “assimilationist.” And a religious right winger. I supported the queer movement for their advocacy for the rights of unmarried people and nontraditional families, but their fixation on trans advocacy and general obsession with other people’s sex lives eventually drove me out. No thanks.

    I am still seeing articles about Orlando and I’m still seeing references to “queer/trans” even though we KNOW none of them was trans. NO ONE is willing to honor the wishes of gays/lesbians to be identified properly. I do have to say, though, now that the targets are primarily gay men, people might start paying attention.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I fought for gay pride when it was “neither profitable nor popular”, but it’s getting harder and harder to be proud to be gay. One is automatically assumed to be part of some sexually hyperlibertarian queer confederation, I suppose like admitting (word chosen advisedly) to being jewish leads people to expect you to be a rabid defender of the State of Israel and all its policies.
      People treat me to a fishy-eyed stare when I tell them there really was a group called Gay Men Against Pornography, or a Journal of Lesbian Ethics, enough to make me wonder myself whether I have gone prematurely senile and imagined the whole thing.
      I love Joanna’s “QUILTBAG” acronym, and will unashamedly plagiarize it.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. I first heard the acronym QUILTBAG when I used to comment on Love, Joy, Feminism…back when they talked about feminism and not trans politics constantly. I wish I had invented it, but maybe I can invent something else…something way more derogatory of course.;)

    Liked by 2 people

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