International Day Against Homophobia
Today is the International Day Against Homophobia and I am glad to be a part of it. What is the International Day Against Homophobia – or IDAHO – all about?
IDAHO is an international event in which over 250 M/M authors, publishers, reviewers and more are standing together to help bring awareness of this issue of homophobia. This day was chosen because May 17th, 1990, was when homosexuality was finally removed from the register of diseases.
You know, I’ve let a rather charmed life in the last decade or some when it comes to this issue, but it hasn’t always been that way. I was sure – I just knew – when I came out to my parents that they would disown me. I was wrong. They accepted me and my partner at the time. Thank God.
Or did they? Last November I sent an email to my mother to let her know I was celebrating eleven years with my partner Raymond. Her response? It was to tell me how much she loved him but that she was a mother and she was always going to have hope that we would settle down and find a nice woman. I was so stunned I almost responded in a snarky manner. Almost said, “What? The same woman?”
I came out to my mother almost twenty-five years ago and she still thinks my being gay is a phase?
When she didn’t vote for Obama last election she gave two reasons. One, that he supported freedom of choice, and two, gay marriage. Once more I was stunned. “Don’t you think Raymond and I should be able to get married?” I asked. Her answer? No. A marriage should be about one man and one woman. The Bible says so.
I didn’t even begin to correct her.
Despite this, I have a job where I am completely out, live in a neighborhood where I gay people are accepted, and I can sit on the porch holding hands with my man, and a city where – in most places – I could walk hand in hand with him as well.
A lot of GLBT people cannot do that. There are a lot of men and women who were kicked out of their parent’s house and lives when they came out. Why just this week I saw a little article about four men who were killed – hung from lampposts in the Middle East. I can’t imagine that happening to me.
A couple years ago I got another surprise. It was time for Gay Pride here in Kansas City and I was excited about it and one of my most longtime friends made a disparaging remark. “Gay Pride. Why do you need Gay Pride? Do we have Straight Pride? Boy if we did can you imagine the outrage? Why do you need Gay Pride. Is that the only day you’re proud to be gay?”
I was in shock. I remember it felt like a wave had crashed over my head – ever had that happen? Where suddenly your senses are battered or muted or both. You can’t quite see and you can’t quite hear and you can’t even quite feel!
How could my friend ask me that? Could I point out that basically EVERY day was “Straight Pride?” Did I point out that he had never had to be afraid – big tall white protestant middle class straight man that he was – to be himself? Never had to hide his identity and his life? Never had to lie on a job application, or worse, check off single when he’d been married to his amazing wife for nearly two decades?
My dear friend was homophobic! It hurt. It still does. And yet even with my author’s imagination, I still can’t realize what many people go through every day.
Today is a day to stand against homophobia. Say something. Do something. If you hear someone say, “Oh, that is SO gay,” point out to them what they are saying. That gay = stupid or wrong. They’ll probably deny it. But boy have I gotten people to think about it.
Take a stand! Tell a GLBT friend that you appreciate them and support them. Vote on gay issues when the time comes.
And when you think it isn’t all that serious, think about what just happened in North Carolina. Not only can GLBT people not get married there, but any and all unions not “sanctified” by marriage are no longer recognized. Not even straight people! Think of those people who need their un-married partner’s insurance benefits. Now straight people are even getting discriminated through the unmasked hatred against GLBT people.
Take a stand!
And I’ll tell you what. Make a comment here and I’ll pick a name on Sunday once the “Hop” is over and send one person a free copy of my story “How Can Love Be Wrong?”
Pass the word! Pass the love. And stand up against homophobia!
Click Here for a complete list of all the participants of the Hop against Homophobia. It really is amazing!
Also. PLEASE check out the Offical Website for IDAHO by clicking here. You’ll get a lot of important and interesting information if you do.