Thursday, May 17, 2012

Homophobia Hurts

About fifteen years or so ago, I became good friends with a gay couple who lived next door to me. They were great guys, and fantastic neighbors. It never dawned on me that someone in my family would have an issue...but someone did.

Now, it wasn't some big hate filled drama like a lot of folks have experienced, but it really hurt me that someone I love would reject someone who had become a good friend. And the worst bit? It was caused by ignorance--the lack of knowledge kind.

So I had my family member come over and I introduced him to my neighbors. He was afraid he would catch gay cooties or something. Or that he'd get somehow groped and have to fight his way out.

Then something crazy happened. Brace yourself, it's wild. He realized my neighbors were--wait for it--regular guys. *gasp* I know, right?

There was absolutely nothing to be afraid of. They weren't going to do bad things to his ass, they weren't going to do anything to his ass. (Okay, they may have sneaked a peak when he wasn't looking!)

Thing is, I saw something that day that changed me as well. I saw someone overcome an irrational fear and learn to accept someone for their differences. It was a really beautiful thing to see.

Irony? A few years later, that family member became a "boss man" at his job. And he hired an assistant who could flame on. Whoa did that fella have more than his share of flamboyance. And it didn't bother my family member at all. He'd shrug and say, "That's just him. He's funny, huh?"

I know I can't really take the credit for that change taking place in him, but I'd like to think that I played a small part.

Homophobia is so very real, and it hurts. I'd like to think I do my part to change people's lives. I don't allow gay jokes to be told in my presence. It's a little thing, but I stand up and say "no, it's not okay." I don't try to force anyone to believe the way I do, but I make sure they know what I believe and why.

It's the little things that make a difference. I truly believe that. Each person who makes a change starts a ripple in the water. Those ripples turn into waves. And one of these days--one day very soon--there will be more people who aren't afraid and uneducated than the other.

That's my hope. I see the changes happening, one person and one family member at a time. I'd like for it to be faster, of course. I'd love for my new friends to not have to worry about hate and fear. For them to live their lives filled with love and support.

It'll happen. One day soon. Until then, I'll keep doing what I'm doing. I'll keep finding little ways to make a big difference.

Homophobia may hurt, but we have the power to heal. I hope the blog posts today for the Hop Against Homophobia will do that in some way.

The organizers have asked us to donate a prize. I'm happy to do so. If you'd like to read my book, feel free to leave a comment and I'll draw a winner. Please take a look at some of the posts by other authors in this event. Each of us can support the other and this community of change.

We're ready to end the hate.

You can find more information here: http://hopagainsthomophobia.blogspot.com/

26 comments:

  1. How cool that you were able to help change his mind and see the results of that!

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  2. Thank you so much for this post Poppy. I'm so glad that through an interaction with you and your neighbors your family member's mindset was changed and now he's comfortable with gay men. Totally awesome.

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  3. All phobias boil down to a fear of the unknown. it's really so easy to cure that if gays will be out but friendly (not combative over the curiosity that comes with learning about something new). We need to be ambassadors in order to cure homophobia.

    ~smooches~ You are a wonderful ambassador.

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  4. The gay jokes thing?
    So true.

    And I'm still amazed how many times you have to say "No, I don't think that's funny" for people to get it. But I keep saying it.

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  5. Loved your post Poppy! Thanks for sharing it!
    If everyone can just change one persons mind- it can change the world!

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  6. I hope that as more people are exposed to gay people and realize that they are indeed just "normal" people that acceptance will grow.

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  7. Love should always triumph over hate and I believe it always will.

    kimberlyFDR@yahoo.com

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  8. I'm working my way through the hop - it's wonderful how many people are taking part. Thanks for this post :)
    I think you're right about how each little change ripples out and effects more & more people.

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  9. There are so many wondeful and insightful posts going up today. I'm going to need through the 21st just to read them all!

    Great post. Thank you for sharing. ^_^

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  10. Great post, thanks for being part of the hop

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  11. Wise words! Thanks for this post!
    Best!
    Barb

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  12. I was so happy reading this post, and the flaming worker and he was so cool about. Hope that minds can be changed for the better.

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  13. I truly think that if everyone would step outside of the comfort zone and meet new people there would be an evolution in this country. Once you meet someone it is very difficult to be afraid of them. I loved the post!

    geishasmom73 AT yahoo DOT com

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  14. Thanks for participating in the hop. This is a great cause that I pray one day will not be needed.

    forettarose@yahoo.com

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  15. Thank you for being part of this HOP and helping shine a light on this important issue.

    musings-of-a-bookworm@hotmail.co.uk

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  16. Great post Poppy! Thanks for sharing!!

    morris.crissy@gmail.com

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  17. Thanks for participating in this great blog hop. I'm enjoying all the posts :)

    penumbrareads(at)gmail(dot)com

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  18. Its great to hear stories of people changing their mind about their prejudices. Thanks for sharing!

    burchills AT gmail DOT com

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  19. Thanks for sharing your story. I'm glad to see your family member has let go of their prejudices and hope that his life is all the richer for it.

    lmbrownauthor at gmail dot com

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  20. It really is a lack of understanding, be it purposeful or unintentional. Thanks for participating!
    OceanAkers@aol.com

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  21. That's really a great story! I hope more people are able to overcome their preconceptions like this! Thank you for sharing!

    stormymonday@gmx.net

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  22. This is like the religious leader in Iceland who used to openly state that he could de-homofy gay people. Well, he married a public figure (female) who's best friends with another public figure (gay man, who happened to be married to another man). The friend needed a place to stay for a while and the religious leader suddenly had a gay couple in his house...and learned that they were just regular guys in love and there was nothing abnormal about it. He hasn't said a word about de-homofying anyone ever since.

    Erica
    eripike at gmail dot com

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  23. That's exactly what I think is the key to helping homophobia fade. I know not everyone will come to see them as just "regular guys" (or gals). But it is a big step in the right directions. There would be so much more support available if those who just have misconceptions can see past the "gay" thing and see them as normal people... because they are!

    ashley.vanburen[at]gmail[dot]com

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  24. Thank you for sharing. I agree that we all have the power to heal the hatred and the hurt. Thanks for participating!!

    tiger-chick-1(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  25. Thanks for participating in the HOP.

    gisu29(at)gmail(dot)com

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