Thursday, May 17, 2012

Hop Against Homophobia




Hello! Welcome to my blog, and thanks so much for participating in the Hop Against Homophobia. Here’s what you can win at this stop on your hop: a free ebook copy of my m/m BDSM/domestic discipline romance By His Rules. Check out the BHR page for more info on the book. There’s also a $10 gift certificate to Amazon so you can buy more delicious m/m romances of your choice. The contest ends May 20th, and I will contact the winner at that time.

All you have to do is leave a comment on this post with a way for me to reach you if your name is drawn. A message is always nice but is not required. AND, just to let you know, there is another giveaway happening on this blog right now that ends May 21. So if you’ve been jonesing to receive ridiculous dating advice from a snarky, kinky cat puppet, stop by the Ask Allen Ginspurr Giveaway page to enter.

I want to spend this post talking a little bit about the ways we, with the best of intentions, sometimes use language that presents being gay, bi, trans, or queer as undesirable.

My parents told my siblings and me growing up that they wouldn’t have a problem if we were gay—they would just worry about the bullying we might be subjected to. I am endlessly grateful to them for their support and open mindedness, which allowed me to grow up, watch an in-flight documentary on Shakira at twenty-one, realize I liked girls, and come out without fear or shame. Bullying, harassment, and violence are undeniably problems that LGBTQ individuals face. I’ve been fortunate enough so far to experience minimal harassment for my orientation, but I have friends who haven’t fared quite so well. If I were a parent, I’m sure I’d worry about my LGBTQ kid.

But I don’t know if I agree with expressing “concern” about someone being LGBTQ, even for the most honest and truehearted of reasons. I wouldn’t tell my kid that I’m worried he or she will be bullied because of his or her height or braces or an obsession with Tolkien. And I don’t think I’d tell my kid I’m worried he or she will be bullied for being LGBTQ. Because to express that concern, even in an effort to be supportive, seems to send a subtle message: It would be easier if you weren’t this way.

I’m still sorting through my thoughts on this one. I’d want my LGBTQ kid to be as prepared as possible for the prejudices and cruelty he or she might face, but I also wouldn’t want to give my child the impression that life would be “better” or “easier” if he or she were straight. The more we’re out, honest, and open, the more we celebrate the spectrum of sexual orientation rather than fretting about what could go wrong for LGBTQ individuals, the closer we come to a world where it’s not considered preferable or easier to be straight.

I’m also not sure about the “Who would choose to be gay?” logic gay rights supporters sometimes give in response to those who say sexual orientation is a choice. Who would choose a sexual orientation that gets you bullied, beaten, ostracized, denied rights, or even killed? I understand the sentiment, but the implication is that if we had a choice, we’d all choose to be straight. Because, once again, it’s preferable. It’s easier. It’s normal.

Who would choose to love someone of the same sex?

Why not? Sexual orientation isn’t a choice, but if it was, why the hell not choose a same sex partner or partners? I want to love good people. People who balance me, care about me, and are exploding with the desire to have adventures and create beautiful things and go to the grave without regrets. These traits aren’t gender specific.

The last thing I’m tired of: Giving cookies to those who “tolerate” or “accept” LGBTQs. Tough-guy fathers of gay athletes who come out and say “I accept my child for who he or she is.” Thank you for saying it. Thank you, because there are a lot of parents who don’t respect or support their LGBTQ children. But your child’s sexual orientation is not for you to accept. When I became a graduate teaching assistant at my school, I was told that a C paper is one where a student does everything that’s on the rubric. A and B papers go above and beyond the requirements. Loving your kid for who he or she is? That’s just following the rubric.

I’m not suggesting parents shouldn’t be vocally supportive of their LGBTQ children. It’s when we start heaping praise on parents who don’t disown their gay kids that I start to have a problem. Same deal with Barack Obama saying he supports gay marriage. Damn right you do. You’re the leader of a free country where all citizens are ostensibly created equal. You should have been loudly in support of it from the get-go. No cookies from me, dude.

Like I said, I’m still sorting through my thoughts on this topic, which is why it would be so awesome to hear from you. We don’t have to pretend problems like bullying and violence don’t exist, and we don’t have to refuse to express concern or sympathy for those who experience these problems. But we can be careful that the language we use when discussing LGBTQ issues doesn’t exclude LGBTQs from definitions of what is normal, desirable, or correct. And when we acknowledge the differences between the LGBTQ experience and the mainstream heterosexual experience—because they do exist—let’s try to appreciate those differences, rather than subliminally presenting them to the LGBTQ community as a sentence or a burden.

26 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing
    musings-of-a-bookworm@hotmail.co.uk

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  2. good point about the “concern” issue and as to choice—one of the staff at the local aids group asks the question: when did you know you were heterosexual? That should shut down the discussion :D

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  3. Thanks for a very interesting blog.

    gisu29@gmail.com

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  4. Well with Obama I thinks it's better late than never but you are right, I don't understand parents who disown their kid because of her/his sexual orientation, loving a child is a basic requirement of parenting, if one didn't want to do that, why did one become a parent in the first place?

    anzuazura at yahoo dot de

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

    Thank you for taking part in the hop :)

    kimberlyFDR@yahoo.com

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  6. As a parent I struggle with how to talk with my kids about it too.

    andreagrendahl AT gmail DOT com

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  7. Thank you to everyone who has stopped by so far. It's great to hear from you.

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  8. Thanks for participating in this great blog hop :)

    penumbrareads(at)gmail(dot)com

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  9. Loving one's kids, no matter what is something one expects of parents but if you consider all the reports of child abuse, children found dead or strarved by their parents, shows us that it's not always the case. Good examples are important and maybe if parents who struggle with the issue see how accepting and loving other parents are, they will do the same.

    moonsurfer123ATgmailDOTcom

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  10. I hate the "cookie" thing... although, the whole parents disowning their kid over gender identity or sexuality is so disturbing. I recently came out to my mom as being transgender and in a recent talk she said "there are people who don't take hormones and don't have surgery...do you think you could just do that?" She's asking me to not do anything because she's uncomfortable without regard to how uncomfortable I am currently.
    And I kind of think that is where the cookie thing comes from...it's society rewarding people for getting over their "discomfort" in a situation that should not be that uncomfortable (other than society keeps saying that it should be uncomfortable) because orientation and identity only directly affect the person who has the identity or orientation. Hope that made sense...

    jrlannan@gmail.com

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  11. I think you have a point that is important, because many people think that they've done their due by being in support of LGBTQ people, but just as I have to continually come out each time I meet a new person, or start a new job, the discussion is always evolving. In liberal circles or accepting climates, the discussion shouldn't be over. In fact, this more subtle transition that you talk about is important for insuring the direction in which we take once the rest of the world catches up, which I have every faith it will :)

    cole[dot]riann[at]gmail[dot]com

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  12. Great post. You gave me a lot to think about. I never thought that voicing my concern about someone that was LGBTQ would look like I secretly disapproved of them. Now I'll know better If one of my kids come to me about being gay or anything else.

    Chris
    ceagles48218@yahoo.com

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  13. Agree agree agree forever and ever.

    It reminds me a lot of past conversations I heard between family members and others about interracial marriages. "It's not wrong at all, that's sick, to say that. But it's so hard on any kids from the marriage..."

    I've talked to my best friend about this, as she recently heard someone say it again. Like, in real life. (Obvs, people don't say that shit around me anymore. Well, sometimes they do, and then I laugh at them and point out my brown husband just to watch them squirm. And sometimes, just to really fuck with them, I point out that i'd still have married him if he was a woman.) And though it's not the same issue at all, it's still that choice of language that makes it hurtful.

    We just need to rethink it. Everything.

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  14. I think just by considering the complexities of the issue, you're ahead of most parents. Very thought-provoking post.

    vitajex(at)aol(dot)com

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  15. Thank you to everyone who's stopped by and shared thoughts and experiences. It's really wonderful to hear from you, and you've given me things to think about as well.

    Best,

    J.A.

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  16. I showed a bunch of these post to the teens in my family to show them how hurt some "innocent" remarks are to many others. I get so annoyed when my nephew says "you're so gay". ERRRR drove me crazy. I know he didn't mean anything by it but it is so wrong to use that as a saying. I think that these post have helped. Thank you all for sharing with us!
    forettarose@yahoo.com

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  17. Thanks for posting on your blog! We all need to do our part in creating awareness.
    Yvette
    yratpatrol@aol.com

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  18. I agree with you. You shouldn't have to thank someone for doing their job. When you have kids it is your job to take care of them. If they don't fit into your idea of a perfect child? Too bad. That is your issue, not theirs. Same goes for the President. This is why I want a spiritual President, not a religious one. Your religious beliefs should have no bearing on my rights. I am a Christian but I don't want politicians thinking they can make choices for me anymore than I want them limiting the rights of LGBT citizens.

    geishasmom73 AT yahoo DOT com

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  19. I agree with you. Especially on the president part. The government should play such a huge role in whether or not people are treated equally. They should be by virtue of being human.

    smurfettev AT gmail DOT com

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  20. A very thought provoking post and one which has given me a few things to think about.

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  21. Great post! I a, especially interested in your no cookies comments!

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  22. Thanks so much for the personal post!
    OceanAkers@aol.com

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  23. You were really fortunate to have such wonderful parents
    0401romance(at)gmail(dot)com

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  24. It's great to see so many people dialoguing about homophobia and working to increase awareness. Thank you to all who have posted here.

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  25. Hello J.A. I agree, what is there for us to "accept" here. I did not ask to be born straight.

    Great post

    I just stop in to say “Thank You” to you and to everyone for letting me be included in your Hop Against Homophobia. I am afraid I am not a talented m/m fiction writer like yourself but I am an avid reader of it.

    Actually when you are a straight girl who writes gay porn for an adult studio it is hard to fit in anywhere so I really appreciated how warmly I was welcomed into your group.
    http://shadowsterling.blogspot.com/2012/04/studio-i-write-for.html

    But this is a cause I feel strongly about and I wanted to let you know I appreciate the opportunity to be included.

    Shadow Sterling

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  26. Thank you for the post on such a great cause. I have really enjoyed the hop.

    peggy1984@live.com

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