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.