Friday, October 8, 2010

You down with GLBT?

Our parents grew up on the cusp of "is it right- is it wrong?" when it came to racism against black people, African-Americans. The school board ruling (brown v board of ed), the R&B/soul of the 70s, the edge. That's not to say it was popular or right to be racist, but it was a deciding time about what was socially acceptable. Thankfully, bigotry lost and enough people opened up their hearts to the truth that colour is irrelevant. Culture is to be celebrated and respected, but not used as a divider, an "us and them" marker.
So why am I bringing this up? Black history month isn't until February...
No, but this last week the news has been coloured itself, with horrible and unique stories of young people who identified themselves as gay, then killing themselves. Most were bullied incessantly about their sexuality to a breaking point. The easy answer I give to the bulliers: "Why do you care what he does behind closed doors? Especially when it comes from a place of love, lust, personal expression?" Essentially, to each his own.
I can see troubling patterns of sexism against the GLBT community (those who are out or not) like the racism against people of a different coloured skin in times past. The pattern seems to be that a minority group gets singled out, blamed, harassed, isolated because of something identifiably different. It's a minority culture, with its own practices, celebrations and (sometimes) scene, but what's wrong with a man loving a man? Or wanting to have a one-night stand with a bunch of men? What does that matter to you?
I once met a very kind, rad filmmaker up here who is out, but being of first nation descent, he identifies himself as "two-spirited", not gay. It's a traditional belief that some people have both the man and woman's spirit in them. They were once revered within their ancestral families. Now? You can see that there are some of us who don't identify someone based on their colour or sexuality, but on (as MLKJ eloquently put it) the "content of their character."
To be fair, most of the people I know and associate with are accepting and nonchalant about someone else's sexuality. One's sexuality doesn't matter, it doesn't get equated in our valuing of their person. But I have heard, seen, felt discrimination hidden behind jokes, taunts, calls and insults.
Can't you bigots just fast-forward another 10 years so we can get past this cusp of "is it right- is it wrong?", and be disgusted by any discrimination against the GLBT community? I think it's high time to move on, move up, and stop singling people out, making them feel less-than for expressing an inherent component of who they are.
For what it's worth, my two cents and staunch support of anyone, man, woman or transgendered person, who is gay, a lesbian or bisexual: Do your thing. Celebrate love and life, and make a mark on the world you can be proud of.


  1. So true. Mainly gay men, trangender people and very butch women get singled out for discrimination. However my partner recently suffered homophobic slurs at work said by another woman behind her back. Forty years since Pride started and prejudice still exists. Your comments were thoughtful and nicely said.

  2. It is high time, as you say, to move up. It's sad when we spend so much time trying to teach children acceptance and diversity and yet hear, from grown adults, disturbing comments aimed at gays.

    Such a thoughtful post.


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