Monday, November 26, 2007

Say it to my face

I was outside on my lunch break, engrossed in a detective novel (Cross, by James Patterson; good reading). Several middle-aged good ol' boys in dress slacks were standing around the bench next to me, puffing on cigarettes and trading wisecracks.

"I just read this interesting article about homosexuals," one of them said. "Turns out sixty percent of them are born that way... and the other forty percent were sucked into it."

The rest guffawed appreciatively, while my ears started glowing. I don't mind gay jokes. Honestly, I don't. What I do mind is the stupid, ass-backwards rationalization of, "I'm going to make a homophobic/racist/sexist remark, because nobody representing a given minority is in my immediate vicinity. That, somehow, makes me not homophobic/racist/sexist, on account of I didn't say it to anyone's face."

I never know what to do in these situations. I'm possibly the least confrontational person on the planet, and demanding Equal Treatment from total strangers does not come easily. At least, not when I'm by myself. That's why we have parades.

I had almost resolved to let it go, when, still chuckling, Jokemeister commented, "Yeah, that was probably offensive, but hey, whatever."

At that, I tossed my paperback into my satchel and headed back towards the office. As I passed Jokemeister and his buddies, I made friendly but direct eye contact and said, "Truth be told, all of us were born that way."

And then I went back to work.

Not much in the way of Empowering the Tribe, but at least I feel better.


Anonymous said...

I've been here before myself. And made such a comment. It made me feel silly but better. Not that they understood but that I used my voice.

Thanks for visiting my blog, sorry about the gender mixup.


Evn said...

Using your voice is way more important than if they get you or not.

And no worries: I live for gender mixup.


Primary and Flavorful said...

I like your new title / logo.

My word verification code is "idlewig." That's totally going to be the name of my medieval folk band.

Anonymous said...

You did great. It takes a lot of courage to do speak up. I once found myself in a similar situation and was so stunned by the comments, that I let myself be silenced.

The Amityville Ghost said...

If only Rob Halford had been there. Then he could have walked up to them and blown their heads to pieces with a gigantic high-pitched death shriek! I mean, I've just never understood, not once in my entire life. How can there still be dinosaurs who hate homosexuals when a man like *Rob Halford* walks the earth?!?!

Seriously, though. I think you did great! Just keep being true to yourself and don't ever stop standing up to this sort of asinine behavior. One doesn't have to be Superman to be brave, y'know - Heck, how could Superman be brave anyway, seein' as how he's the Man of Steel? What's he got to worry about? Takes a man of flesh and blood and heart for there to be courage! And you, sir, have plenty of it.

Keep on rockin'. May the Higher Powers bless you and keep you.

Evn said...

My word verification code is "idlewig." That's totally going to be the name of my medieval folk band.

Idlewig and the Angry Plague Victims, perhaps?

Evn said...

Cosette: Thanks for the encouraging words! I totally know what you mean about being stunned--it's like you're so shocked that somebody said something so hideous that your brain can't formulate a proper counterattack.

Evn said...

Amity: Rob Halford is definitely an underused resource. We should have him ambush a few Westborough Baptist Church protests and absolutely vaporize some eardrums.

VH-1 will occassionally run a news special on gay celebrities, which includes a piece on Halford, along with commentaries from several burly, scary-looking Metal fans. I was expecting the fans to be all, "We've been betrayed!" Instead, when asked about Halford's homosexuality, they glared menacingly at the interviewer and were like, "So what? You got a problem with Rob Halford?"

Who knew Metalheads would be so protective? It was actually very sweet.

So Red. So Delicious. said...

Yes! It will be a six piece band. Oh, no, no wait... five now. with 46 fingers between us.

Evn said...

Let's see... five band members, with only 46 fingers between them...

Hey, wait a minute. Shut the fuck up, Dan Fogelberg.