A rainbow flag flies along side the Canadian and Ontarian flags in the courtyard at work today, to celebrate (or honour or represent) International Day Against Homophobia/Transphobia. It is on days like today that I am extra proud of the town in which I live. It’s small, this place, with a population under 40,000, surrounded by corn fields and apple orchards, tree farms and Lake Ontario. It’s not uncommon to share the road with a tractor or a combine and several times a year, we honour our farmers with festivals highlighting their product. It would be easy, predictable, even, for us to fall into the stereotype of small-town, country living and insulate ourselves with unacceptance and intolerance.
The results of an unofficial poll done in my head of all the people here I’ve spoken to reveal that the majority of people over a certain age, and even many who are younger, are still stuck in their mental ways of sticking their noses into other people’s bedrooms and forming negative opinions. It’s just so much work caring about things that have nothing to do with you. Phobia indicates a fear. What on earth is there to be afraid of?!? Do they think it’s contagious? Is it a virus that’s spread the moment you vow to mind your own business? Don’t Catch The Gay! Come on. Come on. The only time it makes any difference in anyone’s life whether or not a person is homosexual, bisexual, transsexual, or even *GASP* straight, is if you ARE that person. My sexual orientation or your sexual orientation or anyone’s sexual orientation is my business, your business, and their business, alone.
A few words on Tolerance and Intolerance: THERE IS NOTHING TO TOLERATE. The word “tolerate” sounds to me like it would be something unpleasant to which you’ve simply grown accustomed. Let’s explore:
- Allow the existence, occurrence, or practice of (something that one does not necessarily like or agree with) without interference.
- Accept or endure (someone or something unpleasant or disliked) with forbearance.
There is nothing to “tolerate”. It just is what it is and that is all. To “tolerate” something implies that you’ve given your consent, begrudgingly. Oh, honey. The problem with “tolerate” is that no one asked you in the first place.
I don’t know. I’ve gone off track. I am proud of my little town, or at least those in charge of erecting flags, for standing up and raising the rainbow fabric along side the maple leaf. It’s a step. It’s a start. It won’t rain down The Gay and turn us all homosexual. I am straight. Always have been and, despite my having absolutely no negative feelings toward those who are not straight, simply because they are not straight, I always will be. Flying that flag simply says “there is nothing to fear.” Or at least that’s what it says to me. It also says “you stay out of my bedroom, I’ll stay out of yours, and we’ll both stay out of theirs.” Perhaps it means something else to others, but to me it’s a visual reminder to celebrate diversity, to take joy in other people’s joy, that rainbows are pretty, and that the belief that we should all fit into one mould is ridiculous. I don’t want to fit into a mould and I don’t think anyone else should want to, either. Maybe my strict hermit lifestyle has aided me with this attitude. The fact that I stay out of everyone’s business serves as a constant reminder that unless something involves me DIRECTLY, I really shouldn’t care one way or the other (and I don’t). Maybe it’s because I’m so damn lazy, too. I can not be bothered to put forth the energy it must take to harbour so much hatred and judgement. Let it go for just a moment and see how light and free you feel.
So, today is International Day Against Homophobia/Transphobia. My only problem is that, in 2012, this still requires a day. Jesus.