International Day Against Homophobia/Transphobia

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.

File:Rainbow flag and blue skies.jpg

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:

tol·er·ate/ˈtäləˌrāt/

Verb:
  1. Allow the existence, occurrence, or practice of (something that one does not necessarily like or agree with) without interference.
  2. 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.
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12 thoughts on “International Day Against Homophobia/Transphobia

  1. There was a race track in Smalltown USA with about 20 rainbow flags leading up the way to the track. I complemented the owner on being so openly pro gay. The flags came down the next day. They just thought a rainbow was a rainbow. That’s the day I learned to keep my mouth shut. I was quite sad to see them go away…

  2. Great post. You would never see such a thing in the public (nor most of the private) places in my tornado ally of Cincinnati, OH USA. This is a city that produces the likes of John Bohner and Charles Manson, & Jerry Springer at it’s “best”. Not a place of open minds except with us few who came from elsewhere. But it’s us few who will make the difference, someday, if we never give up. The bigots will run out of steam before we do. Of that I’m certain.

    • Good for you and I agree with you. The bigots will die off some day (that’s not a death threat or anything; just a fact of life) and the good fight will muscle on.

  3. One of my neighbours, when she found out that I was gay, said “well, it’s not that I have got anything against ‘the gays’, it’s just, well, I don’t want to see it, y’know?”.

    I waivered. Between giving her a piece of my mind, and walking away.

    I walked away.

    • I commend you on your strength. Because I’d be hard-pressed not to remind her that, even if you were straight, she wouldn’t be seeing into your bedroom. And what is “the gays”?!? Yeah, I wouldn’t have been quite as polite as you were.

      • I know, it’s all a bit ridiculous really. I get comments like this quite a lot, even from people I know quite well. I don’t think people realise how offensive they are being when they say ‘well, whatever floats your boat’, or, ‘oh, you’re gay? My cousin is too, you should meet him!’. I believe they truly think they are ‘tolerant’, but their words convey something entirely different.

        As I said, it’s all a bit ridiculous 🙂

        And yes, ‘tolerant’ is a really, really stupid word.

  4. Extremely well written!!! You are sooooo right about it being too much “work” to care. I am also too “lazy” when it comes to this stuff. Sexuality, Breastfeeding, circumcission, the list goes on… How boring if everyone was the same. Had the same thoughts, same views, same traditions. Boring! I make my own choices and I’m allowed to do that. Why would I care if someone makes an alternate choice for THEM?? It’s great have the options of different choices! Choose away Canadians and Americans! Live and be happy! Equality in every way….all the way! I’m keeping my “nose out of people’s bedrooms!”

    And yes, the rainbows are pretty!

    • Thank you! And thank YOU for also not caring what other people do with their life. As long as no one gets hurt (unless they want to ;)), of course.

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