Laughing Off Homophobia
Tonight I experienced my fair share of homophobia. Tonight a grown man spent his time laying down homophobic comment after homophobic comment directed right at me, and it was pretty stupid.
I was at my best friend’s daughter’s 2nd birthday party, and there was someone there who decided to just let me have it. He was inappropriate, rude, ignorant, and stupid. But I’m glad it happened.
You see, I experience this every single day of my life. I never post about. 100 times it has happened since I last mentioned it and it will happen 100 more. So this isn't me being easily offended because I'm gay. Every day of my life I wake up knowing that there will be someone who will call me something, make a gay comment, or just minimize my entire experience as a human to this one part of me.
When someone told him I like country music, he said it was because I “want that cowboy dick.” Pretty untrue actually. When someone brought up tofu, he claimed that tofu was “gay” and also “the devil.” When the room got quiet for a minute he stopped to tell me that, “Ben, you’re so gay..... and I hate it.” Honestly. This man is 50 years old. There were many, many more little gems. Oh and he called me a "sissy-fag." Sticks and stones right?
Like I said, these are things I hear every single day of my life. Always by people who don’t even know me. Always by people who have no reason to hate me.
Earlier in this post, I said that I was glad that it happened, and I’ll tell you why. I’m glad that it happened because of the fact that it happened in front of a bunch of people that I love. People that I trust. People that I go to. This man was yelling things to me that I hear every day, but they don’t.
There’s only so much that I can tell, describe and report. There’s only so much that I can remember before I tell the story. I’m glad that it happened tonight because I’m glad that these people saw what I go thought all the time. Tonight was extreme, but only kind of. I hear this stuff all the time.
I always say it. I always tell people how I go through this every day and I laugh it all off. I tell my friends that I’m strong because you can say anything to me and it rolls off, which is true. Tonight, I did just that. I sat there while an ignorant man called me names and harassed me. I was strong enough to make jokes, to let all of it roll. And all my friends watched that. And now they will all understand what I’m talking about.
But let me make something clear: When I say that I can laugh something off, it doesn’t mean that I’m okay with it. When I say I can laugh something off, it doesn’t mean to keep going. If I have to laugh something off, its because you need to stop.