Hey Straight Folks

I’ve been spending a lot of time in my head lately, trying to be a better, more loving, decent person. I want so badly want to be a part of the movement where we point out to everyone that we are important, viable, decent members of society. Are we almost there… if not, why not? We are important, we matter. We are wives, husbands, sisters, brothers, lovers, friends, daughters, sons… we matter.

I realize there is a huge contingent of people who believe we, as LGBT people, are “less than” but I have to say, it’s time to stand up and be counted, recognized. After almost 40 years “out” I’m tired of people thinking that we are less than, worthy of disregard, something to be protected or treated as though we are children. We are your friends, your family, your everything. Stand up and be who you are, love who you love.

In my head I am 100% LGBTQ friendly. But, because I grew up in a time and place where being a “fag” was the worst possible thing you could be…there is a thing deep inside me that fears being associated with that. At work, when gay related topics come up, I try to always present, to the best of my ability, the pro gay side of things. But…I’m always thinking “are they thinking I’m gay?”
NTTAWWT, (ha!) It’s deeply ingrained and very hard to shed completely.

It blows me away that so many forums I’m on, not one single person bothered to acknowledge what happened in Orlando. As though it didn’t matter, or they didn’t know what to say. Here is a primer for those who didn’t know what to say:

  • God, how awful
  • I am so so sorry this happened
  • What can I do to help?

I have broken, weeping, torn, kids in my arms who lost people who are THEIR WORLD, who have no idea what to do with their pain and grief. What they, and I, need … is people to understand that no matter who we love, we are a part of this world, our love and our lives and our pain, matters.

I am just weary to my core after helping these kids. I had so hoped that after all these years, they wouldn’t haven’t suffer like we did. They would just be able to experience the joy of falling in love, the excitement of finding that new love, experiencing that first kiss or dance, without the fear of being hated for who they are. God, I am so tired.

River Hippie: same boat, alas. My views and values were formed in an earlier epoch. However, my politics and values are absolutely gay-supportive, and that’s what matters if society is to move forward. People can say “ew” if they want, so long as they don’t put up barriers. (Heck, I think “ew” about a certain number of heterosexual acts, too.)

I’m in that horribly clichéd position of saying, “Some of my best friends are gay.” I do role-playing-gaming (GURPS) with a gay and a trans-man. (I didn’t even know about the trans-man until a couple of months of gaming had gone by! I certainly couldn’t tell!)

If I saw two men kissing…I confess, I’d grimace and look the other way. I’m old. My father was a racist, and fought all his life to overcome what he had been taught in childhood. The world is getting better, but, oh my God, it is slow.

Ages ago a gay friend told us “it isn’t enough just not having any issues with me – you need to be open about it and help me!” And that is what basically got us into the movement, for lack of a better word. We do a lot of the marches and prayer gatherings and I was proud to be one of the delegates to the Church-wide Assembly when we changed the words/rules for the ELCA. I can shake hands with 60 and I am a fair bit older than most of the straights really active on the political/social side of all this. But the number of straight people fighting tooth and nail with our LGBT family gives me some pride. And hope for us all in the future.

For any group of people I can identify with, “we” are not all the same. There are good, bad and indifferent among us.

Even Allies seem unsure how to proceed. It’s not a national news or political item for us, it is someone who hated us so much, it was okay to slaughter us like cattle. there is no comfortable office lunch conversation about this, there is no cerebral response, it is an attack on who we are, who we love. It’s back to the days of us being being fodder.

I don’t think it’s that. It’s bad, bad as hell, but it’s condemned by all civilized people, when, back in the evil old days, the gays would have been blamed for it as much as the gunman. There really has been a major sea-change in society’s attitudes.

I’ll probably come around to this way of thinking, but right now it feels like SSDD.

I still, even after almost 40 years, can’t wrap my head around the endless hate, the tweets saying “well, at least this time they picked perverts instead of innocent people”, it is exhausting.

Bear in mind that things are changing a lot faster than you realize. I came out in 1963, before “out” was even a thing. I NEVER thought I’d live to see the day when the SCOTUS acknowledged that I had the right to marry another man, and that the majority of Americans would agree.

Back then my feelings of isolation were justified. I had never heard of anyone else being open about being gay, or even anyone saying it was ok to be gay. But these days it’s obvious that we are NOT alone; there are tens of millions like us, and even more straight people on our side. If one crazed, self-hating gunman considers us expendable pieces of meet, there is a growing majority of our country, including the President, who comes to our defense.

Just keep remembering our own history, and think of what it takes for a society’s attitudes to change. We have fought for acceptance, and we have been winning, far faster than we could have predicted.

Black Americans didn’t get the Civil Rights Act until 100 years after emancipation.

SSM gets a Supreme Court victory (although a weak one, as Kennedy didn’t actually invoke the equal protection clause, and it was only 5-4) only 20 years after the (odious) Defense of Marriage Act.

There are still people who haven’t come to terms with African-American rights. An ex-cow-orker of mine moved to Montana, specifically to get away from the “Martians.” “Martians,” he said with a knowing leer. Son of a bitch.

I’m impressed how fast transsexual rights are moving; I thought this, too, would be a twenty or forty year struggle, but it’s happening right before our eyes.

Take courage: the opposition looks bad. They can’t frame their arguments without looking like churlish bigots. America is coming around, because there aren’t any valid arguments against gay and trans rights. If even an atom of harm could be shown to follow gay marriage, they might have held it up another decade…but there isn’t any.

I grew up in the 60s and 70s in ultra conservative Utah as a gay-hating Mormon. “Hate the ‘sin’ love the ‘sinner’” bullshit.

I didn’t meet an openly gay man until I was in my late 20s.

My still LDS mother still refuses to accept my lesbian sister’s partnership as legitimate. In her will, my mother had my sister’s last name as our family name, despite my sister having legally changed it to her partner’s (before SSM was legal) and it took dire threats from me to have it changed.

I hate what conservative religions do to otherwise loving people.

Hi DeepLiquid, I’m sorry for all this misery.

Straight cis person checking in. I’m horrified by all the things that have been against my LGBT friends (which would be most of my friends) and am trying to do what I can to be a strong ally. Of course “ally” isn’t an identity, it’s an aspiration, and you have to ask everybody else to find out if I’ve really been an ally, but I’m certainly trying, and if we’re standing up to be counted please count me in.

For years I’ve been a member of the LGBT employee resource group at work, a member of the group’s core leadership team in fact. I handle our intranet presence and deliver courses on appreciating people who are transgender and on being an ally, and maintain our library of books and videos. I’m a member of several gay and trans organizations. I spend a lot of time in LGBT spaces and happened to be at a huge trans conference the two days immediately before Orlando. I help with gender transitions in the workplace. Last Sunday morning as soon as I heard about the Pulse massacre I found ways of donating money, donated, and started advertising convenient means for others to do so. I read a great deal to educate myself and have many conversations with others who also want to advance LGBT interests.

I have advertising all over my workplace linking myself to our LGBT community, and I’m visible in posters and displays and numerous mechanisms in our workplace intranet, and wear a rainbow logo and use inclusive language like “partner” and “spouse”, just so I’m a ready example of LGBTA people (the A being for “ally” to define a community that literally includes me).

This is not a hunt for cookies. The point is that anybody who really wants to help can easily do this stuff. This should be normal behavior. And I’d always like to hear what more I can do.

I’m an atheist, but believe firmly in the golden rule. I don’t give a crap about a person’s orientation. That’s their business. In a sense, it’s selfish of me, but what’s more important to me is how a person treats me. Are they polite and respectful? (I try to be polite and respectful to everyone, until they act like shit toward me.)

This is a lesson I learned many years ago when I was a cashier at a gas station. My rules for customers were: they shouldn’t make trouble (i.e., try to rob me), and they had enough money to pay for what they were buying. As long as they followed those rules, I didn’t care about race, creed, color, orientation, or anything else. (Obviously, I cared about underage kids trying to buy beer, but that’s another matter.)

In short, be cool to me, respect me, and I’ll respect you. And I’ll respect you as long as you respect me. The golden rule…rules.

Mass shootings happen all the time. Not sure why this one is special.

Yes, yes and yes again. I am 100% behind gay rights and I fully understand that no one chooses to be gay. But… All throughout my formative years, being “queer” was just about the worst thing you could be or call someone. The funny guy down the street who never married was “obviously some kind of pervert” and you stayed away from him. That’s not something you can unlearn on an emotional level.

Just for starters, it was the largest mass shooting in the entire history of our country.

On one level, it’s a shame that these mass shooting get so much press when just as many people die every day to street violence, but that’s just the nature of the beast.

Did it ever occur to you you’re wrong? I would say there is a huge overwhelming contingent of people who will fight for your right to your private affairs. And as such you are not “less than” anybody else.

That people disagree on changing the definition of the word “marriage” does not lessen acceptance of you. Nobody will ever be universally accepted by everybody for everything they do in life. It does not mean they are seen as “less than”.

I grew up in that same environment, and was indoctrinated by the same poison. Except I was the homo and the faggot and the queer and the pansy. It took many, many years, but I WAS able to unlearn it on an emotional level. Perhaps I’ve had reason to be more motivated than you.

Well, it does, but no longer in a way that really matters.

Some words are pretty central to what “adult” means in a given society. In ours, “marriage” is one of them: Adults are defined, in part, by the fact they can marry who they choose. Therefore, anyone who cannot do that is not a full adult.

Now, this matters primarily when it’s the government which disagrees with you on what the word “marriage” means, because a real marriage, of the type which actually matters, is a legal entity and as such must be recognized by the government in order to exist. Anything else is, de facto and de jure, something less than a marriage, and if you can only have something less than a marriage it means you can only be something less than an adult.

Therefore, the people who think same-sex couples can’t really be married think that their relationships are less than the relationships opposite-sex couples have, and, therefore, think that those who enter into such relationships are less than full adults.

The fact their bigotry no longer has the force of law doesn’t make it any less bigoted.