I live an extremely privileged life. Not only have I lived in countries in which being gay isn’t illegal my entire life, I am also lucky enough to have a family and friends who are accepting and supportive of me as the person I am (including, but certainly not restricted to, my sexual orientation). My experience with homophobia is very limited. In fact, I have so far only once encountered threatening, open homophobic behavior towards me directly. However, that incident, as upsetting as it was, is not even what I want to discuss here. Rather, I want to highlight a few more subtle behaviors that I have come across quite a bit from quite „liberal“ and „open“ friends and acquaintances and that are annoying the sh*t out of me. Because, guess what, if you’ve said any of the things below, you are obviously not quite as accepting as you think you are.
1. „Well, you have to keep in mind that X grew up in quite a different time. Things were different back then“ (and therefore it is okay that they are being a bit homophobic).
Well, first of all, my grandma is 85. She is cool with who I am. So clearly age is not a sufficient condition for being homophobic. Moreover, and more importantly, people who grew up 80 years ago grew up with a whole bunch of different norms and some of them are seen as completely unacceptable today. I am from Germany so most of the old people there grew up in Nazi Germany. But do we excuse antisemitism and racism because „things were different back then“? Then why make the exception for homophobia? Maybe because there is something a bit yucky about those gay people, hm?
This brings me directly to my next point:
2. „Well, if I see two men kissing, I just feel disgusted. I can’t help it!“ First of all, things that we find disgusting can be learned and unlearned. So there you go. While you are working on that, yes, you can feel disgusted. But that doesn’t mean that it is okay to treat people differently or to expect them to behave a certain way because you feel uncomfortable.
3. „Don’t take everything so personally. It’s not homophobia. There is just a place and a time for everything. If it bothers people, why don’t you just tone it down?“ Yes, there is a time and a place for everything and even though I do not necessarily understand certain norms (as far as I am concerned, love and sexuality are things that should be celebrated rather than repressed), I do accept them to a certain degree. I accept that people would have an issue with me having a heavy make-out-session in a church, a graveyard, a nursery or at a funeral. However, the moment that these norms don’t apply to everyone in the same way, I do take it personally. If people mind me kissing my girlfriend in a pub, a club, or on the street while they see hundreds of straight couples doing the same thing every day, than it is homophobia. And no, I will absolutely not tone it down in that case.
4. „I don’t mind gay people, but why do they need all these stupid parades? There is no straight pride parade!“ Yes, there is. Every day that you walk down the street hand in hand with your partner without being stared at (or worse) is a straight pride parade. Remember that day that you didn’t have to come out to your parents, your co-workers and your friends as straight? That was your straight pride parade. All those times people didn’t tell you that your sexuality was just a phase or that you just hadn’t found the right guy or girl was your straight pride parade. And have you heard of that thing that straight people do all over the world with fancy dresses and bouquets and lots of booze and awesome food and all their friends called „wedding“? A very straight pride parade.
5. „I don’t mind lesbians. Gay guys are gross, but you are hot! So we can still be friends, right?“ – no. Just as I am not going to be friends with a racist just because I am white and they don’t think I am inferior I am not going to be friends with you. And thanks for sexually objectifying me, by the way.
That’s all. Just had to get that out of my system.