On #IDAHOBIT18 for all YOU Well Meaning Folks
Reflecting quietly on IDAHOBIT on the many homophobic experiences my partner and I live through day to day...
Like when a “well meaning” man who is concerned about our ability to raise a child cold called me on my cellphone to inform me he knew about “my lifestyle with my lover” and could that be the reason our child is going through teenage angst.
Including the fact that I hear almost weekly how as a women-only household we were flawed and lacking and denying a male figure for our child to be balanced so no wonder...
I also recall when we bought a kindle book for a younger loved one and the parent said they hoped we were not “teaching their kids homosexuality.”
Sigh... yes living constantly under the veiled threats of well meaning folks who have no problem with “our lifestyle” as long as they and their loved ones do not catch it. You do not mind our love, gifts, patronage, friendship, money as long as we do not infect you with queerness.
But people our life is not a “lifestyle” what the hell is this heteronormative lens you look at made you reduce other people’s lives and choices to such denigrating lengths .....is this who you are now? That person who only sees things as one way and that its the only right way to exist? ..... yes that one way that de-legitimizes our lives, our relationships, our contributions and the wide variety of what and who family is... and yes the one that makes you think its ok to ask us who is the man in the relationship.
I have had people talk down and be dismissive to my partner and to me not just because we were queer but also because we were women.. (and as a side bar; I take it very personally when you put down or disrespect my partner in any shape or form).
We have been threatened, insulted, discussed by family and friends in whatsapp groups often in very degrading ways.
I have had classmates/ work acquaintances and colleagues raise their upper lip, snicker and laugh mockingly and deride other sexualities and gender expressions because it was funny, immoral, weird...against their beliefs, their culture and had to sit through frankly the most horribly biased and ignorant conversations without loosing my cool.
I have been threatened by men who think I need the experience of a “real man” to stop being queer.
This list is endlessly long and felt daily. I encounter people who could not even be bothered to read up or know the issues we face day to day and expect me to be their source or reference.
I encounter you each day you only call me last minute to ask for one of “us” to be in your meetings/panels and tick your inclusion card.
My “people “ are an afterthought and you remember the one queer woman you can call to “ask things” because I should know you dont have a problem with “us." Well here is the thing, we exist. And your veiled or overt prejudice puts a lot of us and our loved ones lives at risk, because you get to think you have a say on when we are deserving of a right to live our lives.
But what my partner and I are clear about is the fact that we owe nobody apologies or explanations for going about with our lives and we will take that principle to our graves too.... and our conscious decision is to choose every single day who and why we engage with friends or family and be present and engaged in their lives. But this ability to choose who we have in our circle in and of itself is a privilege we recognize we have...
LGBTI folk often have YOU and your BIASES to deal with on a daily basis. Your hate and intolerance is a serious threat to their ability to live their lives. You are their family, their neighbors, colleagues, leaders, employers, teachers, classmates, their friends etc... you get to bring that bigotry into the encounters they have with you...and you get to pick and choose when to be violent, sexist, transphobic or homophobic in those encounters. Each time its a choice, and you make it when you think you have a say in how people should express themselves and love or live their lives. You do that... you can also choose not to be part of contributing to hate and violence... you can also be part of bringing something different in these encounters so you do not occupy more space than you should. You can do that without even jumping too many hoops. #IDAHOBIT18