“Hate that felt like a prop”

image from flickr.com

image from flickr.com

Based on the eloquence of her blog entry, I have a new writer to add to my list.

Someone on Jezebel linked to a blog by author Libba Bray. I’ve heard raves about her books, and even looked at them in the bookstore, but never actually taken one to the check-out. I should change that, and soon.

It’s easy and understandable to get mad about Proposition 8, and mad about all the crap that a gay person gets for wanting to call the one they love their spouse. Bray is clearly upset, as well, although she expresses it very eloquently and thoughtfully. Bray’s father was kicked out of the military for being gay, and then had to hide his orientation from the church body that employed him. He came out to his family when Bray was 14:

From that moment on, I, too, felt that I had two lives. In one, I lived in a small, religious and conservative Texas town and went to high school and listened to people spout hate that felt like a prop, like something that had been placed in their hands and so they waved it around because they didn’t know if it was okay to put it down somewhere. In the other life, I sometimes spent weekends in Dallas with my father and his lover, John. I took in the shops of Oak Lawn, Dallas’s gay district, went to see the Turtle Creek Chorale men’s chorus perform, was introduced to the work of Charles Busch, attended small chip-and-dip parties attended by “aunts” and “uncles” (We Are Family) where I got tips on my running technique from the lesbians and talked theatre with gay men. (Sorry if that hits your stereotyping button, but I’m just reporting here.

“Hate that felt like a prop.” My God, I want someone to give her an award for that description alone, because it’s excellent. Like her, I grew up in a small Texas town — although I can’t find out which one she lived in, and would really like to, because the instant I hear “Small Texas town,” my nosy instincts kick in and I want to be able to say, “You grew up in ____? I grew up in _______ , a few (minutes, hours, days) from there!”

She also references the movie Milk, namely the scene where Harvey Milk gets a call from a suicidal gay teen and tells him, “There is nothing wrong with you.” It’s a wonderful thing to hear, especially compared to the messages of “Something is wrong with you” that so many GLBT people get, be it implicit or otherwise. The stick-figure “One man plus one woman equals marriage” signs offend me, and I’m straight. To gay people, it’s basically saying, “You’re wrong, dude. Your lifestyle is wrong and you can’t do math.” Or when I hear someone opine that, “I don’t think God makes mistakes” when the topic of transgender people comes up. In other words, it’s all in your head, transgender person. Can’t you just get over it?

One comfort is that our side isn’t going to have to be the one that “gets over it.” Much of the younger generation really doesn’t think anything is wrong with gay people (although I’m a bit ashamed to say in my case, it took me until my late teens/college to figure out my church was wrong). Even the self-identified Republican who governs California has said gay marriage is going to be a (permanent) reality at some point.

It’s coming. I would say it can’t come a moment too soon, but I’m not one of the people who has to hope either the electorate or the courts will give me what should be mine regardless.

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