Left out­side alone

Si­mon Wil­liamson lives with his hus­band in het­eronor­ma­tively-as­sim­ila­tive fash­ion in Athens, af­ter a year of sur­viv­ing ru­ral Ge­or­gia.

GA Voice - - Outspoken -

Back when I was in my early twen­ties, I was thrown out of my friend’s house by his fa­ther, who had un­der­gone the ex­pe­ri­ence of find­ing out I was gay while a trickle of blood si­mul­ta­ne­ously per­me­ated his al­co­hol stream. I walked in to see four of my friends sit­ting with this, at the time, re­spectable man, and he looked at me with con­tempt and be­gan to bully me in the way so many of us know all too well. I got up and left while my friends sat there silently.

He wasn’t the first or the last per­son to be a to­tal shit just be­cause I was gay. It was the first time, how­ever, that my friends had left me in the lurch, and that made me sad­der than the day I re­al­ized the chick­ens we ate and the chick­ens in the farm­yard were the same thing.

It was easy enough, in my cir­cum­stances, to just go and make some new friends in whose com­pany I felt safer. So that’s what I did. But even 12 years later, it still an­noys me worse than a fuck on fiber­glass that no one else got in­volved. It also hap­pened to be the one time ever I chose an av­enue other than con­fronta­tion, a re­gret I still seek to put right, all over ev­ery­body else’s Face­book pages.

Ob­vi­ously, throw­ing a gay per­son out of your house is no longer the fash­ion­able thing to do, and al­most no mat­ter where you live, do­ing so would in­vite some sort of push­back, rang­ing in sever­ity from “barely no­tice­able” (Iggy Aza­lea for ex­am­ple), to “Tay­lor Swift sang a song about it.” But the same can­not be said for the peo­ple we prof­fer as part of our com­mu­nity, whose con­cerns we have dropped faster than a case against a mur­der­ous po­lice­man.

An ar­ti­cle caught my eye over the week­end: Lance Berk­man, a for­mer St. Louis Car­di­nal, waded into a bat­tle in Hous­ton, Texas over an equal rights or­di­nance that would pro­vide city­wide anti-dis­crim­i­na­tion pro­tec­tions, in­clud­ing for gen­der iden­tity. Nat­u­rally, this means we have to have another round about fuck­ing bath­rooms and which ones trans­gen­der peo­ple are forced to use. This or­di­nance, says Berk­man (whose spe­cialty, I re­peat, is BASE­BALL), is bad be­cause it per­mits “trou­bled men to en­ter women’s bath­rooms.”

This fear, be­ing whipped up like some Lee At­wa­ter-inspired night­mare, is the usual first line of of­fense when it comes to the so­ci­etal hor­ror of equal­ity. And the en­tire or­di­nance gets de­feated if enough peo­ple are fren­zied into out­rage by this false­ness. There is as much proof that cis­gen­der women are safer in a cis­gen­der fe­male-only re­stroom as there is that gay mar­riages end straight mar­riages. There is much ev­i­dence that it is in the best in­ter­est of trans­gen­der in­di­vid­u­als to live their lives truth­fully. But this gets hid­den be­hind most “save the _______” de­fenses be­cause the tac­tic is so damn ef­fec­tive.

Which is why push­back against such garbage is as im­por­tant as en­sur­ing they keep wear­ing tight pants in the NFL. If we’ve learned any­thing from our com­mu­nity’s most con­tem­po­rary bat­tle, the mar­riage fight, it is that we can win when we try. It is re­ally up to us to fight back against the non­sense fired at mem­bers of our com­mu­nity, by big­ots of the high­est or­der.

If we don’t get in­volved, my friends, we’re sit­ting at a ta­ble, watch­ing a mate get­ting beaten up on and not do­ing shit about it.

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