I find it hard to be for­giv­ing

GA Voice - - Georgianews -

My cousin, about 15 years older than me, who grew up un­der the real throngs of apartheid South Africa, the rails of which were lu­bri­cated by ide­ol­ogy sim­i­lar to what you know of the Amer­i­can South, was re­ally sur­prised that I came out to him so late in my life. He gen­uinely was con­cerned that he had left me with some im­pres­sion that he didn’t like gay peo­ple, and he turned out to not re­ally give a shit; he has been noth­ing but lovely to me and my hus­band, whom I have been with for over seven years.

He isn’t gay and didn’t re­ally hang around gay peo­ple. He doesn’t seem to have many LGBT friends from what I can as­cer­tain, and he grew up in a small farm­ing town in a ru­ral prov­ince, and then a small con­ser­va­tive city.

Peo­ple like him make me quite un­sym­pa­thetic to the ar­gu­ment that “peo­ple don’t know any bet­ter.” I re­ally just strug­gle to buy at all that peo­ple have not con­sid­ered the wants and needs of the peo­ple they are dis­crim­i­nat­ing against through both the law and their own ac­tions. Apartheid South Africa (and to be fair, free South Africa), are very con­ser­va­tive places, yet my cousin didn’t fall for the big­otry you’re ex­pected to show to­ward LGBT peo­ple in a so­ci­ety run by white su­prem­a­cist Chris­tian fun­da­men­tal­ists. How can there be any ex­cuse for those who de­cide to jump on board with big­otry?

Sim­i­lar to con­tem­po­rary Amer­ica, I refuse to buy into the fact that peo­ple hold these ridicu­lous points of view about African- Amer­i­cans, His­pan­ics, im­mi­grants, LGBT peo­ple, women, peo­ple who have AIDS, the dis­abled, peo­ple who live in trailer parks and who­ever else, be­cause “they don’t know bet­ter.” In this day and age, there is so much in­for­ma­tion at our fin­ger­tips that if you don’t know bet­ter, it is be­cause you have cho­sen to not know bet­ter.

If you think that Chris­tian­ity and LGBT peo­ple are in­com­pat­i­ble, a sim­ple Google search will of­fer you thou­sands of re­sults of LGBT Chris­tians and churches. That AfricanAmer­i­cans don’t value work? This in­for­ma­tion doesn’t ex­ist out­side those who re­ally wish to think it. That His­panic peo­ple are steal­ing your jobs? Google their un­em­ploy­ment rate.

We should stop apol­o­giz­ing for them, and rather view these peo­ple as those who want to hold these dis­gust­ing points of view that aim to get gays thrown out of jobs, blacks out of the neigh­bor­hood, His­pan­ics equated with il­le­gal­ity, trans peo­ple out of pub­lic life and who see women as some­thing to kick around. Those who toe the line of these pop­u­lar stances in many parts of our state don’t get to pre­tend they have never heard an al­ter­na­tive. They own these ideas and we should stop ex­cus­ing them by say­ing they are “shel­tered” – it is on them that they are shel­tered. If they wanted to know what they were talk­ing about they would go and find out.

But they don’t. They want to keep on hat­ing us. And we let them get away with it by pre­tend­ing they are in­ca­pable of any­thing else.

“In this day and age, there is so much in­for­ma­tion at our fin­ger­tips that if you don’t know bet­ter, it is be­cause you have cho­sen to not know bet­ter.”

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