A Little Sexual Re-Orientation

October 30th, 2012

****** WARNING: I’m going to use some bad language here. Seriously. Sometimes you just have to. But that means this blog is not appropriate for anyone under the age of 15, so YA fans–click on the EPIC FAIL or TROUBLE WITH FLIRTING link and settle over there. Thanks. *********

I’ve been thinking. Not particularly clearly because we have a new kitten in the house and she’s kind of ruined my sleep the last couple of nights. (See photo)

The new kitten. Smaller than a 12-year-old’s shoe.

But still . . .

I had two conversations this weekend about having a gay relative. Both times, the people I was talking to said something similar, something along the lines of, “I’m fine with it, of course. But I worry because being gay can make life so much harder.”

I’ve thought and thought about this and–with all due respect to the very kind and loving people I had those conversations with–I’ve decided that they shouldn’t say that. No one should. And here’s why:

I have a gay son. Whom I adore, blah blah blah. Give me a medal: I actually like this kid I gave birth to who’s smart and funny and talks to his mother. Yay me.

And, yeah, I get scared. When I read stories about gay people who are brutalized in some way, I want to throw up. And scream. And kill the people who did it.

And don’t get me started on politicians who attack their own constituents–people who are loyal, tax-paying, peaceful Americans–because of their sexual orientation. That kind of candidate shouldn’t be allowed to make laws in this country. Period.

But even though that kind of thing disturbs and upsets me, I’m not ever going to say that I’m sorry my son is gay or that I’m worried because he’s gay.

Here’s what I will say: I’m sorry there are assholes in this world who hate good people. I’m sorry there are assholes who will judge you because they’re ignorant and small-minded and have been brought up by people who are equally ignorant and small-minded. I’m sorry there are assholes who cloak intolerance and xenophobia in religious language and pretend that their despicable behavior is somehow moral. I am beyond sorry–I’m devastated and terrified–that some people are so backwards and stupid and bigoted that they might take a swing or a shot at you just because you’re gay.

But I’m not worried or scared or devastated because of who you are. Who you are is perfect. I’m thrilled with who you are. I wouldn’t change a thing.

Maybe it’s just semantics–but the way we phrase things has a lot of power over the way we think about them. So if you love someone who’s gay and you feel anxious, don’t say, “I’m worried because you’re gay.” Say, “I’m worried because there are small-minded assholes in the world.” Because no one wants to worry his mom or his dad or his grandparents or his cousins. Why put that burden on your wonderful gay relative? Put it on the people who deserve it.

Put the burden of your anxiety on the assholes.