Monday, July 23, 2007

pride and prejudice, sans jane austen, part one

okay, i'll get to it. i've been hella busy these last couple of weeks and haven't updated my blog in practically a millenium (re: two weeks.) but i must be honest and let y'all know i've been avoiding it. avoiding my own emotional turmoil over an incident that happened when i was at dinner the other night with a couple of friends. but it's been long enough now, and i hope i've gathered enough distance to recount the story accurately and without getting too upset by it. so here's what happened:
the three of us are at dinner, discussing our weeks, lives, etc. ~ average friendly dinner convo. now the other two, bob** and maryanne**, are coworkers that have upped the ante from close friends to dating (dangerous, i know, but that's a totally different tale.) they're still in that obnoxious lovey-dovey stage, and it's kinda cute in a nauseating way. so maryanne is talking about her parents and what they do for a living and she mentions that her mother works for an adoption agency. we talk about that a bit, and i ask about whether or not they approve gay adoptions. this obviously leads to a turn in topics, and bob mentions that he'd recently seen a minivan with a vanity plate that read: '2 dads.' i smiled and said that was awesome, and remarked that i was glad people were proud to state such things. the conversation then went (roughly) as such:

bob: i don't know....
me: you don't know what?
bob: it made me uncomfortable.
me: what made you uncomfortable?
bob: i don't know. i mean, i'm okay with gays and all, but i just don't think they should be so obvious.
me: how do you mean, obvious?
bob: well, people get beat up for stuff like that. i just think they should be careful. they're kind of asking to get beat up by being so obvious.
me: so you're saying gay people should hide.
bob: no
me: then what are you saying?
bob: i just think that there are a lot of people out there that don't like gays. someone could come along and see that and get really upset.
me: but if you say things like that, then you're basically saying that gay people should hide and not be who they are. we need people to do things like have pro-gay vanity plates to emphasize that it is okay to be gat parents. in fact, it's GREAT to be gay parents, and there's nothing wrong with that. saying those men shouldn't have those vanity plates is saying that what they're doing is wrong. that who they ARE is wrong. do you not see where that line of thinking progresses? it promotes homophobia and intolerance.
bob: but i'm not homophobic. i'm friends with you and joe** & dan**
me: 'but some of my best friends are black' is NOT a valid argument. society has the problem, not gay folk. you can't blame a victim, and when you say things like that, it's what you're doing.
bob: but society's not gonna change.
me: you really think that civil rights for gays aren't going to progress? blacks and women didn't have the right to vote, but now they do. i believe that in my lifetime we'll see progress and the furthering of gay rights, don't you?
bob: no. i think the country is going in the opposite direction.
me: and you're okay with that?

the conversation escalated from there, with me reiterating the same points over and over again, and him continuing to state that gays will be beat up if they're too obvious.
~~ note that mary is extremely quiet during this whole discussion. mary's bisexual, and has had long term relationships with men and women, and has not piped up once, despite my repeated attempts to bring her into the discussion. she refused to state an opinion either way, because she was too scared to offend her new beau. ~~
i tried to take the entire conversation and put a similar situation into a different context. i began to discuss this court case that cara brought up last month at the curvature that made me cry with rage. i thought that by discussing that what a young girl is wearing and her background is no excuse for rape would resonate as discriminatory. i told him that the asshole judge in the case was blaming the girl for her attack, and that shaming gays into hiding who they are skirts the same thought lines.
i have to leave work now, so i'll publish the rest tomorrow
**not their real names


Roy said...

That's disappointing. I'm glad you questioned him on his view, because you're 100% right- if you're saying "Well, group X should be careful about being out, because other people might want to hurt them" you're totally saying that group X should hide. Yeah, it's possible- likely, even- that some people are going to be offended by that license plate. But you know, that problem is with them, not with the owner of the license plate.

*grumble grumble*

assembling words to armory, she waits... said...

exactly. thanks roy. i was so shocked that someone of a seemingly decent intelligence level couldn't grasp the idea that people wanting to beat someone up over a license plate is wrong. and that, concurrently, blaming the person with the license plate is, at the very least, backwards. the truth is, it scared me. a lot.

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