Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Hop Against Homophobia...and Transphobia

Every time I’ve sat down to write my post for the Hop Against Homophobia, I’ve gotten angry. Downright pissed off. Invariably, anything I’d started to write turned into a lengthy, angry rant. After a few tries, I’ve decided to run with that lengthy, angry rant. Why? Because the time to be nice and diplomatic has long since passed.  So, lengthy, angry rant it is.

Folks, it’s the year 2012. It’s high time our society collectively grew the hell up and stopped playing ridiculous childish games with people’s rights. Everyone is ranting and cracking down on bullying, and yet in the same breath we’re playing the equivalent “don’t let the girls play on the swing set” or “you can’t play with my toys because you have ugly freckles or a funny name”  with people’s lives. Real, thinking, feeling human beings who suffer because who they are and what they are offends other people’s sensibilities.

Quite honestly, if someone’s queer identity offends your sensibilities, please let me be the first to invite you to shove those sensibilities up your backside.

“Am I not entitled to my opinion?” some might be asking.

Of course you are. You’re welcome to your opinion. However, that welcome mat gets yanked out from under you the second you try to impose that opinion on other people in a way that negatively impacts their life.  Your nose-wrinkling distaste of gay relationships does not give you the right to keep a woman from her dying partner’s bedside. Your offended sensibilities do not grant you the authority to drive a transgendered teenager to suicide. You don’t have the right to beat the living shit out of a gay man because you inexplicably believe his sexuality threatens you.

I’m not exaggerating here. We've all seen the headlines, especially in recent years. I graduated high school in 1999, and during my high school years, a dear friend decided to bring his boyfriend to a school dance. I actually heard these words: “If I see them dance together or kiss or something, I’ll beat the shit out of them!”

But why? What could possibly be so offensive about a dance or a kiss that people feel the need, the justification, to resort to physical violence?

I don’t understand. I really don’t.

Even today, some say: “If you choose to live that lifestyle, you have to accept the consequences.”

Okay, first of all, those are not natural consequences. They’re the result of bigotry and narrow-mindedness, and no one should accept those consequences. None of us should. There’s no excuse for it.

And for that matter, it’s not a choice, folks. Many of us have fought long internal battles over our identities, often at tremendous personal cost. Why would we do that if it was a choice? Wouldn’t we just choose not to be what is causing us all this heartache? Think about it. Do you really think children would be committing suicide – in alarming numbers, I might add – over something they could choose to avoid altogether? Why would anyone choose to suffer?

The answer? They don’t choose to suffer. They don’t choose to be society’s convenient target of hatred. We, as a society, choose to make them suffer, and there is no reason why we can’t choose to stop that suffering. To stop inflicting that suffering.

This goes for gender identity as well as sexual. Think about what a transgendered or genderqueer person endures. In a society in which gender roles are so polarized and deeply ingrained, why would anyone choose to be transgendered?  Gender reassignment – whether or not surgery is involved – is a long, painful, ostracizing process. It’s often prohibitively expensive, especially if someone does wish to undergo gender reassignment surgery. On top of that, it makes a person a target of hatred that has a sickening habit of turning into violence. All it takes is a perusal of the news over the last year to see that transphobia is no less dangerous than homophobia.

Shouldn’t it stand to reason, then, that the need to match one’s body to one’s brain goes beyond a simple choice or a compulsion? That it’s deep-seated enough that continuing to identify as the wrong gender is so hellish, so unbearable, it makes facing transphobia the lesser of two evils?  Imagine that, folks. Imagine what it’s like to be that out of place in your own skin that you’re willing to risk your social network, your livelihood, your physical and emotional health, even your life, in hopes of finding peace with who you are. As a civilized society, we should be supporting and loving people going through this kind of hell, not making them live in fear on top of everything else they’re going through.

This is why I’m tired of playing nice. Homophobia and transphobia are not petty, silly things. People are being denied rights the rest of us take for granted. Real people are living in real fear of real harm because of ridiculous misconceptions, outdated notions, and blatant bigotry.  Lives are being hindered, ruined, and even ended because we’ve somehow convinced ourselves that we have a right to decide someone else's identity is inferior to our own. We've somehow gotten it into our collective mind that love can justify hatred if it's not a love we personally relate to or understand.

I’m queer myself, but because I’m in a heterosexual marriage, I can fairly easily enjoy heterosexual privilege. I could easily ignore these issues because they don’t pertain to my everyday life like they do other people’s. But hetero privilege doesn’t negate human responsibility. Just because you can turn a blind eye doesn’t mean you should. Being outwardly straight doesn’t mean I should pretend not to notice homophobia and transphobia any more than being white means I should pretend racism doesn’t still exist. We – all of us – owe it to our fellow human beings to be aware, to be angry, and to take action.

It disgusts me that this is even an issue anymore. How many times do we have to go through this – the oppression, erasure, and blatant discrimination of less powerful groups – before we realize it’s inhumane and barbaric?  How many times do we have to do this before we see that we’re just finding another weakling on the playground to beat up so we feel superior? 

It’s been race in the past.



Economic standing/social class.

Now it’s gender identity and sexual orientation.

Where does it end?

Rather, why hasn’t it ended already? 


And as the other bloggers in the blog hop are doing, I'm giving away some books:

One randomly drawn commenter will receive their choice of an ebook off my backlist.  The commenter who leaves the most interesting, thoughtful comment related to the subject of the post will receive their choice of two ebooks OR a signed paperback off my backlist. 

Winners will be selected on May 21st. Please make sure to leave an e-mail address so I can contact you. Winners will be contacted directly as well as posted here, and have 72 hours to reply and claim their prize. Good luck, and thanks for stopping by!


  1. I can't understand anyone who doesn't think this is a human rights issue. Grrr.

  2. I am so with you... Somehow I hope that future generations learn from our mistakes.

  3. Thank you, Lori, for a very insightful post, and for being a part of the Hop Against Homophobia blog hop.

    I think a large part of people's attitudes revolve - right or wrong - around fear. Fear of what they don't know and can't understand. Fear of something or someone that is different. These people need to understand that bottom line - everyone wants to love and be loved for who they are. And this love is no threat to anyone. More love, less war will make the world a much better place. Just think if people quit spending all this money fighting gay marriage, what could be done with it - the people that could be fed, sheltered, educated, and healed.

    I pray that someday this will happen.

    Full Moon Dreaming

  4. Lauren, great great post and you're so right! It angers me so much. The bigots can be so exhausting because their views never make sense. So many people 'Stuck on Stupid'

  5. I also don't understand and just hope that my children and the generation to follow will know what is truly important love and get past all this fear/hate.

  6. Very good post! I too cannot understand why this is an issue, and why people are fighting so hard to stop love. With all the crap in the world this shouldn't be any sort of a problem.

    I have always believed that the ones who fight so hard against it have something to hide. Like the boy who bullied one of my closest friend for being gay, now 10years later got himself a boyfriend. I want to know what they are so afraid of?

  7. oh yeh and my email

  8. Very thoughtful post! I have had my own angry rants, some involving family members. Don't know if I will ever change their minds, but I am going to keep on trying.


  9. It's interesting to hear the perspective of someone queer-identified but in a heterosexual marriage. I guess there's heterosexual privilege, but at the same time it could be a double-edged sword (a la those who begrudge bisexuals their orientation because it doesn't fit a binary code). I remember years ago, one of the members of God Is My Co-Pilot was reviled for marrying a woman, even though he asserted that queer-identified songs he'd written, such as "Straight Not," held true for him to that day. I'm glad your experience has been more positive!

  10. Thank you LA for this post. For this rant. Thank you for so vehemently and accurately expressing the fact that no one would choose to be oppressed and ridiculed. Thank you for remembering to include transgenders in this post. I can remember the disbelief I felt when my bio family told me that I had chosen to be a transgender male homosexual. I remember the anger I felt when people from the GLBTQ community said the same thing. Thank you for reminding everyone that it's not a choice, but more than that, thank you for pointing out that this type of superior/bullying attitude, people trying to force their morals, their opinions and beliefs on others, has been going on for a long time and now, enough is enough. It's time for it to end.

    Thank you for this post LA. Thank you for being a part of this hop and for understanding that being in a heterosexual marriage, having "heterosexual privilege" doesn't make anyone exempt from taking a stand against homophobia/transphobia, just like someone being white doesn't make them exempt from standing up against racism. Thank you again.


  11. Thank you for this - it's oddly calming to see someone else getting angry about the things that leave me furious.


  12. Really felt all your emotions in this post. Thanks for your comments - the last line really sums it all up nicely - why hasnt it ended already

  13. This blog hop is huge and every post is meaningful so it's taking a lot of time to get through. That's a good thing! I'm really enjoying reading the different stories, experiences and thoughts being posted. Thank you for sharing yours.

    andreagrendahl AT gmail DOT com

  14. Love should always triumph over hate and I believe it always will. I am saddened by the extent that others' homophobia has sought to control the lives of people who want nothing more than to live their lives, love the people they love, and be happy. Isn't that a right for all?

  15. Good Morning, I just wanted to say how much I admire you for banding together with so many authors for such a worthy cause. Good luck in your endeavors.

    Missy Martine

  16. I so agree with you. Homophobia as well as Transphobia is something that makes me soooo angry. I can't believe that some people still behave like we are back in the Middle Ages.

  17. In my community one of the reasons homophobia and transphobia still exist is because it is being reinforced by a majority of the society especially the church . It's so sad that an institution such as the church that should be spreading about love is encouraging hate and exclusivity.
    It's great to know there are people who believe love is more important than hate and that homophobia and transphobia should be stopped.

    dekad1 (at)hotmail(dot)com

  18. I don't understand it either.Why is there so much hate in the world? I certainly don't think everyone should love everyone else, but homophobia is just illogical!


  19. Totally agree with you. I'm asexual, and it ain't easy either.
    Let's stop this bullshit. great rant!

  20. Anyone who belives homophobia, sexism and racism is simply freedom of speech, may think violence is a proper form of discussion too. Well, stop it!
    Great post!

  21. Hi L.A.
    Gay people cannot change who they are, so we should all stand together to change the world for them. Loved Out of Focus!

  22. Rant was needed because people just aren't getting it. Too bad we can't legislate common sense. I can't understand a society that can show all sorts of violence but can't handle two people showing their love for one another no matter who their partner is. Thanks for fighting the good fight & for sharing. You rock! but I've told that that already.

  23. Thanks for participating in the hop. This is a great cause that I pray one day will not be needed.

  24. Perfect rant! Love is love no matter what.

  25. Wonderful post. I could not agree more that the argument "I'm entitled to my opinion" should never be allowed to be used when that 'opinion' takes away another person's freedeom, safety, rights, but most important of all takes away someone's life. It is indeed a very sad aspect of society's behavior that anyone that is deemed 'different' in some aspect or another somehow gives the okay to bully or intimidate that person. For it to end, the people saying "ENOUGH!" have to be louder and a lot more vocal than all the playground bullies.

  26. It take so much more energy to hate someone so why not put all that energy into loving instead. We have to teach our kids that hate is not the answer to anything and acceptance is the path to love.

  27. I many be straight but I can see that this isn't just an issue for GLBT people. I think the reason marriage equality is under fire is because good people are sitting on the sidelines. They don't see it as their fight. People like me who are not personally affected by these injustices HAVE to stand up against it. If you believe in equal rights then you have to voice your support of marriage equality.

    geishasmom73 AT yahoo DOT com

  28. Amen LA! And I completely agree. I'll shove a bad attitude up someone's nose if they don't like me because I'm me. And as I've seen before- If you don't like gay marriage, don't get one. :D
    Thank you for participating in the hop!
    bellaleone4 at gmail dot com

  29. Rant on! It's really too bad that the very ones that NEED to hear your rant will never get within a mile of it. I'm pinning my hopes for a better world on my grandchildren. The 16 year old rolled his eyes when his dad (my worthless son-in-law) made a particularly stupid remark about gay people. Of course he rolls his eyes a lot so I made a point of him hearing me tell his dad he was wrong.

  30. I'm not an eloquent poster so you'll have to settle for simple thanks for participating in the blog hop :)


  31. It's great to hear a rant that makes sense every once in a while. Thanks.

    burchills AT gmail DOT com

  32. Thank you so much for posting this! It really summs up everything that is wrong with society's general attitude towards LGBT people. It's either "you chose to be this way" or "It doesn't concern me since I'm straight". And sadly, it is even harder for transgender people, who often face prejudice even from other LGB people. It's really good to see so many people take part in the HAH!

  33. I am busy working my way through the blogs and can see that many people are going with the "zen" approach to the issues. Sometimes though bluntness needs to be used, because reason and calmness doesn't quite cut it.

    It is long past time it all ended and while I don't see it happening in my lifetime, hopefully some future generation will not have to suffer the way so many people do today.

    lmbrownauthor at gmail dot com

  34. Brilliant post Lori. I started off thinking why preach to the choir, but sometimes even the choir need to hear the message loud and clear. And we need to back each other in the fight against bigotry in any form. Only by staying together can we get out there are start convincing the idiots that gay/queer/transexual/asexual isn't a choice, isn't scary and isn't a threat to anyone.
    Stay supportive and stay strong, one day we WILL be able to look back on these as the bad old days. <3
    jennysmum2000 at yahoo dot co dot uk

  35. I feel the same way. Sometimes I read an article about discrimination and think I am reading one of historical novels where the MCs are fearing death for their "crimes". Then I realize it is 2012 and I think there has been so little change over hundreds of years when it comes to men in love with men.

  36. I love it...great rant! I so agree. Homophobia is wrong and so is discrimination. The thing people need to understand is....No one is asking for special right, just equal ones. Thanks for sharing.

  37. Sometimes ranting is the appropriate response and as rants go this is a very eloquent one.

    I'm sick of being asked why I, as a straight married woman, should care about issues that 'are nothing to do with me'. Nothing to do with me? Decent hard working people, bright and intelligent teenagers being treated like dirt nothing to do with me? My arse that's nothing to do with me.

    Attitudes have to change and I think that the only way to do it is through education. Teach the kids to be accepting and tolerant and gradually the bigots will die out.

  38. Good rant! I so understand what you're saying. It's 2012, this shouldn't be an issue anymore. One day, that's all we can work for.

    eripike at gmail dot com

  39. One of my Doctor's receptionists is a transgender person. When I was there with my son (who was 21 at the time), it was the first time he'd seen this particular receptionist, he asked me "is that a dude?". I said no, she's a woman. He simply said "oh". No judgement, no further comment.

    I think it's because both of my younger brothers (his uncles) are gay and he's grown up knowing nothing else and all our family and extended family have always been accepting of my brothers and their partners, so it's no big deal to him. Hopefully his acceptance will spill over onto his friends if they ever come across a similar person.

  40. It's so true that this should have ended before now. But I think that, sadly, there is a part of human nature that will make it impossible for discrimination of one sort or another to ever completely go away. There is a part of us that wants to feel superior, to say "I'm better", to look down on others. But that doesn't mean that we can't do our best to stop that, and that doesn't make it right.


  41. Totally agree with your post. Thanks for participating in the HOP.


  42. Wonderful rant! When those who are religious start quoting I always hit them back with "judge not lest ye be judge" and "love thy brother"... I can pick apart the bible as well as they can. What I can never understand is how people can think that all this hatred is right. I believe we should all love and supposrt one another. Life is hard enough without all this senseless bigotry. One of my daughter's friends lost 2 friends this past week to suicide. It breaks my heart that these boys chose death over life due to the bullies of this world telling them that it was wrong to love someone. I'm proud to say that I raised my children knowing that they were free to love whomever they want and to defend others rights to do the same. If all of us can manage to change just one other person's opinions and if that person can open one other's mind, before you know we will have made one hell of a difference.


  43. Thank you so much for sharing your rant. The funny thing is, it's a lot like my rant. 60-70 years ago, it was race. If you were black, you were considered inferior, stupid. Violence and hatred were common. And people thought that was okay back then. Before that, it was women. And before that it was Irish Americans. And then immigrants in general. At one point in time, it was okay to mistreat these groups and yet if you tried to do the same today, you'd be called a monster. People would condemn you for it. But if you threw your kid out because they're gay, there's people who would not only support you but applaud your decision. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. The hypocrisy is astounding. And don't even get me started on those far wing Christians, we might be here all day.

    Being gay isn't a choice. Do you think all gay people would choose to be hated and discriminated against if they had a choice? No, I'm gonna go be gay and face discrimination and hatred, so I can be a rebel! Really? That's like saying that I choose to have chronic depression. That I choose to have bad days where I'm miserable and suicidal. I didn't choose that anymore than I chose being asexual. Being gay is something you are born as. And there is nothing wrong with that. A person I met, we were talking about the new medical advances that could let you see a baby's DNA. We were arguing the pros and cons and she said, "well yeah, it'd be nice to know if my baby was going to have problems, like it they were going to be gay." And I was shocked and horrified. You wouldn't want your baby just because he or she is gay? And yet a lot of families toss their kids out when they learn the truth. And that is so disheartening.

    The point to all of this is that things need to change. This is the 21st century people. We're not still stuck in the Dark Ages. Homophobia and discrimination are wrong and need to be stopped. This blog is just one step in the right direction. People need to start speaking out, like President Obama just did. We need to start sticking up for each other and fighting for what's right. So thank you for sharing and participating and thanks to everyone who's participated in this hop. We're making a hell of a start.


  44. I instill acceptance in my young children, they will be the generation of change, they are our future.

  45. Thank you for your angry rant. I 100% whole-heartedly agree.

    susanmik AT gmail DOT com

  46. You sound soooo much like me! LOL You can't help it but TO BE angry!!! To me, homophobia is an excuse. An excuse to not acknowledge that something *IS* because it was meant to be. I'm going to use me as an example, not an example of me being homophobic but an example of what I did when I encounter homosexualism. While growing up I never heard the word gay in my house thus I started middle school not even knowing what a gay person was. I heard the other boys call a boy in my class a *faggot* amongst other things and I had no idea what they were saying. Through the years and even after I knew what the word meant I didn't know anyone who was openly gay so it was never in my mind. Once my oldest daughter came to me and told me she was gay, even though I was scare at first, the first thing I did was research. Years later I'm still reading about and coming up with the most interesting things all the time, some very good, some, well... ignorant. Like the Phelps family and their cult followers. There is a word for these type of people, and sorry, it is NOT ignorant. They are just Sociopaths who don't like anything that does not conform to their beliefs. There are too many people who CHOOSE to be their puppets, unfortunately. Here's a couple of interesting things for you to share with your readers. The first one is a test done by a panel of psychologists on homophobia...

    The second is a very interesting read for those who are believers... I'm not a believer but still find it quite interesting...
    Enjoy and thanks for participating in Hop and sharing your views with us!!!
    Sandra Rush