Confronting homophobia

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Yiwah
Confronting homophobia

This Sunday, I took my daughters to a splash park.  They were playing with some friends they went to school with, and the friends' mother and grandmother were there as well.  A lesbian couple came into the park and made a few passes through the spray before sitting down on a bench to enjoy the sun.  No major public displays of affection, they simply hugged a little and giggled...I point that out to highlight that they really couldn't have 'avoided' what was about to happen, not that they should have had to 'avoid' anything.

I was playing with my eldest when I saw the grandmother approach the couple.  I could tell from her body language that she was saying something vile to them.  All I heard was one of the ladies saying, "This park is for everyone".  My stomach churned...I stopped playing with my girl and stood up, burning a hole into the back of the grandmother's head.  I couldn't decide whether I should confront her, or if that would escalate her disgusting behaviour. 

I took a passive aggressive approach...when my daughter asked why I wasn't playing anymore, I loudly explained that I was upset, because that woman (I pointed) had told someone to leave the park.  My daughter of course asked why.  I explained that some people made up their minds to hate people they don't even know, and then they try to make those people feel bad.  My daughter said, "That's stupid, how would they like someone doing that to them?"

The grandmother and mother packed up their kids like their asses were on fire and left.  I feel sorry for the kids, who had no idea why their day had been ruined.

It bothered me so much, and it wasn't even directed at me! I approached the couple and said I was really sorry that had happened to them.  They seemed to be in shock...one woman asked me if I'd heard what the grandmother had said...apparently she'd said "If you want to be free, go home", and her argument was they were "disrespecting the children".  She asked if I felt like they'd disrespected my children and I wanted to cry.  I said the only thing I found disrespectful was that woman's bigotry.  The other lady began to cry.  I'm glad the other women had left, I was so angry to see how badly it had affected her.

So that bigot probably went home and explained how some awful lesbians had driven them out of the park.  I had to explain to my children why some people are so hateful, that they want to deny people the right to even enter a splash park.  I'm glad I said something to the couple, to show they were supported, but I also feel like I failed them in a way...I feel like I should have done more when I knew what that stupid woman was doing.

I'm still disturbed.  I don't have to deal with this shit usually, because even though I'm in an open relationship, it's primarily a het relationship and I'm not spending as much public time with female lovers. I've been lucky not to have to deal with much more than stupid comments and dirty looks, but my supposed 'hetness' is also a privilege that protects me.

I wasn't prepared.  I can't stop thinking about it.  I know it's 'mild' perhaps compared to physical violence, but it was so vile.

 

How do we confront homophobia?  When it's literally happening right in front of our faces?

Stargazer

You did a great job confronting it Yiwah. I was thinking about this topic today. My nephew is 17 and in the closet. He stepfather is a homophobe. I have no idea what is in store for him or how he is ever going to feel safe coming out. I wish I knew what I could do for him to make him feel it is okay to be who he is.

Along the same line - a friend of mine recently came out and is in a caring and committed relationship with another woman. As a straight girl she did not have to confront homophobia but now they are verbally attacked pretty much everywhere since she came out.

 

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Russia’s queer democratisation

Augusto Come, 27 May 2011

Quote:

LGBT people in Russia face a daily battle with homophobia and discrimination, and the decision to ban tomorrow's Gay Pride March is but a symbol of that. Yet a new generation of activists give many reasons to be optimistic, writes Augusto Come. Their determined fight for rights is playing an important part in a more general democratisation of the country.

Quote:

Thanks to its pioneering work on Pride and other LGBT issues, GayRussia has managed to position itself as the leading advocate of LGBT rights in Russia. Not everyone in the human rights movement agree with their approach: some accuse its 34-year old figurehead, Nikolai Alekseev, of deliberately offending Russia’s sensitive society through overly provocative campaigns. However, it is undeniable that this new generation of activists has managed to successfully bring LGBT rights to the centre of political and societal debate. In this sense, the Moscow Gay Pride has been a winning strategy....

http://www.opendemocracy.net/od-russia/augusto-come/russia%E2%80%99s-que...

..i apologize for posting this in this thread. It was the closest i could find that was relevent.

Red Tory Tea Girl

I think I've run out of the requisite energy to get angry everytime people use Gay and LGBT as synonyms, and then not mention the last two letters at all, as though to be trans is a technicality.

That carping aside, the actions of the Russian government, as they often are, are horrible and seem to underline a hypothesis that Gwynne Dyer presented regarding patriarchy and militarism back in 1994. The less free a government, the more it must exclude some of its oppressed to increase the status of some of its marginally-less-oppressed, otherwise a repressive government has nothing to offer its people in terms of total benefit.

milo204

i still think the best thing to do is directly confront the people who are being homophobic.  I remember last year a similar situation where a gay couple was confronted by some assholes in a public park, for holding hands.

several people jumped in and chased the homophobes right out of the park.  we tried to be civil, but since that's obviously not in the vocab of bigots, it quickly degenerated into telling them if they didn't leave, we were going to pick them up and throw them out.  

personally theres nothing i love more than letting my feeling be known directly to the smug face of some homophobic/racist/sexist ass.  And they get really embarrassed when loudly confronted for it too, which is a great feeling.

i would have loved to see grandma get chewed out in public and ultimately humiliated for being such a pathetic example of humanity.