Sunday, November 27, 2011

Just leave

One of my Facebook friends shared a link to a story from Single Dad Laughing today. I tried reading it, but I cannot stand the fellow's writing style, so I didn't get very far. From the part I did bull through, however, I gathered that Danoah has this friend and this friend is gay and Danoah is the ONLY person to stay his friend after finding out the dude is gay. Now, I'll confess that a part of me questions whether this is really true, but for argument's sake let's say it is. This is my message to Danoah's gay friend:

Leave. Now. Beg, borrow, or steal the money for a bus ticket. Go to NYC or San Francisco or Vermont or Austin of San Antonio. Or any one of the numerous other cities with a thriving gay community. Better to live on the street somewhere you are accepted (or at least not hated) than to live in the nicest house in a town full of intolerant hillbillies.

See, it's not so much that it gets better. It's that it is better. But it's an uneven sort of better, and like all good things, it doesn't actually come to those who wait. You have to figure out what is better for you and then move toward it. It's just how life works.

Is there something to be said for working towards change where you are? Oh, sure. But again, there's that word: work. I tried that "sit tight and have faith" thing in my first marriage, and you know what? It accomplished nothing.

These are your choices:
1) Stay where you are, and speak out. Live your life unapologetically, make waves when people try to treat you like shit, and as the saying goes, be the change you want to see in the world. I highly doubt you are the only homosexual in your area, so find the others and work together with them to build a community and lend one another strength and use the strength that lies in numbers to effect change.
2) Leave. This doesn't sound as noble as choice number one, but believe me when I say it is a valid choice. Maybe you have no taste for activism. Maybe you would become a target for a hate crime if you came out and spoke up. I get both of those, really I do. But just as there are pockets of absolute intolerance in this country, there are areas where you will be accepted, and many, many more where no one will give a damn who you are and what you do. Get yourself to one of them. Otherwise, you are left with option
3) Stay where you are, and do nothing. Live in fear of losing friends if they find out who you are. Never have a boyfriend or a husband/partner because that would lead to ostracism. Stay in the closet to avoid conflict lest you fall victim to a crime at the hands of a homophobe. Never be you, never live your life, and sink into an incurable depression because your life really IS that bad. Bemoan the mean people who won't change around you magically. Die earlier than you should, either at your own hand, or someone else's, or just from the sorrow of a worthless life.

Is the choice really that hard to make?


Suz said...

Damn straight. (Pun intended)

The truth isn't always pretty, but it's always the truth.

Mark said...

Every time issues of this nature, and magnitude, come up - I find myself thinking about the odd but lovely idea that we are born with all the knowledge we need to thrive in this world, and in the course of growing up (read: socialization), we forget it. Children, perhaps most especially babies, are freely and unapologetically themselves.

That they are largely hungry, drooling, pooping versions of themselves makes no difference whatsoever. And yet, as per that discussion about the colorfully attired (literally) girl at the restaurant, by the time we hit puberty we're terrified of even beginning to express individuality, or even marginalized uniformity (e.g. goths).

Your take on that rather abysmal blog post/jumping off point is not only sound, it's responsible. I don't believe the gay person in the story is real; he may be a composite character, or the author himself, or just someone about whom the author read. Regardless of whether this particular person exists, people of his type and circumstance do. Yes, shame on America, Christians, Hill-folk, or whomsoever else can't just practice hostile indifference in this day and age, but if someone's at the stage where he can count a mildly disinterested albeit compassionate blogger as his only friend, the chances are good he wouldn't survive long enough to be(come) the change he'd want to see in the world.

Maybe I'm a little too sensitive to this topic, but the piece was unreadable to me both become of labored writing but also the fact that the story echoed the stories of so many teenagers who take their own lives.

Beg, borrow, steal ... but get the hell out. Noble choices are worthless in the face of no choice(s).

Albatross said...

Better to live on the street somewhere you are accepted (or at least not hated) than to live in the nicest house in a town full of intolerant hillbillies.

Good luck with that. No matter where you live, there will always be someone to hate you simply for who you are. Sometimes you just have to learn how to live with it.