Sometimes I forget that I tend to hang out (online) with people much younger than I am. That the feels are ALL THE FEELS and everything is COMPLETELY INDISPUTABLE.
Anyway. Yesterday I came across a post on Tumblr that upset me. I don’t know if the original was a guy’s post, or from his bio, or what, but it was a picture of a young man and beneath it was a paragraph about who he was and what he found attractive.
In that paragraph, he said he liked–oh, I can’t remember exactly. Something along the lines of “cis-males.”
On Tumblr, it’s common to reblog
So under his bio/comment was a comment interpreting what he found attractive as his being insensitive because he’d assume that someone he met who seemed like a guy would have a dick in his pants, and that’s cissexist (or cisgenderish, or something. I try, but I get my terms mixed up.)
And under that was another comment, interpreting his paragraph and the first commenter’s to make the guy transphobic.
Under that was a comment about how people are attracted to what they find attractive, and saying he’s wrong for what he likes is like calling someone a racist because they don’t find African Americans attractive.
And under THAT was the comment that oh hell no, that IS racist, go look up “internalised racism” and…
Guys. Deep breaths.
I’m not going to claim to understand all the commentary. I don’t go into terms all that much–I’m pro-anything that makes you happy, I try to keep an eye on my privilege, and I don’t go much farther than that.
But kids. Listen.
What you find attractive and who you are attracted to can be and often are two very different things. All that guy did (all that’s proveable with the quote supplied, anyway) is be shallow in his comment.
Oh dear god, hide the children, someone was superficial on the internet! *insert eye-rolling*
Seriously. Let’s look at this. I’ll use my own experience, though there have been many conversations with friends to tell me I’m not alone in this.
Jason Momoa because…Jason Momoa.
If I’m wandering the internets looking at pretties, I’m drawn to darker men. I don’t really care for light hair or blue or green eyes unless it/they are really stunning.
Tom Hiddleston is preeeetttyyy…
I…think I was saying something about not generally being attracted to guys on the lighter end of the palette.
My first serious boyfriend, in the top two of the most important love relationships in my life? Pale blond hair, pale blue eyes. And you know what? I thought he was gorgeous. Not because of his face–he was badly scarred from a childhood accident–but because of him. Smart and funny and sweet…and he had this laugh, you know? This incredible laugh that just made me grin and tingle, and when he made me laugh, which he did a lot, he would laugh…
In pictures I’ve always found thick lips yucky.* I’m sorry. I just do. Is it racist to dislike a feature that often appears on persons of African descent? Maybe. Like I said, I’m not up on all the terms. But here’s why I mention it.
I know a guy with lips like this. The first time I met him, I thought someone had punched him in the face. He’s from the Congo, IIRC, and he speaks English with a very thick accent. My brain has (falsely, I know, I’m working on it) connected it to his lips so even if I’m not looking at him, I think I can hear his lips as he talks.
You know what helps? When he starts speaking French. His French is beautiful. So is his Russian. And I love to hear him speak–oh carp, I’ve forgotten the other one! He and his nephew speak French to each other, but there’s an African language he speaks as well…or was it Arabic? *mutters at self*
anywaaaay…The more I get to know him, the more I find him sexy. Because the man is utterly brilliant. He speaks at least four languages. He went to college in France, and got TWO masters degrees in Russia. He’s an engineer. He wants to know everything. Lemme tell you–to me, that is Sexy. As. Fuck. And guess what? I’m not so bothered by the lips anymore. Gimme a bit more contact with him, and I bet I get to finding them attractive even on guys that aren’t him.
So what I’m saying is that my attractions are affected by my feelings. What I find hot changes with what I’ve experienced as “hot.” I don’t think I’m alone in this. So if we want to change the world, how about we stop ranting and just bring on the sexy?
’cause really. Telling me I don’t have the right to like what I like? That’s kinda fucked up too, when you get down to it.
*And then, when I went looking for a picture of what I was talking about, I couldn’t find one. Could not locate a pic of lips I found “yucky.” So perhaps this transformation in my brain has already occurred.
Someone reviewed one of my novels the other day, and in the review she made mention of the occasional homophobia my boys run across in my SF.
Okay, first, a clarification–I know it’s common usage (I do it too) but it’s not homophobia. These persons aren’t pathologically afraid of GLBT people. They do not spot a boy in a tiara or a girl with a “boy” haircut and run away screaming. They don’t hide in their houses for fear of encountering gays.
The behavior the reviewer was talking about is not an anxiety disorder. It’s hate. Discrimination. Prejudice. Bullying. Intimidation. Someone sees two guys in a loving relationship and decides there’s something wrong with that.
Anywayyyyy…the reviewer said “I did wonder if homophobia would still be a problem so far I the future. I assume interstellar space travel and colonization of other planets is faaaaar in the future. So the homophobia didn’t make sense at first. But who knows what the future will bring?”
It reminded me of this.
How Racist Are We? Ask Google
Of course, I wrote this book long before either of these events, but I did think long and hard about including gayism* in my novels. It does seem like far in the future, we should be past all that.
Far in the future, we should be past a lot of things. But then, in the now, we should be past a lot of things. And we’re not. And in some ways, we’re backsliding. So I think I made the right choice by including this particular social ill.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m a huge Star Trek fan. But I do think the future is more likely to be–oh, more like Joss Whedon’s vision than Gene Roddenberry’s. Gene had great faith in mankind. Joss…doesn’t, so much.
So yeah. Sad to say, I think there will always be jerks, who act like jerks and justify it in one way or another. I mean, it’s 2012 and there are still people out there willfully insisting that evolution is just a theory** and Creationism should be taught in science class.
*Yes, I made up (I think) a word. I’m likening it to racism, because “homophobia” seems like it should excuse the behavior. I am careful to warn my friend who has a frightened reaction to underwater pictures if I post a video of a squid where she might see it. I have no intention (ever) of telling people “warning! Contains gay.”
**Gravity is just a theory. We don’t hear of many people jumping off cliffs because of that.
What do you do when your treasured child, your darling daughter, your handsome and sweet son, announces he’s gay?
Say you love him/her. Do it now. That child you have loved all her life, that baby you guarded and toddler you chased, is standing there afraid they’ve done the one thing Mom and Dad can’t forgive and they haven’t even done anything.
This is your child. Tell them you love them. Then you can tell them you need some time.
I’m writing this because I’m getting a lot of hits on a rant I posted a few days ago, about how young children can know they are gay. I hope that post is helping people. I hope this one will.
So. If you’re here looking for advice, it’s probable the announcement already happened. If you said hurtful things instead of “I love you,” please go tell your baby you love them. Go now. “I’m sorry I said things without thinking. I don’t know if I mean them, but I do know I love you.” Or take out “I don’t know if I mean them.” But maybe you’re not there yet.
Back? Now take some deep breaths. Is this still the child who made you laugh till you cried putting curlers on the dog? Yes. Is this still the angel you cuddled through the night when he had a fever at three and only Mommy/Daddy’s arms would do? Yes.
This is your cherished child. Don’t you dare toss them out in the street for something they can’t control.* You didn’t toss him out when his toddler judgment led him to coloring the TV like Elmo, did you? Did you toss her and all her stuff in the street when her curling iron set fire to the bathroom due to adolescent carelessness?
Okay. When you’re ready, read this. Read it to the end, then read the related articles.
If your problem with your child’s orientation is based in the Christian faith, realize that we’ve gotten a lot of things wrong over the years, and perpetuated them until they’re enshrined. Think about it. Christ said the two important commandments were Love God and Love Your Neighbor, but the hating of gays stems from their love of the “wrong” persons. That doesn’t make any sense. This scholar goes back to the source, the original Biblical texts, and shows us how we’ve got it wrong. Is he right and much of history wrong? Well, HIS conclusions align much more closely with the teachings of Christ, so I’m thinking he’s onto something.
I can’t offer arguments for other religions, I’m sorry. I’m sure they’re out there, but I do feel that love article covers it all anyway.
My daughter announced at ten that she is bisexual. For years I’ve mostly snickered where she couldn’t see, because when she got in trouble for her refusal to acknowledge personal boundaries, it was always boys she was glomping. Then last weekend she asked me if she could have a girlfriend. (I told her she’s too young, for the record. The same thing I told her when she wanted to have a boyfriend. Though the boy who would be her boyfriend if I let her have a boyfriend is completely okay with her having a girlfriend too. Kids these days, I tell you. )
Now. I’m hoping that with some reading and some deep breathing you’ve come to realize this is just another bump in the road of child-raising. Hey, you figured out years ago that it’s no piece of cake, right? And really–is this the worst thing they could have told you? They haven’t beaten someone to death for the fun of it, as teens have been known to do. They’re not out setting stray cats on fire or writing racist epithets all over the bathroom walls at school. On the grand scale of Things Your Child Has Done Now, this is just not a big deal. Nowadays it’s not even an end to your dream of grandchildren.
Now realize–and this is horrible–that your child is in danger. Because of the foolish ideas so many have perpetuated unthinking, there are people all around who think there is something wrong with your child and they have the right to fix it by any means necessary.
Get ready to go on the warpath, Mom. Get your stomping boots on, Dad.
We can change that culture of hate. We parents, who love our children no matter what, can change that. In the meantime, though, we’ve got to be ready.
So do you have your child’s back?
*I’m not debating the morality here, or saying they’ll outgrow this. I’m saying this is still your beloved child. Nothing has changed but your perception.
I was reading this wonderful post, and a comment annoyed me. It was just one, among many wonderful supportive comments, but still. (Yes, I know. Even though I tell my friends never to read the comments, I was reading the comments. I’m a bad girl.)
The commenter (you can find it yourself if you like) asked how a seven year old could know he was gay. How he knew of such things, and if the parents would really accept any wild statement the child made–as children do.
It pissed me off.
Let me deal with the last thing first. When my daughter announced that she would be the first female president of the U.S., I did not say “Pfft. No, you’re not.” I suggested that an understanding of history would serve her well. When she announced she was going to be an astronaut cheerleader, I suggested science might be a good area of focus. When my daughter proclaimed she was bisexual, I was also fine with that. I am privately, where she can’t see, quite amused that she has never had a crush on a girl in her life, but I tell her “whatever. I love you.”
That’s my job–love and support. Help her grow into the person she was born to be. Maybe she will be the first female president. Maybe she will be an astronaut cheerleader. Maybe she’ll marry a woman. As long as she’s happy, I really don’t care.
The commenter asked how a child “would have an understanding of what a relationship like that is all about?” Oh, about the same way my daughter understands how she and her two friends will have an apartment when they are sixteen, and all have jobs and cars and yes, finish high school. Imperfectly, through the lens of childhood, but understanding the important things–who they love and want to spend their time with. (Don’t get me wrong. She loves me. But I am bossy. Odd thing, that.)
As for how a seven-year-old could know he was gay–how does a 7yo know he likes football but not baseball? Chocolate ice cream but not rocky road?
My friend’s son knew something was up when he was six. His brother’s friends were talking about a man kissing another man, reacting with disgust, and the gay child thought that sounded pretty nice. Of course, this would have been in the 1960s, so that boy didn’t know anything more than that he might like to kiss men one day. And that everyone would probably think it was disgusting.
Why do people think gay kids can’t possibly know they are gay until they are at least 15? My first crush was Luke Skywalker. I was seven. I knew nothing about anything, except that I liked looking at him and I wanted to be around him. At seven. Am I so alone? When do “normal” people have their first crushes?
I’ll tell you how a kid knows he/she is gay. Look at nearly any movie made for kids. Heck, go with what everyone thinks of as the most innocuous–let’s look at a Disney movie. How about Mulan? (one of my favorites, by the way, because it’s NOT about the “princess” finding a boyfriend.) What if a gay kid is watching that, and he finds that he likes the dynamic between Mulan and Shang when Shang still thinks Mulan is a boy? Or the Little Mermaid, and a little girl would much rather live in the ocean with Ariel than in Eric’s castle?
Kids know that they are supposed to fall in love and get married. Heck, our culture preaches at them that life is all about love and marriage and babies, but that’s a whole other rant. Is it really a surprise that a 7yo might think about how he wants to live happily ever after?
Edit to Add: I’m getting a lot of hits on this post, so I wanted to add a hopefully-helpful link. On this blog, contributors write about their first gay crush.
Generally I leave this to those better qualified, but I felt like a bit of a round-up post as several GLBT-related things came up in my nets today.
German Court Against Gay Marriage My reaction here is “Damn. Sorry, dude.” Seventeen years with his partner, went to freakin’ Canada to marry the man, but in Germany all he can have is a civil union, which is separate in more than name. Betcha het couples can have a marriage like Britney’s, just as easy and just as honored by the courts and the rest of the planet. But his seventeen years of love and faithfulness count for nothing. This must change. I hope he has a path to keep fighting. I hope others join him.
Congressman Ike Skelton (D-MO), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, doesn’t want DADT repealed because then parents would have to talk to their kids about homosexuality. To reporters at a news media breakfast: “What do mommies and daddies say to their 7-year-old child?” Well, Congressman Skelton, that’s really not a tough one. They say “some people like different things. Most women like chocolate, but not all of them. Most kids like ice cream, but not all of them. Most men like women, but not all of them. And yes, women don’t all like men. But we can all get along.” They might even address the issue at hand with something like “All this means is that people who want to stand up for America in a special and important way can do it, without having to hide who they are.”
The hard part will come in when a particularly bright 7yo wants to know why they had to hide before. I’d like to see you answer that question yourself, Congressman Skelton, as you seem to think hiding is a good idea. I know I’d have a lot of trouble with answering it without swear words, and without scaring that poor 7yo with the rampant idiocy that often controls the adult world.
But there is hope! Pride marches on, this time in Greenland. No, that is so not sarcasm. Check this out!
The May 15 Pride event in Nuuk, the capital, drew over a thousand participants — which may not seem like much, until you know that only 57,000 people actually live in Greenland. (Put another way, that’s like five and a half million Americans showing up for the first New York City Pride.) Reps from the country’s gay-friendly Democratic Party marched at the front of the parade, and Greenlanders of all ages and persuasions joined in, turning it into the second largest demonstration in the nation’s history.
One of every fifty-seven people in the country was there. Now that’s hope.
That should teach me to count on a bureaucracy. I’m supposed to get my tax return today. It’s my money and I desperately need it. But here it is, 1037 and no monies. My paycheck is there, telling me that at least one accepted time for direct deposit has passed, but that’s barely enough to cover rent.
I need my money.
Anyway. Some interesting things from about the internets before I fall back into my smut story:
Mansplaining according to Karen is
[w]hen a dude tells you, a woman, how to do something you already know how to do, or how you are wrong about something you are actually right about, or miscellaneous and inaccurate “facts” about something you know a hell of a lot more about than he does.
Bonus points if he is explaining how you are wrong about something being sexist!
Next up: Did you know the age of consent in the Vatican is twelve? What I particularly love here is how anal sex, that cannot get anyone pregnant, has a higher age of consent than vaginal sex in many places. (Also, that in some places the age for f/f sex is younger than for m/m sex, but it seems the reverse is NEVER true.)
Oh, humanity, how silly you are.
Also on the discussion of anal sex, I found this a bit interesting:
At the same time as anal penetration is held up in hetero male culture as the ultimately painful/humiliating/unpleasant experience, it’s also held up as one of the premium sexual experiences any man can have – IF he’s on the penetrating end. (Speaking, of course, about heterosexual relations.)
The writer suggests we call men on that. I say it sounds like a great plan. Make up your minds, boys! Either it’s a marvelous thing, or it’s painful, humiliating domination.
If you’re not willing to have it done to you, why in hells would we let you do it to us?
And I don’t want to hear a word about your poor virgin asses, either.
Interrupting the NaNo-blogging to say: I just don’t get it. WTF, Maine? How did gays ever hurt you? WTH, California? Just try getting by without your gays!
WTFBBQ!!!! to my own state, where we have a frakkin’ BAN, just to make damn sure.
Traditional marriage is threatened by things like “How to Marry a Millionaire” and Britney’s measured-in-hours matrimonial bliss, not by two people who love each other and want to make a public commitment. Where is the concentrated effort, the money pouring in, to put a stop to reality-show weddings, and drunk children making stupid mistakes?
I’ve heard the protests, and I’m sorry you don’t understand, but I will call anyone against gay marriage a bigot. You people don’t want for others the rights you can enjoy with an hour of preparation and a ten-minute ceremony performed by a bad Elvis impersonator. You’re either a bigot or a bully, and you’re probably both.
It’s against your religion? Fine. Don’t marry a gay. But you’d get awfully ticked off if a majority of Jews (not that they ever would, it’s an example!) tried to keep you from eating bacon because it’s against their religion, wouldn’t you?
How about if the majority of people in the U.S. were of strict Islamic faith? Are you going to calmly agree to wear a hijab, ladies?
This is why we have separation of Church and State. So I can eat bacon and leave my head uncovered and follow my Christian faith. So we can all peacefully go about our lives, pursuing our happiness.
If blocking others from happiness is what makes you happy, you are nothing but a bully.
It’s a big schoolyard with lots and lots of kids, but never doubt that God is watching.
And here’s what else I don’t get–yeah, the Old Testament said stuff that arguably could be about gays. But Christ said in plain language that divorce is a sin. Where is the protest that divorce endangers marriage? If you’re a Christian, then shouldn’t Christ’s words matter more to you than the Old Testament? Why aren’t you campaigning for laws to outlaw divorce?
Oh, right. Because that would actually affect you.
Nobody likes a bully.
If you want to live your faith, try following what Christ said was all you needed to do–love God and love your neighbor.
You know. The gay one.