Friday, January 28, 2011

Homophobia Alive and Well

Me at Gay March in Washingtoon D.C. October 4, 2009
Out of the closet BIGTIME

I have three blogs.

One of my blogs is this one, "Retired in Delaware".  This blog is my personal journal.

My second blog is one for my former high school class, called "Downingtown High School Class of 1959".

My third blog is for my family genealogy called "Tipton Tales and Trails."

As regular readers of this blog know my profile list me as a gay man.  When I first posted my profile I hesitated to publicize the fact that I was gay, lest that I offend some readers of my blog.  That hesitation lasted for about four seconds because I thought "This is who I am, if a reader of my blog is offended then that person is a homophobe and I do not want them reading my blog. "  

I haven't had a problem identifying myself as gay in my profile.  That changed today.  Homophobia raised its ugly head again today.  

Today I did a mass mailing of my "Tipton Tales and Trails" blog to a new mailing list that I obtained from the new president of the Tipton Family Association of America.  His name is John Parrish and he has resurrected the TFAA and started to publish a newsletter.  Ten years ago I was the TFAA editor of the newsletter.  When I published the newsletter, I did not identify myself as gay.  It wasn't necessary.

This morning I wanted to help John by publishing his newsletter to my blog.  I also included the mailing list he sent to me.  One thing I neglected to remember, was that my profile on my "Retired in Delaware" blog also appears on the profile on my "Tipton Tales and Trails" profile.  Much of the mailing list for the TFAA newsletter is in the south.  Yes folks, many of my Tipton relatives are conservative southerners. I hesitate to paint all southerns with the broad brush of gay bigotry but we all know that many of those in the South feel quite comfortable exposing their discrimination against gays.

Thus it was with some sadness that I received this response from this person who I e-mailed a link to my "Tipton Tales and Trails" blog this morning.

"Who gives a rat’s ass about your sexual preference!!! Otherwise, it’s pretty interesting."

You know folks, as long as I've been on the receiving end of this kind of hate, I never get used to it.  

I'm reminded of a quote that Charles Tipton, my predecessor as editor of the TFAA Newsletter always had in quotes on the top of each edition of his newsletter:

"You can pick your nose but you can't pick your relatives"

As regular bloggers know, your profile appears the same on all blogs that you own.  I don't have the ability to "censor" my blog on "Tipton Tales and Trails."  However, even if I did I wouldn't.  I am gay.  I think it is pathetic that some people in this day and age still feel uncomfortable when confronted with the fact that some of their fellow human beings are gay. 

Ron, out and proud Washington D.C. March, October 4, 2009

I came out of the closet in 1963 and I never intend to go back, no matter how many people I upset. In fact, I think it's time for more gays to come out like me and to make more of these gay haters expose their ignorance and bigotry.  

Me with my gay friends at the Washington D.C. March
We're all out of the closet -never to look back!
While I'm a bit upset this morning (and after a good morning too), I feel like I accomplished a lot more than I intended to today.  I exposed another bigot.  

I'm tempted to send an e-mail back but I know that won't do any good to persuade this ignorant bigot to change his views.  I've seen that movie and I know how that ends.  Unless someone in their family comes out, they will go to their grave with all that hate.  

Sad isn't it?


Mark said...

Good for you for being proud! You should be! I like to give people the benefit of the doubt when they say something that sounds offensive. If it were me receiving that email, I would want to believe that that person was trying to be funny and connect with me. They did add that it was pretty interesting.
Maybe it's just me.
Your Friend, m.

Nathan said...

I just don't understand where people get all this time to hate. Don't they have lives of their own to live?

And as someone who was born and raised in the South, your generalization is not off base, it's one of the main reasons I left.

I just try and stay hopeful, it will continue to become more of a nonissue the longer I live. I do wish it would move along faster though, I'm not getting any younger here, lol. None of us are!

Breenlantern said...

The irony of this statement is that we would LOVE it if no one gave a "rat's ass" about our sexual ORIENTATION or preferences (maybe you should at least educate him/her on the difference between those two words.) The fact is EVERYBODY DOES seem to give a rat's ass about our sexual orientation: they use it to as talking points to discredit us, fire us, imprison us, prevent or reduce our equality and access public services and health care, tax breaks, marriage equality, etc. WE are not the ones who have made an issue about who we are attracted to, THEY are...they've spent centuries making it an issue, and now they blame us for making it one.

Good for you for not hiding who you are. People need to see we're part of every community. When straights start hiding their sexuality, their opposite sex spouses and ceasing talk about their marriages, anniversaries, families, children, etc etc...when we stop getting bombarded with adds, movies, songs, religions and speeches about the wonders of heterosexuality, when THEY learn to SHUT THE HELL UP about THEIR sexual "preference", then, and only then, will they have a leg to stand n in requesting not to know about ours. Until that day, they can kiss our out in the open, man loving, rainbow flag waving queer asses.

nitewrit said...


Did this relative write anything else in his/her comment? The comment, ""Who gives a rat’s ass about your sexual preference!!! Otherwise, it’s pretty interesting," could be taken a couple ways. I mean, it could be someone trying to say they didn't care if you were Gay or not. The "Otherwise" is the only thing that might indicate they may be somewhat hostile.

As far as the profile, actually you can select to not have your profile show on individual Blogs or to only show as a link to a full description.

But as I have stated on my one Blog, "Be who you are because those who matter don't mind and those who mind don't matter."

Of course, if that person finds your Blog interesting maybe they will get educated reading it.


Ron said...

You may be right Mark. But I'm used to this type of bigotry. I've had it slap me in the face many times ever since I came out. When someone says something like that they're instantly discounting you as a human being which I refuse to accept. That only makes them madder because they've been used to having that power of oppression for so long. Homophobia, like racism, is something that I fear will be with us all of our lives. Maybe it hides under a rock during these more "enlightened" times but it still seeps out like an infected wound. It's got me down. I'll be back up.

Ron said...

Thank you so much for your comment. I do hate to generalize, especially about people in the South but when I went on my first Genealogy Tour in 1994, researching in North Carolina and Tennessee, where my father was born and left as a young boy, I met some of the nicest people. However, some of those "nice" people quickly turned into ugly monsters if anything gay came up. While I didn't identify myself as gay during my trip, I did answer the question that was put to me about my marital status. I told them I wasn't married but lived with my "partner Bill" and that I no plans to marry and start a family. Almost immediately I saw an attitude change towards me. When I was in the hills of western North Carolina (beautiful country by the way) I dared not mention even that fact because I wanted to get out of there alive. A few years previously another genealogy researcher, who was gay, was found murdered and tossed in the stream that ran by one of those beautiful mountain "holler" roads. And to think at one time I was thinking of retiring to that beautiful country. My partner talked me out of that foolish notion. My discovery of that country, think of the movie "Deliverance." That movie wasn't too far off the mark.

I assumed with all the progress that has been made toward the "acceptance" (I had that word) of the GBLT community, that such hate would have dissipated. Obviously I was being naive again. The hate is still there.

Cubby said...

We need to resist all attempts to push us back into the closet, and that's what's going on here. They want us to hide our sexuality while all you have to do is look around to see loads of straight folks flaunting their heterosexuality all the time. It's a double standard.

BTW, did you see me standing there in your top picture? I'm in the black shirt with white writing, about 8 feet from you. LOL

Ron said...

Yes, I see you Cubby! How about that? Our planets intersected on that momentous day in Washington D.C.. You should have marched with me and Bob. We met Dan Choi. Plus, I'm always a riot. Maybe next time. :)

Did you know I also marched in the very first gay march in Washington in 1979? This was only my second march for gay rights. Once every thirty years I say. On that first march my knees were literally shaking. It was a different time back then. Our whole parade route was lined with D.C. cops on motorcycles to protect us from being attacked. How the times have changed. This last march was one of several that October 4th, 2009. We're becoming matter of fact Cubby. That's progress!

Ur-spo said...

yes, it is sad.
But being who you are is a small ripple that will slowly oh slowly make the splash to wash away hate. Or so I hope.

Ron said...

I may have overreacted that comment, or so several of my friends have told me. I tend to be very defensive about disparaging remarks about my sexuality. I've endured a lot of crap over the years since I came out in 1963. I refuse to be discounted, even from an offhand remark. I think the best way to combat homophobia is to constantly be who you are and not hide. I feel sorry for those who feel they can only show their backs on their blog profile picture. Of course there will always be those haters. I wish I was immune to the hate but it I'm one of those people who wants everyone to like me but that just isn't possible.

D. Dave said...

Sorry to be so late commenting here, but unless the 'rat's ass' author elaborated, the statement itself might be interpreted as 'your orientation is no big deal to me', which of course is positive. The 'preference' usage ALWAYS gets under MY skin, but some people cannot grasp the difference between 'preference' and 'orientation', or are too lazy to make the distinction.

Ron said...

D. Dave,
The general consensus seems to be that the "I don't give a rat's ass...." was a positive comment. I probably was a bit too defensive as I am wont to be after a lifetime of putdowns, discounting as a human being, verbal and physical threats, disgusted looks, et al ever since I came out of the closet in April of 1964. The past four years since I have lived in gay friendly southern Delaware, I got complacent about the homophobia attitude that still exists out there especially in the South. I had just worked my ass off half the day writing and posting that blog and apparently the only thing the reader say was my profile where I say "I am a gay 69 year old man...." My buttons were pushed.

Kyle Leach said...

They'd love for us to hide Ron. That makes their life and hate directive easy. They've become so openly hostile and confrontational because they are getting a taste of their own medicine. As more people accept us as part of the fabric of society and we begin to adopt more civility and acceptance universally across many current dividing boundaries, they get pushed farther and farther into figurative closets of their own making.