Category Archives: Musing

Not just “those people”

When people speak negatively of gay couples, they almost exclusively paint a picture of nameless, faceless people who have nothing to describe them except their genitals. Sorry to be crude, but there it is. They don’t see a person, they see a set of genitals. They don’t realise that these are real people with real lives who have something to offer. They just see “male genitals + male genitals” or “female genitals + female genitals”. Therein lies the root of much of the bias and prejudice.

A couple of weeks ago, I met up with Mum in a shop. I’d just seen that Julia Gillard had been outed and Rudd was back in, and I was excited, and expressed my excitement. The shopkeeper saw fit to comment, and a discussion about politics ensued. That was all fine and well until I mentioned that I don’t like Rowan Ramsey (local politician) because he has ignored the wishes of the people he is supposed to represent, and stated that he will vote no on marriage equality, regardless of what the voters want.

The shopkeeper (who doesn’t know I’m gay; I don’t advertise the fact) saw fit to announce that he has no problem with “those people” as long as they didn’t hit on him (I hate the assumption that gay = predator!), and that they shouldn’t be allowed to have or raise children.

I asked why. He said,
“Because it’s wrong, that’s why.”

I asked how he felt about single mothers, and he said he has no problem with that, because they’re straight. I asked how he knew that they’d be a better mother than a gay woman, and he said ‘they just are’.

I can usually respect other people’s views, but this kind of view is the reason people like me can’t marry, and the reason there’s so much stigma about us raising children. I was raised by a straight couple; my biological father raped me multiple times when I was a child. But hey, he’s straight, so he’s a better parent than a gay guy *rolls eyes*

I ended up walking out of his shop.

See, the thing is that I am not “those people”; most gay people aren’t. I am a woman who is attracted to other women, but I have a name and a face and hopes and dreams and a past and a future. I am somebody’s daughter, somebody’s sister. I have been a mentor to several young folk who refer to me as “Aunty” or “Mum”, folk whose own parents (oddly enough, they were straight) let them down in varying degrees. I am not just a set of genitals.

Gay people are people, just like you. Who we are attracted to does not define who we are.

Rant over.

It made my day!

Things that made my day:

  1. The nice woman who thanked me for stopping the car to let her walk in front… on a pedestrian crossing! 🙂
  2. Thinking I had three one-dollar coins, and finding that all three were actually two-dollar coins 😀
  3. Finding the chocolate topping in the health-food aisle at Coles; I feel so vindicated!!! \o/

Note: For those who are wondering what \o/ means, I thought I’d better explain; it’s a little guy raising his arms in a cheer 🙂

 

I’m on the bus!

I boarded the bus at 20:08 tonight. And that’s where the fun begins…

When I booked my ticket, I requested the very last seat at the back of the bus. This is my usual procedure, since I have anxiety issues related to having people behind me. No worries, the driver wrote “13A” on my ticket, and I boarded.

The bus was occupied by about a hundred wide-eyed feral tweens. Fighting the immediate panic I felt at the sight of such a full bus, I made my way to the back. My panic increased when I saw that all three rows at the back were full.

A helpful onlooker, and possible RAICOF (Responsible Adult In Charge Of these Ferals) helpfully suggested that some seats near the front were vacant. I squeaked “13A!” and she shrugged. Another possible RAICOF to my right said,

“It’s okay. Those two at the back are meant to be in front of me. I’ll make them move.” And she did. The tweens glared at me as they were displaced, but it was MY seat!

So I settled in to my seat, pulled out the computer, and logged on to the interwebs. All good, I relaxed, I was in my spot and I was safe.

And then the singing began. It started as one off-key wannabe popstar who mistook us for a dedicated audience, and she was determine to give us our money’s worth. So I took out my headphones and tuned her out with my own music.

Ah, bliss!

Then three other wannabe popstars joined in, and even the headphones were insufficient to muffle their screeches. To make matters worse, about a million of the ferals decided to enhance the concert atmosphere by turning their overhead lights on and off rapidly in quick succession. Ugh!!!

Then another of the RAICOFs piped in with,

“You lot, leave those lights alone!!!” The ferals complied. And the voices went down. Peace resumed, and I decided to do some study. I put the headphones back on, resumed moodle, and lost myself in the cheerful world of elderly incontinence and sputum.

And gradually became aware of a rising chorus. That’s right, the popstars were back. Only this time, all billion of the ferals had chimed in.

On the verge of calling animal control, I was relieved when a RAICOF near the back of the bus suddenly shouted, in a deep growly bass,

“YOU LOT SHUT UP! THERE ARE OTHER PEOPLE ON THE BUS!!!”

That was 15 minutes ago. Peace has prevailed, and the dozen ferals have been subdued.

For now.

To be continued…

Love letters

Every so often, God sends us a “love letter”; a “coincidental” piece of encouragement that lifts us up when we’re feeling discouraged. I received one tonight.

I was just out in the shed, cleaning (again; I had to put the new welder somewhere, and that meant rearranging things again), and was moving a pile of old newspapers (which I use for damage control when re-potting plants) when an article leaped out at me:

REJECTION: A BADGE OF HONOUR

The article was about people who had tried … and failed. Like Stephen King, whose novel “Carrie” was rejected by 30 different publishers (the article speaks of how he had given up and thrown it in the bin, but his wife encouraged him to try just one more time …), or Walt Disney, who was sacked as a journalist because he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas”. It speaks of Oprah, who was sacked as a reporter because she was “unfit for TV”.

These people tried, and failed, time and again. Just like I’ve tried, and failed, time and again. Of all the articles in all the newspapers in that pile that could have leaped out at me, that was the one I needed to read the most, right now. So yes, I take this as a “love letter” from God, saying “don’t give up”.

Gay Pride?

All of what I’m about to write is purely from my own perspective; I can’t speak on anyone else’s behalf, and I wouldn’t try to. No matter what ‘group’ we’re in (and we’re all part of any number of groups, there is no one group that completely defines up), we’re all individuals within that group. The group in question for this entry is the ‘gay’ group, but that is by no means an exhaustive description.

There’s this belief in the existence of ‘gay pride’. Parades are held in the name of gay pride. People wave rainbow-coloured flags to show their pride. I always just accepted that that meant “proud to be gay”.

In light of recent events, though, I have to wonder about that. I was sitting here tonight, beading a dongle for my bag, and I picked up a rainbow-coloured bead to head the row of beads and show my ‘gay pride’. That got me to wondering … what exactly am I proud of?

Am I proud of the fact that I’m attracted to women? No, I really don’t think so. I really don’t see a need to advertise my same-gender attraction, and attraction to a particular gender is not brag-worthy, it just is. Some people are attracted to the same sex, some to the opposite sex, and some to neither sex (it’s true; there are some people that are just not interested in pursuing a relationship of any kind, they’re happy to be single and they have no sex drive to speak of. And that is fine, that’s who they are).

So what am I proud of?

Well, my ‘gay pride’ lies in the courage it took to stand up and be myself in the face of much opposition. Being gay is not a popular thing, there is a whole world full of people who will pursue, condemn, hurt, and even kill people just for being gay. It takes guts to be yourself in the face of that. I take pride in the fact that I was able to come out to my parents in the end. I take pride in the fact that they have accepted me as I am, and have placed no conditions on that acceptance.

For me, at least, gay pride means being proud of the courage to stand up and stop living a lie. Gay pride is about being honest with yourself, and honest with others. And demonstrations of gay pride, even a simple bead dongle, show other people that they can be true to themselves as well. It extends beyond being gay; showing pride for the courage to be openly gay means that others can find courage to come out about the secrets they’ve been hiding. Maybe it gives them courage to stand up to their peers who pressure them to take drugs they don’t want. Maybe it gives them courage to say no, I won’t drive like an idiot, I want to be safe. Maybe it gives them courage to say yes, I will wait until I’m married before I have sex.

Gay pride is about so much more than who we’re attracted to. Gay pride is about personal integrity. At least, that’s what it means to me.

So I’ll go back to making that dongle now, and I shall wear it with pride!

Sunset

She sat with one leg either side of the pipe, the pup curled between her knees, and it suddenly occurred to her that this was the best part of the day.  This was the time, she mused as she reached down to scratch his ears, that the world disappeared and it was just her, the pup, and the sunset.

She calmly thought of the past week, with all it’s trouble and stress, and all of that seemed a world away.  How could anyone be upset, sitting on this pipe with their dog at sunset.  She admired him as she absently picked prickles out of his fur, and he looked up at her with a mixture of love and admiration.  The love of a dog is a wonderful thing, she thought to herself.  Dogs don’t care if you’re irrational, and they certainly don’t care if the world hates you.

She raised her sunglasses; they weren’t needed now.  The sun wasn’t bright enough to hurt her delicate eyes any more today, and she could view the naked world without worrying about a headache.  Even that seemed far away, the small flaws that placed rules on her life.  When she was sitting here with the pup, she could do anything, be anything.  She picked up his paws one by one, and noted with detached amusement that he didn’t fear her at all.  She could do anything to him, and he would just watch curiously and admiringly.  Even if the whole world hated her, he loved her.

She found no prickles to irritate the young pads, and her gaze again wandered to the sunset.  The pup, bored, rested his head on her knee and closed his eyes lazily.  She pondered that sunset, so like the others, and yet so very different.  Sunsets are very profound things, she mused to herself.  You can learn a lot from a sunset.

She started as the pup barked a greeting to some passers-by, who cooed and commented about the pretty puppy.  She found that amusing; everyone saw his beauty, yet how many of those same people would cluck over the “pity” of his imperfection if they knew it?  People were like that, quick to admire beauty, and quick to judge perceived faults.  It was the very fault that made him unacceptable that endeared him to her though.  He had first appealed to her mostly because he was rejected as “faulty”.  It hadn’t taken long for endearment to turn to love.  She noted that it was mutual.

The sun was behind the clouds now, and she gathered her things.  With a gentle word, she got the puppy down, and dropped down after him.  Together they walked across the yard, toward home, two halves of a whole.

© 2012 Caghs

%d bloggers like this: