Dear High School Homophobes,

19 04 2008

I’m aware of the fact that you’re probably not reading this blog. And I’m aware that those who are reading are probably not homophobes. Still, maybe this open letter will catch up with you one day. Of course, if it does, you’ll probably be as dismissive and knee-jerk as you normally are, because you are the great warrior against “political correctness”. Or maybe, by some small chance, I’ll enlighten you. One can only hope.

You’re wondering why you’re, in fact, a homophobe? Or why I percieve you as one? Are you wondering how to not make people think you’re a homophobe? Or how to get rid of your homophobia (although that will probably never be an option for you)?

You can start here.

  • Quit using the word “gay” as an insult. Really. If you’re accustomed to using it, you might slip up once or twice. But if you continue to use it multiple times after someone (usually me) has corrected you, and especially if you proceed to taunt that person by saying the word “gay” in an insulting sense over and over again, they’ll probably think you’re homophobic. Because you probably are.
  • Similarly, quit accusing everyone who does something you don’t like of being a “faggot” or “homo”, or the perennial sixth-grade favourite, “gaylord”. This is for the boys, especially. It won’t make you less of a man to say “You know, I have some gay friends”, or “Cut it out, that’s offensive”. And contrary to popular belief, gay men were not put on this planet to threaten your masculinity. And you won’t catch The Gay from them, I promise.
  • Don’t drag out your token fake teenage bisexual friends as proof that you’re not homophobic. Because even if they are indeeed bisexual, and they are, in fact, your friends, you clearly haven’t learned anything from them,
  • Stop making fun of the trannies. In fact, I would very much appreciate it if you stopped using the word “tranny” altogether. Same goes for “he-she”, “she-male”, “chick with a dick”, and “man in a dress”. And, for the love of god, please learn the difference between sex and gender. And the difference between drag king/queen, cross-dresser, transgender, and transsexual.
  • Don’t think it’s acceptable to insult butch women or femme men in front of me, just because I’m femme. Yes, on the surface, I appear to fit in with society’s expectations of what someone of my biological sex should look and act like. If you actually got to know me, you’d realize that I don’t. Similarly, I have many gender-bending friends and a lot on the transgender spectrum, and I have a great deal of admiration and respect for their courage to live their lives in a world that doesn’t respect who they are. My gender expression is no better or worse than theirs – it’s just something that just is.
  • Similarly, please never praise me for being “straight-acting”, “gender-conforming”, “stereotype-defying”, or “not one of those mannish lesbians”. As per the last point, that’s not the type of “compliment” really want to hear. My gender expression is not an attempt to fit in, to break stereotypes, to “pass” as straight, or appeal to the straight majority. I’m just as queer wearing a dress and heels (although I actually can’t walk in heels) as a woman wearing baggy jeans and motorcycle boots. And if conforming to gendered expectations is what it takes for you to accept someone, I really don’t need your “acceptance”.
  • Quit telling us to shut up. If you believe that if we weren’t “rubbing our sexuality in everyone’s faces”, we’d have all our rights by now, you are sadly mistaken. And, as much as you might praise me for not being like “them”, (AKA the bad gays), I really won’t like you much if you say stuff like that.
  • Don’t snicker every time I do a project on a queer-related subject. Yeah, I get it. You probably think queer and trans people are really fucking funny. But mocking me for mentioning trans people in my essay for  my anthropology/psychology/sociology class, or doing a book report on Drag King Dreams by Leslie Feinberg for my English class just shows how immature you truly are.
  • Quit (barely) hiding behind the internet. As in, stop posting overly public facebook notes, viewable to most of the school and most of the city, about why you think homosexuality is a choice, and a bad one at that, or why you hate political correctness, so we should all go out and call people “dyke” and “faggot”. Quite frankly, I’ve come to a point in my life where I don’t give two shits about what bigots like you think of me or how I live my life. Many others have not. I know two grade nines who have just come out in the last few months. When I was running a safer sex/LGBT Youth Line booth for this year’s LGBTQ Health Matters Week, a girl came up to me, eager to know about the LGBT youth line. She clearly seemed to have some questions. I don’t know if she was a lesbian, bisexual, questioning, or just requesting information for a friend, but she needed that support in place. People like the ones I just described need support, not a gang of high schoolers publicly trashing people like them. I know caring about people (especially queer or trans people) usually doesn’t enter your mind, but your words can be really damaging.

You know, several times as I was writing this, I was thinking “Why bother? It’s not like any of the phobes are going to read this anyway.” But maybe some of them will. If you are one of the people that I’m referring to, and for some reason you’re reading this, please take it seriously. Who knows, maybe one day you’ll realize that you were wrong.

Yours truly,

Miss Nomered, proud purveyor of the homosexual agenda.

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8 responses

19 04 2008
Tirade

Yeah, that whole ‘gay’ and ‘fag’ as a derogative term… it’s ALL OVER the place, even in college now. I’ve had to greatly resist the urge to smack the hell out of the two guys who sit behind me in one of my classes because it seems like every other word out of their mouths is one of those two.

20 04 2008
Norm Rickaby

Hey Lindsay:
I am really impressed with your writing lately.

I saw your Facebook note (The Master’s Tools) a while back and noted the really nasty kind of homophobic responses that it attracted. So, I know what you’re talking about here.

Keep up the good work – and have a great Day of Silence!

20 04 2008
Sinead

Lindsay,

All I have to say is…….you are totally ninja, totally brilliant, and you always hit the nail on the head with your writing.

Bravo!

20 04 2008
Katie

Thanks for posting this! Very awesome. Now I’m all excited for Day of Silence!

21 04 2008
Brenna

i think i love you. i’m in high school, and i know very very many people like this. i’m tempted to print this page out, carry it to school with me, and give it to any homophobe i encounter.

21 04 2008
cripchick

YES. YES. YES.
is it cool if i make some kind of graphic to link to this on my sidebar?

21 04 2008
missnomered

Oh my god, YES! Thank you. 🙂

24 04 2008
little light

You’re bolder than I was, when I was in high school. It’s really heartening to see people like you starting the kicking-of-ass so early, and to have the reminder that the cavalry’s coming–a world you’re in charge of when I get old, I could feel pretty good about.
Keep your head high.

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