Maine on the Brain

I have come to the conclusion that despite how far we think we’ve come, the majority of this country still hates us.

I had wanted to believe that we as a country had progressed. I wasn’t about to bite into that post-racism pie, but I thought we were at a watershed moment where people would finally set aside their old-time religions and quaint prejudices.

When DOMA and then the redundant anti-gay amendments swept this country, I thought these would be fads, like mall concerts or leggings. When Iowa’s high court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage, I thought we would witness a sea change. And when my hopes were dashed in California, I thought that America wouldn’t be able to sleep at night, ashamed at the giant blemish of hatred it had left on the West Coast, the mess it had made in the voting booth.

But no. I was wrong. There is no stopping the hate machine. No amount of marching or protesting or money funneling. This is most likely going to be a waiting game. A staring contest. Where we fixate eyes on those who don’t have the nerve, the guts, to look at us in the face, despite the fact that we are their neighbors, their co-workers, their sons and daughters. We are the dirt under their rug, the bathroom in the Brady Bunch household. In their minds, to acknowledge us is to acknowledge that there is something impure, something that will break that fragile vision of the Mayberry world they exist in. It will color their view of a white, straight America, transforming it into the calico collage that is reality.

I have straight friends that are naive enough to think that there is a place in this country where I can hold hands with my boyfriend in public without fear of harassment. These friends still believe the myth that urban oases such as San Francisco, Chicago and New York provide some shelter from the bigot storm. I will tell you this is false. I have been to all three cities in the past six months with my boyfriend. In each city, I have been harassed, stared down and made to feel uncomfortable for being who I am. It has been so bad in Chicago that my boyfriend and I have created a game where we guess how many blocks we can walk holding hands without being called faggot. We rarely guess low enough.

But oh yes! I forgot about Boystown. With all the chintzy plastic of Disneyland but void of the charm, Boystown is nothing but a symbol of our oppression, a reminder that the only safe place for us to live and love is a ghetto lined with rainbow columns, which dam us up so we won’t spill over into “their” territory.

So how will us gays win our equality? Are we going to keep fighting, trying in vain to convince people who are obviously unwavering in their narrow-minded beliefs that their religious leaders, their parents, their politicians and their community is wrong in denouncing a sexual orientation that is just as unwavering? Because how do you create that shift when every single institution that touches that person’s life is sending the same message, “Gays are evil, and to support them is evil by proxy.” No amount of megaphone chanting, political funding or hell raising is going to change that. Even when the laws one day tilt the scales back to a position of equality, this hatred and need to feel superior over a subset of people will persist.

Life is hard enough. Can you just let us live it?

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9 responses to “Maine on the Brain

  1. Listen, this is our “suffrage”. It has only been 30 some years since the start gay civil rights. It took women almost 100 to get the vote!

  2. Miss Oginistic

    1.) Agree with Torin
    2.) Find this post truly hypocritical given the “Dear Tattooed Moms” post below. You can’t ask people to take your call for civil rights seriously if you’re being misogynistic on the same page. You absolutely should have equal rights but then don’t bitch about homophobia as if it’s the last relic of bigotry. Clearly, bigotry against women is still alive and well. In other words, we all suffer in some capacity at the hands of the ignorant. Grow a pair and do something about it instead of whining. Here’s your first step: lead by example.

  3. Miss Oginistic,

    If you can’t tell the difference between a highly embellished, hyperbolized comedic essay and a genuine expression of opinion then you probably need to brush up on your reading comprehension.

    Also, you’re stupid if you think that I think homophobia is the last relic of bigotry. Read other posts where I discuss racism in the context of my black boyfriend.

    And you want to know what doing something is? First, it’s expressing my thoughts and opinions, getting people talking and influencing thought. Second, it’s taking months to produce an ongoing, charitable reading series to raise money for Howard Brown Health Center, a non-profit that provides reasonably priced health services to the GLBT and HIV/AIDS communities (note: The event is not sponsored by Howard Brown). So yes, I’m raising money to promote women’s health since many women use Howard Brown’s services.

    And what is it that you’re doing? Oh yeah, pointing fingers and whining. Thanks. The world appreciates it. (That’s sarcasm, but you probably didn’t get that.)

  4. Miss Oginistic

    I find it interesting that I “need to brush up on [my] reading comprehension” and must be “stupid” simply because I take offense with your post on Tattooed mothers. It’s further amazing It is not the “highly embellished, hyperbolized [sic] comedic essay” with which I take issue; it’s the underlying, incredibly cliché and sophomoric premise with which I took issue.

    And I never said homophobia was the last relic. I’m saying the way you wrote your post, *you* made it sound like the last relic. I’m very aware of other types of bigotry which is why I choose not to cry about the fact that I make, on average 25% less than a man for the same work or that a male member of congress chooses throw an amendment into the Health Care bill which seeks to tell me that I’m only eligible for the same health care you would be so long as I don’t exercise my 6th Amendment rights. I don’t whine about it because I realize that all of this is part of the process.

    Moreover, I wouldn’t choose to start calling someone dumb just because she chooses to express her “thoughts and opinions, getting people talking and influencing thought.” Sorry if that’s “hurtful” to you.

  5. You use a lot of “quotations” in your writing. Just saying. And for someone who doesn’t whine, you sure do whine a lot.

    Let me highlight the behavior you display that I call stupid: You equate criticizing me with “expressing [your] thoughts and opinions, getting people talking and influencing thought.” But unless I’m really a topic of any importance (which I’ll argue I’m not), this is just you acting out.

    You say it’s not the comedic essay you take issue with. You say it’s the underlying points. What points are those? You seem to be reading too much into something that is pure satire. Therefore it is something within you that you have a problem with, not me. You should take some time to meditate and be honest with yourself. I’m sure you’ll make some interesting discoveries.

    Also, you should do something to help people, like coming to Essay Fiesta and donating money to Howard Brown. You can even win gift certificates to a local restaurant.

  6. Miss Oginistic

    For someone who stressed reading comprehension, you have an unbelievable way of not comprehending what you read. I never said “points” (ah, those damn quotations), I said “premise.” The premise being that women who give birth are no longer attractive. You’ll no doubt argue that this wasn’t your premise but I think the content (i.e. “back fat whore”) speaks for itself.

    And if I should not read into your post, then what is the point of making it public. If you are a Comedian then undoubtedly you consider your writings here a form of art. Herein lies the rub: art is subjective and it is interpreted by / filter through the viewer. If you’re saying I shouldn’t read into your art, then you are essentially saying your art is shallow and that it is not something from which one can glean anything. Which begs the question then: why post at all?

    So either your posts worthwhile enough to contribute something to society, thus are public, thus subjecting them to scrutiny. Or your posts are shallow and all of us “stupid” people who act out should not be allowed to contribute to that dialogue in any meaningful way and thus you should really just stop blogging altogether.

    Though I do appreciate your invitation to Essay Fiesta.

  7. You’re right. You are entitled to your opinion. And you won’t find funny what I find funny. And you will take offense to things I won’t take offense to.

    So it goes. And thus is art. We’ve had a nice little dialogue about it and killed some time. Now it’s back to the grind.

    And I’m serious about Essay Fiesta. If you live here, come on out. It’ll be fun (totally subjective).

  8. I think Miss Oginistic is not a real person but a way for you to promote Essay Fiesta in your comments.

  9. Try New Orleans. We’re too indifferent to care. Or too drunk.

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