To paraphrase the incomparable Ms. Capere, I wish we didn’t keep having to have this conversation, Gentle Reader.
Not her and I, no. Not you and I, either – doubtless, if you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’re probably pretty okay with the QUILTBAG community*. And yet –
As you may remember, I recently asked a stranger on a date and things went pretty well, and things kept going well. As of yesterday, we decided to be exclusive! I was thrilled. I really like Dr. Boyfriend. He’s swell! After yet another excellent date, he dropped me at home, and – as he’d graciously given me first crack at making things Facebook Official – I announced it to the Social Media World. As one does.
I sat back, and watched the congratulations rolled in. And then some homophobia happened.
I’ll just let that sink in, for a minute. Two openly gay gents announce, on Facebook, to their friends, family, and acquaintances, that they’re dating, and someone – someone who’s known to one or the other of them – has issues with gay people†.
Now, granted, I barely know the guy who started spewing shit – and, granted, this is certainly a first world problem. For example, there’s a Nigerian lesbian who was condemned to execution for, in fact, being a lesbian; she fled to the UK for asylum, and she is up for deportation to her native country. Still.
All the guy actually said – and I’m paraphrasing, because of course I removed his comments – was that he’s not a fan of the gays, but if you can’t find love anywhere else, good enough. So what he said, in the great hierarchy of hatred, barely ranks. Still.
His niece, my actual friend, was livid. She asked permission to call him out, because she didn’t want to turn our happy announcement into a flamewar – and went and had a quiet word with him, because I didn’t want things to overwhelm the happiness of the post. A few minutes later, I got a quiet apology. Still.
If he was bothered by it, why bother saying anything at all? Not Commenting is an option. Or, if the idea of two queers having meals together, watching movies together, going to parties and bars and spending quiet nights in together really fucking bothers him, why not unfriend said queer or queers – especially one as angry and vocal as I am? Failing that, there’s the option to hide people from your newsfeed. Denigrating people who are in that marvelous giggling rush of first infatuation? Classy, dude.
I try to react to things like this graciously, to take the opportunity to educate an ignorant buffoon, or to let someone who’s supportive know that perhaps their language isn’t quite appropriate.
I try. Oh my God, do I try. I try all the time‡.
Being queer does not give me the magical power to turn into an information booth. It doesn’t turn me into an educational center, or my (our) happy little announcement into a public forum for debate. I am not a saint, and these daily grains of sand grate and grate and grate until I explode into anger.
And that, Gentle Reader, is what is meant by the term “microagression”.
*Or else you’re lurking for passive-aggressive stalking reasons (Hi, Sally Mae!) or similar claptrap.
†I may need to overhaul my Social Media Strategy. What? You don’t have one?
‡In this Inst-i-tu-tiooooooon!