Saturday, May 23, 2009

You're So Gay. I Bet You Think This Post Is About You.

This pisses me off like crazy. Some former mayor of Raleigh, North Carolina, is vehemently defending himself against the *gasp* accusation that he is gay.

I agree with defending yourself against libel. But this is just ... well ... offensive. The tone of his message is that being gay could be the most horrific thing in the world. "I'm also going to FIGHT to defend my good name" - because, obviously, being gay means your name is shameful and dirty.

Now, I know there are one or two heterosexuals who read Matterdays. And some who stumble upon here from some Google search or other. I ask you, honestly - what would your reaction be if someone accused you of being gay? Even if it wasn't as public as the above story ... maybe in front of a group of friends, or co-workers? I'm looking for raw, honest answers - you won't hurt my feelings or say anything I haven't heard before. I just really am interested in what this would mean to you, since my frame of reference is obviously skewed.

Thanks, all.


LSL said...

Nice label. Well, this post must be a love letter to me because I'm all about the lesbiantastic suspicions. I've thought about this issue before, but haven't really come to any huge conclusions.

On one hand, it doesn't bug me at all, and I'll answer with a "straight but not narrow" thing and not think twice about it. On the other hand, it gets to my 38-and-still-single neurosis and bugs me a little, makes me feel like I must be really strange for being at this stage of life without a husband. Like, "She can't like men. She hasn't been able to nab one despite 38 years of trying" and I should be stuck in a test tube and studied. And then there's another element for me, which is that I was religious 20 years ago and it's usually my old friends/acquaintances who are still scary fundamental Christians who are asking, and that gets to me. I feel pretty confident they are asking so they can know what box or category to put me in (fast track to hell? Merely fallen away from god?) and that offends me. And then I feel guilty for being offended, because being gay is totally neutral for me (or maybe a little bit fabulous.)

I'm not sure that helped you with your survey, but I think we've established that I'm slightly crazy.

LSL said...

I hate it when someone says "One one hand . . ." and then has more than 2 opinions. We only have two hands. It's like saying, "Well, 50% of me thinks this, and 50% of me thinks this, but 30% of me thinks this."


Scott in Iowa said...

After reading the letter, I'm not sure he meant to claim that being gay would be a horrible thing. I guess it could seem that way and I'm not defending him in any way because I don't know him or of him at all. I can only try to put myself in his shoes if I were a public figure and my opponents published something controversial and untrue about me. I agree, his choice of wording in some of the letter is poor, but do we know his stance on homosexuals? I would be hesitant to accuse him of being homophobic or hateful before knowing the facts. Doing so would make us no better than the right-wing, hateful people who make assumptions about us as gays and lesbians.

I am interested also in hearing some thoughts from heterosexual people on this one.

jo said...

I can understand that he's upset about someone circulating an anonymous letter, but he's making a huge issue out of it and I'd just like to know how he is going to "prove" that he is straight.

I don't know, Matt. I'm not a public figure, so if someone accused me of being gay I think I'd just say No, and leave it at that. If they want to make it a bigger deal than it should be, they aren't really worth my time. I have a hard enough time dealing with friends who insist that homosexuality is a choice. I have a tendency to just leave the conversation.

Anonymous said...

LOVE your post title.

I'm trying to think honestly about how I would react to being called a lesbian...and really, I think I would just laugh and tell whoever-it-is that their gaydar must be off kilter.

On a seriously disturbing note, my 9-year-old son has been dealing with the gay "insults" in school for a couple of years. His favorite color is pink, and he's still quite attached to stuffed animals and other "babyish" things. Of course, this means that the other boys slap the gay label on him without knowing what it means or why it's insulting to a whole different degree than they're intending.

We've had a discussion with our son many times about why being gay isn't a bad thing, why these people use the word as an insult when it really isn't one, etc. It's so difficult for him to understand the nuances, having been raised with us telling him that some people love people of the same gender, and some love people of the opposite gender, and they're all perfectly normal and fine. Of course, it doesn't help when certain family members indicate to me that I should push him in a more "boyish" direction to make sure he "turns out right." GAH!!!!!!

I don't know if that helps you at all, but there's the POV of a 30-something, straight, ultra liberal, suburban mom living in the South (with a capital S).

Rik Saxon said...

A quote comes to mind, as Gertrude said in Shakespeare's Hamlet, "The lady doth protest too much, methinks." Due to his vehement protestations it occurs to me that he may indeed be gay, just not quite ready to come out. Something must have made Mr. Wright think so. In this litigious society we live in, it wouldn't be wise to make accusations without proof. I'm a hetero myself and if someone were to accuse me of being gay, I would probably throw on my best Liberace voice and ask them over for a dip in the hot tub, by way of making fun of THEM. I certainly wouldn't react the way Mr. Fetzer has unless I was very uncomfortable about anyone knowing that I really was gay. Just me......analyzing.


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