I'm walking up SW Montgomery Avenue into the hills that surround downtown, a habit of mine most nights as I begin the drawn-out ritual of relaxation that follows dinner.
"FAGGOT!" fills the air as the SUV drives past.
(God help the little people.)
Normally, I greet the drive-by "Faggot!" with a shout of "Fuck you!" or, in a lame attempt to fight fire with fire, "Breeder!" If the "Faggot!" is extended by a passerby on foot I may even get playful and offer an attitudinal "Your point?" or "You better believe it!"
Other times--especially, like tonight, when i haven't been confronted with that situation in a while--I sink a little... get frustrated a bit.
When a gay man is gay-bashed (calling someone a faggot may seem like gay-bashing lite but it is gay-bashing all the same) it puts him in a situation similar to a rape victim: there are those who will say he brought it upon himself by flaunting his [immoral] sexuality and, should he complain more than is deemed comfortable, he will be accused of holding an unhealthy grudge against [normal] straight people.
If I was an African American in the same place and time that SUV would not have shouted "Nigger!" Nor would they have shouted "Trash!" if I looked poor or "Kike!" if I wore a kepah. "Dothead!", "Chink!", and "Spic!" would have likely been left alone as well. If my perceived Irishness had trumped my apparent homosexuality do you think they would have spouted "Mick!"? Most certainly not.
But even in Portland fucking Oregon, this bastion of liberalism... in the Southwest Hills, where education and fiscal comfort are presumed to equal open-mindedness, it is in no way shocking or surprising that someone should call me a faggot.
When MP and I were in Chicago this past May we were enjoying a lovely stroll in the Lincoln Park neighborhood when a darling little car of twentysomethings hurled a "FAGGOT!" our way. There was a thirtyish-fortyish, white yuppie--typical of the residents in this area--behind us when this happened and he asked, with a puzzled look on his face, "That really happens?" "Yes," we replied. "All the time."
I bet he told his wife of that encounter when he got home. I hope he told people at the office the next day. Whatever the case may be, he now knows first-hand that this really does happen... all the time. And now you do, too.
To all the allies out there:
THANK YOU FOR HELPING TO CURB THE HATE!
To all who have ever casually drop-kicked an insult to the sissyboy with the great fashion sense:
FUCK YOU, YOU INBRED PIECES OF SHIT!