How Beautiful the Ordinary


Today, as it’s the 11th November, I was going to do a ‘Thankful Thursday’ post about Armistice Day/Veterans Day/Remembrance Day (depending on where in the world you are). But… honestly? Today, I’m not feeling so thankful. I am feeling pretty depressed and disheartened about something that happened on my train ride into London, and I couldn’t not talk about it.

I don’t normally blog about things that affect me quite so deeply – and I rarely delve into really personal stuff, simply because I’m a generally upbeat and hopeful person, and I try to talk more about books and writing here. Don’t get me wrong: what you see online is very definitely me, but it’s just one aspect of ‘Kaz’ and if you met me in person you’d see a completely different side to me. (Which I think is as it should be: who wants to be subjected to every emo rant I come up with? *g*) Seriously though, today I can’t hold back that part – if I offend anyone or get something wrong here… let me know and I promise to listen. Also, feel free to just skip this post if it’s not something you can relate to or makes you feel uncomfortable.

We each choose the battles that we are willing or able to fight, but today made me more certain than ever that this is one I must help fight – even in my own tiny way.

So. The train ride. Two guys walk into the train carriage* and sit across the aisle from me. There is no way I won’t be able to hear every single bit of their conversation, and I’m torn between feeling a bit irritated that they chose right there to sit – when the carriage is mostly empty and I want to write (I have my trusty notebook and pen with me) – but also kind of amused because they remind me of Jay and Silent Bob. These young guys are maybe 18, possibly a bit younger – maybe a little older – but let’s say they are around that age. They are Young Adults of Today. They are dressed in emo/grungy clothes and are discussing a gig they are going to in London. Or an event. Whatever, I was still trying to tune them out at this stage. Honestly? At this point, I was thinking: these kids are just like me when I was in my mid- to late teens. They would’ve been my tribe.

It didn’t take me long to realise how very far from the truth this was, and I’ve been battling a really weird combination of despondency and anger ever since. I’m not even sure quite why I feel as strongly as I do, but the urge to move across the aisle and sit down with them and ask them: WTF is wrong with you? was so crazily visceral. Seriousy, my body went into fight/flight mode or something…

Okay, enough with the drama. Here are some snippets of the conversation which, yes, I admit, I wrote down in my notebook. Don’t look at me like that – I’m a writer, aren’t I? πŸ˜‰

Jay & Silent Bob: way cooler than those guys on the train will EVER be

Jay**: Dude, forget that. Let me tell you about last night.
Silent Bob***: Okay!
Jay: Did you know that Todd**** is gay?
Silent Bob: No!! Really?
Jay: Well, at least I wasn’t the only one. Everyone else knew.
Silent Bob: Huh?
Jay: Apparently, Todd came out to a whole load of other people a year ago. A year ago!

And here are the highlights of Jay’s rant about his so-called “best friend,” Todd:

I know it sounds harsh, but…

Well, if he WANTS to be gay that’s up to him – but don’t shove it down my throat, you know what I mean? Ugh. I just realised what I said.

I feel betrayed.

I’ve shared a bed with mates before… just crashing and shit like that. What if I’d been in a situation like that with HIM? I might’ve ended up having to smack him!

He didn’t tell me because he knew I’d hate it.

I’ve known him for 10 years, and he’s been lying to me all this time.

If he wants me to respect his opinion about being gay, he should respect mine about it being wrong.

All I can think about is: how many times has he been to my house? What about if he put his arm around me or TOUCHED me?

We were going to get a place together next year – we were already talking about it, that’s why he finally felt he should tell me. There’s no way I can do that now, is there? I can’t live with… that.

Todd said to me: “I’m still the same person, man.”
And I was like: You’re not the same person, you’re a gay person.

After listening to this for the best part of an hour, I felt exhausted, angry, confused… I really and truly thought that young guys like that in the UK – especially in London – were cooler than that, and way more tolerant. Less ignorant. And don’t get me wrong, I’m not a completely insensitive person. I actually did try to put myself in Jay’s shoes and can even understand how he might feel let down because he was “the last to know”. But, as his friend Todd said to him: I didn’t tell you because I knew you’d hate it. (Which actually makes me wonder about their friendship in the first place: if Jay was so intolerant, why was Todd still his friend? Maybe he hoped that their friendship would help to open his best friend’s eyes and heart… I just don’t know.)

But, really… there’s not much I can say in Jay’s defence. I feel so upset that young people like this are still spouting nonsense about how their friends are choosing to be gay. Really? It’s almost 2011!! WAKE UP! And for some naive reason, I thought it was ‘better’ in London. I’ve heard all kinds of homophobic crap over the years – don’t think I haven’t, that’s not why I’m so surprised – but I’ve mostly heard it from older people. Not that it makes the terrible things they say any less terrible… I just feel more tolerant towards them, I think, because they come from ‘a different time’ and maybe just can’t get their heads around how things have changed in society. But seeing and hearing those young adults today… kids I would’ve hung out with, back when I was their age, shocked me out of my apathy.

I’ve talked the talk – mostly in private – but rarely in such a public way as this. Lately, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about the recent spate of teen suicides in the US, and I wonder if that’s why today hit me so hard. I sort of imagined ‘Todd’ as one of those kids who ended their own lives because of bullying. I just feel SO passionately that young people today should be able to be who they are, without fear of retribution or violence of any kind. It breaks my heart.

I’m not gay, but I have gay friends and just in case there is any doubt: Being LGBTQ isn’t a choice. It isn’t wrong or evil. And gay is certainly not an insult.

Anyway. I’ve gone on for long enough, and if you’ve stuck with me this far: THANK YOU! πŸ™‚ I’d like to recommend an excellent book – it’s one I feel like buying multiple copies of and giving away as often as possible. It’s called HOW BEAUTIFUL THE ORDINARY, and is a YA collection of, “12 stories of identity” edited by Michael Cart:

Look at the amazing authors!

Each of the stories in this anthology talks about: “what it might mean to be gay, lesbian, or transgender … twelve stories–alike only in the wonderful variety of their subjects, styles, and structures–that dramatically demonstrate that lesbian, gay, and transgender lives are extraordinary, yes, but also ordinary. How beautiful!” And also from Michael Cart’s introduction:

Which suggests another compelling reason for reading: It’s a wonderful opportunity to meet those who may–in whatever way–be different from us. By taking us into characters’ minds, hearts, and lives, literature has an uncanny ability to help us understand that those we previously regarded as “the other” are–in terms of out common humanity–actually “us.”

GIVEAWAY:

If you leave me a comment, I’ll start now by giving away a copy of How Beautiful the Ordinary to ONE PERSON picked at random next week. The giveaway will end on Wednesday, 17th November, and I’ll mail the book anywhere in the world.

In the meantime, check out the awesome website for The Trevor Project and watch some of the videos on YouTube.




*This sounds like the beginning of a joke, but if it is… believe me, it’s a really bad one.

**Just to make things entirely clear: I am not passing any homophobic judgement on the characters Jay and Silent Bob, nor their actors or creators. I just need names other than Dude #1 and Dude #2, and they really did look a bit like Jay and Silent Bob. (Apologies to Kevin Smith!)

***Silent Bob, in this scenario, was neither completely silent nor did he suddenly spout forth some Profound Wisdom. But he didn’t say much. He mostly just nodded and agreed and made appropriately ‘sympathetic’ noises.

****Pseudonym

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61 Responses to How Beautiful the Ordinary

  1. Naomi says:

    Ugh, ugh, ugh. I really cannot express how upsetting this is. I’m right there with you on this one, and it’s one of the reasons I’m so proud of how well Silver Kiss was received. Sexuality is not a choice, not is it a crime or a reason to belittle or hurt someone else. It sickens me that in this day and age, someone’s sexuality can still be a reason to judge them.

  2. Firewolf says:

    Super doom πŸ™ I don’t know how you managed to listen to that for an hour. I think I would have had to get up and leave or risk jail time. That kind of intolerance is just so useless. Grrr…. anger and not having coherent words to express it.

    Thanks for sharing Kaz.

    • Kaz says:

      Well, it was more like 40 minutes. πŸ˜‰ But honestly, I couldn’t get up – it was like I was frozen. So weird. And I really, truly NEARLY went over there. But there weren’t many people in the carriage and I was a bit nervous.

  3. Cicely says:

    Amazing post. You would’ve thought that people would’ve realised that just because a person is gay, it doesn’t detract from their being a person, but people in my school still make comments like this, and it gets on my nerves so much!

    • Kaz says:

      Exactly! I couldn’t believe that he actually made a distinction between being “a person” and being “a gay person”. So sad. πŸ™

  4. Yolanda says:

    I can understand why you got so upset, Karen. I really thought young people were more accepting about things nowadays. I guess I was wrong. πŸ™ This kind of situation makes me angry too, it’s just wrong. People shouldn’t be judged on their sexuality, and how dare he say that he’s now a different guy. Just because he’s gay, it doesn’t mean he’s less of a person or even a different person. What he should’ve been was more understanding and sympathetic, realising how much courage it took for Todd to tell him, when he probably already knew he’d be judged by this loser. (Sorry, that’s what that fool is.)

    Anyway. I just wish people would stop being this way.

    Some people will always be idiots. :/

    • Kaz says:

      I thought so too, re. younger people. Especially in certain areas. London has a large gay population, and we were one of the first places to allow gay marraige (or “civil partnerships” as they’re called).

      Yeah, Jay was a total loser – I really hope Todd has some good support OTHER than him. It sounded like he did, I think.

  5. Iffath says:

    Kaz, just the fact that you wrote this post is fantastic.

    Today at school, I did a two-hour work-shop thingy with some awesome people about Homophobia. I learnt so many new things and was fascinated at everything that they told us about. We were having a discussion about people using offensive homophobic words without thinking because they use it so often it’s become part of their vocab and I’ve decided to have zero tolerance for people who use homophobic language and talk about people like that!

    Everyday at school I hear things like the conversation you heard and I just think it’s not right, especially when people who are actualy gay overhear it.

    I agree with you totally about when Jay said the thing about how Todd didn’t tell him because he wouldn’t like it, what is up with their friendship?!

    Sorry for the rant :/ We also saw lots of case studies and videos about teens who have been killed/committed suicide because of homophobic bullying and it’s really getting to me :*(

    • Kaz says:

      Thanks so much for sharing this. It’s good to talk about this, and maybe every time we do it will help in a tiny way. I don’t know, but we have to try – and if we don’t talk about it then how can anything change. Ugh.

      It’s been getting to me daily, and that incident on the train sort of made me break out of the feeling-it-but-not-doing-anything cycle.

  6. Amanda says:

    Listening to that for an hour would have upset and angered me greatly too, and I’m not sure I could’ve just sat there. I admire your restraint. It’s disheartening that in today’s world there are still so many people who think it’s any of their business what their friend’s sexual orientation is (or even worse – a total stranger’s). Hopefully some day we won’t have to live in a world with so much unnecessary hatred. Thanks for putting this out there – the more people talk about it the better it gets.

    • Kaz says:

      Partly I think I was frozen. It was so weird… I COULDN’T move. It was like, I had to sort of witness it. (That sounds strange, but it’s the best way I can describe it.) Also, I was being stubborn because I was there first, dammit, and there’s no way those two homphobes were going to drive me out of my seat. πŸ˜‰

      Yes, we have to talk about it. I know it makes some people (a lot of people?) uncomfortable, but so far I this post has been read by 300 individuals even if they’re not commenting. I’m really glad about that.

  7. JM Kelley says:

    The thing that always fascinates me most about homophobes is that they automatically assume they are the object of sexual fantasy/desire of gay men. Seriously, ‘phobes. Get a clue. You’re not all that, especially with the bigoted garbage that comes out of your mouths.

    • Kaz says:

      I know! That’s what I was thinking: Dude, why is this all about you? And why do you assume that just because your friend is gay, he AUTOMATICALLY finds EVERY male attractive?

      *rolls eyes* Get over yourself!! πŸ™‚

  8. Thank you for this post Karen! As a parent, I’ve tried to teach my children that no matter who they love, it’s OK. It is extremely sad that in this day and age, I still have to fight not only the “shallow” minds of today’s kids but also the sometimes disgustingly prejudiced teachings of the Canadian Catholic school system.

    Thanks!

    • Kaz says:

      Thanks for commenting. I’m sorry you have a regular fight on your hands with the attitudes within the church/school, but I’m really glad you work hard to teach your kids differently. πŸ™‚

  9. Nymeth says:

    Ugh :\ As much as things like that shouldn’t surprise me, somehow they always do. I guess that on the bright side, it’s not a bad thing that we feel that we have the right to expect more of people. Even if sometimes it means getting hurt.

    • Kaz says:

      I felt the same: WHY am I so surprised/shocked/upset/disappointed? And then I was annoyed with myself.

      But you’re right – we have to try seeing the best in people, otherwise we just become as bad as the haters. Thanks for this.

  10. robin says:

    It’s very frustrating to see (or hear) this kind of blatant (and ignorant) bias! I hope Todd has other friends who are not only supportive but accepting — and who haven’t changed their behavior toward/with him at all!!

    • Kaz says:

      Thank you SO much for coming over and commenting. It sounded like T *did* have more support around him – I hope he did, anyway.

  11. I’d like to say I’m surprised but unfortunately I’m not. Younger people, especially males, still have such ridiculous narrow minded opinions on sexuality! It’s a sick, sad world that we live in.
    Good on you for speaking out on it Kaz. If that were me, however, I would have ended up in a tiff with the boys – I just can’t handle ignorance and have a bad temper when it comes to intolerance, especially when it concerns sexuality or race.
    I really think that instead of getting smarter the youth of today is getting dumber and more ignorant. (I feel like such an old 25 year old right now!)
    Yay for you speaking out – a well deserved rant πŸ™‚
    Liia <3

    • Kaz says:

      I know I shouldn’t really be surprised, but it was their age and the fact that they looked like cool, alternative London kids… I really expected something different. πŸ™

      Thanks for commenting. I wish I’d said something to them, but honestly? The carriage was pretty empty and one of the was pretty big. Even at 18 or 19, it made me a little nervous to think of getting into a fight with two of them.

      • Yeah if you had commented it probably would have gotten out of hand. Safety first πŸ™‚
        That’s why the internet is good, you can get your opinion out there and know you’re not the only one who feels that way.

        I really believe parents have to take responsibility for such narrow mindedness and ignorance. There’s so many problems in the world – intolerance shouldn’t be one of them!
        I’ve also found that younger adults are worse than teenagers. 14-17 year olds tend to be far more tolerant than 18-21 year olds – here in Oz anyway. It’s just ridiculous – the world makes me so mad sometimes

  12. A.S. King says:

    Kaz you are a classy classy lady.

    I used to think it would get better with time, but the older I get, the more I realize…it just continues. My daughter has recently realized that my sister has a wife. This is totally normal in our family and we are very happy about how happy my sister is. We love her wife and her kids. It’s our family. No different to any other family.
    However.
    My daughter has a friend who is very very very uh—well, let’s just say she tells a lot of people that they are going to hell a lot. Like. For being bad or for being different and so I had to tell my daughter not to tell her friend about her aunt and her aunt’s wife.
    “Not because we’re ashamed,” I said, “But because there seems to be no cure for hate and I don’t want you to be hurt by it. In case [friend] says you or my sister or our whole family, for that matter, are going to go to hell, let’s just not tell her.”
    I went through hell in school because of the fact that I had a gay sister. It was so stupid! Like it could rub off or run in the family. That was 25 years ago.
    And now, I’m warning my 7 year old against a 7 year old who is being taught the same garbage.
    *sigh*
    Haters gotta hate. No matter if it’s personal stuff or wider stuff like sexuality or color or gender. Haters just gotta hate.

    I’m glad you wrote this. You totally rock for telling us about Jay, Silent Bob and Todd.

    Amy

    • Kaz says:

      Amy, thank you SO much for this. Really, I appreciate you sharing this about your family – and, for the record, I love that your sister is so happy and that your family is totally cool. Huzzah!

      Sadly, we can’t expect that to extend to everyone, though, as you know from your daughter’s friend. It’s hard to fathom that you need to talk to your 7 year old about keeping something like this quiet, but I can understand it. Definitely not worth your daughter having to put up with hateful comments at her age. Ugh. And to think that the other girl is already talking like that! That’s terrifying. πŸ™

      You’re right about the haters, but I can’t help hoping things will change. I don’t know WHY I still keep hoping, especially considering what a hater a close family member is – and he hasn’t changed in the past 36 years. *sigh*

      Thank you for commenting.

      Hugs,
      Kaz

  13. Mardel says:

    I’m 50 years old and grew up in so called less tolerant times than teens today. Even so, I’m always surprised when I hear teens talk racist or homophobic. My Kids aren’t this way…then I realize that’s because of the way I raised them. They not only talk the talk, they walk the walk. – meaning they don’t just profess tolerance and acceptance – it’s just part of their life. Each one of them knows and has been very good friends with gay couples, other races, they even tolerate republicans (LOL – sorry).

    Those guys on the train. That one guy went on so much about what if “he” had touched him, etc it makes me wonder if he’s upset that he never did! Dude= the guy wasn’t attracted to you, get over it.

    • Kaz says:

      Even me – at 37 – grew up in less tolerant times. I grew up in the 1980s, which was a terrible time for anyone who would dare admit to being gay. I can’t believe we are STILL here all these years later.

      I’m so glad you commented, and I’m not at all surprised to hear how you raised your family. You’re awesome. (re. republicans – haha!)

      Re. the guy on the train: the same thing crossed my mind. πŸ™‚

      • Mardel says:

        It’s definitely trickle-down bigotry, from parents/grandparents and peer pressure – but it does seem sometimes that the youth of today are going a bit backwards rather than evolving. Over here in America I notice a lot racist comments along with the gay-bashing. There are however, a lot of young teens and adults that are perfectly accepting of lifestyles and races….but there seems to be a continuous string of hate and bigotry that will not go away. I wish the accepting voices would drown out the hater voices. Two steps forward, one step back….we’re doing a dance of slow evolvement. It just gets to me though, when I hear young adults or teens speaking with ignorant voices and thoughts. When some of what I hear from the young ones sounds exactly what I’ve heard from the older bigots of my youth, there is something wrong.

        I think it helps to hear and read people like Kaz and others. The more we read and write about acceptance of others, and the absolute ignorance of the haters, hopefully, the more today’s and tomorrow’s youth will come to accept all others.

        I also notice a common thread of people who are shocked when a friend comes out of the closet – they all act like THEY’VE been BETRAYED by their gay friends…like it’s all about them and not their friend’s life. Kind of a narcissistic point of view and reaction. Which is probably one of the reasons why they can’t seem to accept others – the world apparently revolves around them, and not the sun. They can’t seem to focus on anything but the Homosexuality vs Themselves…forgetting the fact that the friend has so much to deal with already. Right along side that, there always seems to be the completely mistaken idea that of course because you’re gay, you’re thinking of boning EVERYONE of the same sex….therefore everything must be viewed now through those “gay-colored” glasses, especially past actions and situations. I still think a lot of the time some of the anger comes from the fact that the newly-out of the closet friend has never tried to hook up with the “betrayed” friend….LOLOLOLOL People. so confused and yet so selfcentered. πŸ™‚

  14. Pauli says:

    Having spent the last 19 years in Canada, where the attitudes toward homosexuality are much more relaxed (we’ve got gay marriage and everything! and god hasn’t smited us yet!), moving to Europe has certainly been trying for me. I can’t say I’ve heard conversations like what you describe, but the attitude of “ew, gay” is very much present all around me. I can’t imagine what I would do if I heard people saying things like that. My grandfather has expressed a belief that one of my cousins being gay is “unfortunate” and how that’s made his whole family “sadly dysfunctional,” and while OK, he’s older and more conservative, it still makes me angry that in this day and age people say things like that.

    I’m glad you wrote this, that you shared this story. People like the two guys you’ve described need to be called out on their bigotry and hatred. πŸ™

    • Kaz says:

      The thing is, I really thought it would better here – especially in London where gay marriage (well, “Civil Partnerships”) were brought in by the Mayor pretty early. That’s partly why I’m so disappointed…

      Yes, the older more conservative people… we may expect that from them a little more, and maybe even tolerate it somewhat, but it doesn’t make it right. πŸ™ I hear a LOT of this in my family, sadly, among older members.

      Thanks for commenting – it’s really good to hear from you. Keep on being your beautiful self. πŸ™‚

      Hugs,
      Kaz

  15. Irene says:

    Wow. This is a really great post, and it just reminded me how sad it can be to be one of the young adults of today. Our generation is supposed to have left this c*** behind. Sadly, some of us seem to be moving backwards and upise-down instead of forward, and it just creates a negtaive image for the generation as a whole, when there are actually some fantastic people among us. It really just makes me so sad and angry (this post actually brought tears to my eyes), because I truly believe that people in general are supposed to be better than this. And it’s not just homophobia, it’s sexism and racism as well.
    You see, I live in England, but I am foreign and there are a few other foreigners in my school as well. One of them happens to be an English teacher (and she is a pretty good English teacher). A girl was saying to her friend how she hates that none of our English teachers are actually English (which is not true, and completely irrelevant anyway). She was saying how the fact that the teacher was foreign gave her no right to correct actual English people’s English. I wanted to remind her of what her English grades were, and what mine were, since according to her I am foreign and therefore apparently less able to speak English, yet I somehow manage to get A and A*s when she’s getting Cs and Bs. Something must have shown on my face, because her friend then turned around, glanced at me, and went: “Shhh! Irene’s foreign!”
    Pity I’m shy, because if I’d started to say something, I think I might have shouted at her. Or bitten her head off.
    Anyway, Kaz, lots of food for thought there, and you should share your opinions more often, because it helps to raise awareness and to nip all of this in the bud (I’m sure lots of people are homophobic or racist because their parents are. But some people happen to listen to their friends or peers, and aren’t the teenage years exactly for this? Going against your parents’ beliefs and getting your own opinions about the world, etc?).

    • Kaz says:

      Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment – seriously, thanks. *hugs*

      I cried when I got home. Really weird how this made me feel. I think the frustration and disappointment finally hit me, but at least it’s pushed me to DO something.

      It’s hard to stand up and say something in situations like the one you describe, because you never know what kind of conflict it could bring down on you. There is so much ignorance around us, and people rarely think before they speak.

  16. Emily says:

    Such topics often arise at school, those who start the conversation with “Omigod, He’s so gay, did you see his hair….” to which I can only stare in bewilderment.
    The book sounds good, I’d really love to take a look at it πŸ™‚

    Em

  17. Ana says:

    Great post Kaz, very heartfelt. This so heartbreaking…

    • Kaz says:

      Thanks, m’dear. I don’t know WHAT is going on with me, but I feel so angry about this. But if I channel the anger into something positive, I guess that’s okay…

  18. Angela H. says:

    What’s most sad is that the conversation you overhead is representative of what’s so common – the continuing homophobia and hate that surrounds people every day. I was observing a high school English class the other day, and I couldn’t help noticing when two of the 9th grade boys had a snicker over the use of the word “queer” in the poem they were reading. Or when my fellow college students (and supposed adults) decided to discuss our professor’s assumed sexual orientation the other day when he was late to class. As though it was relevant at ALL to our class or his teaching or ANYTHING. I’m just glad that there are people like you, me, and the other commenters who will notice this hateful and unfair behavior and stand up to it in some way.

    Thank you for sharing such a good and meaningful rant. I’ll also be sure to pick up that book if I don’t win it in the contest. πŸ™‚

    • Kaz says:

      Thank you for sharing this – I think the more we talk about it, surely it has to help a LITTLE. You know? And this post has been read by 300 individuals so far; I hope there’s even ONE person among them who might take a moment to think about their beliefs. That would be worth it, to me.

      I hope you love the book, whether you win or not! πŸ™‚

  19. Llehn says:

    Thank you for this post Karen.

  20. Mandy says:

    I love what you wrote and I cannot see anyone being offended by it…but in this day. I completely agree with all you wrote. On the other hand I am a bit forward. I wouldn’t have held my tongue for an hour. I’d snap and pipe in, but not piping angry only sharing another view to the one side the supposedly “friend” was seeing. It tugs my heart that people cannot put their foot in other shoes and realize we are not all the same and it’s quite alright. If we were all a paper cut-out oh how boring we’d be.
    I will continue to hope we become more accepting and open through the years, but we will always have major work; sadly. I find the ones who are not accepting and or understanding like in your “train” case; possibly their role models have something to do with it or something else. What a pity. I’m thankful my father was very open and didn’t care what you look like, ate, said, wear, kissed and etc. You are a human being who means something….unless you are evil, then off with your head πŸ™‚

    Thanks so much!
    I cannot WAIT to get my hands on your book πŸ™‚
    Mandy (USA)

    • Kaz says:

      “You are a human being who means something…”

      This! Exactly. (The other part made me smile, though. Heh.)

      Thanks so much for commenting. Honestly, I really wish I HAD said something, but one of them especially was pretty big and the train carriage was pretty empty. I am a coward, I guess, but there is way too much violence in and around London. I didn’t want to take the chance.

      And thanks so much re. the book! That’s very cool to hear. πŸ™‚

      Cheers,
      Kaz

  21. Ari says:

    *hugs* I am so frustrated by this as well because I’m going through this with some guy and…well it’s just frustrating! I’ve never understood intolernace, it’s completely baffling to me and even when I try and place myself in someone else’s shoes, I can’t seem to get terribly sympathetic. haha.

    Anyway, this post made me incredibely sad because as you stated, it’s just the suckiness on the cake of all the suicides we’ve been hearing about. I really don’t get it. GLBT people aren’t trying to hurt you or ruin your lives. They just want to be treated equally. Ughhhhhh.

    My religion teaher recently stated that if you ‘make the choice to turn gay’ that’s on you. I didn’t challegne him on it and I REALLY wish I had, but that probably wouldn’t have changed anything. Don’t beat yourself up over not saying something though. Especially because you were by yourself.

    • Kaz says:

      Thank so much for this, my dear. *hugs* It is SO frustrating – I think I cried BECAUSE of the frustration when I got home. I hate intolerence, especially when it’s born out of ignorance. Ugh.

      I’m sorry you’re going through something like this with someone. If you want to talk about it, you know you can always email me. Also, your religion teacher is a total loser. Wow… I’m stunned that your TEACHER says crap like that. You were right not to say anything, because there’s no way you’ll change his mind – seriously, no way – and you would then make yourself a target for him.

      Kaz

  22. Nikki Egerton says:

    I think it’s great that you wrote about this Kaz, and totally understand the age divide, like I would understand someone my parent’s age nott being able to accept this, but not someone of my generation.

    I hope Jay’s reaction will show Todd what a bloody awful friend he was, and that he will try and surround himself with people who love and accept him, regardless of his sexuality.

    xxxx

  23. Bec says:

    I can’t imagine you leaping into a fight on a train! Heh. I know just how you feel though. I had just one line that set me FUMING. I went to see Avenue Q with Carolin and at one point, when eveyrone is “awwwwwww”ing at a gay puppet pining over his straight best friend, the guy behind me (a black American guy, of all the people to be intolerant of minorities!) loudly said “Don’t say AWWW, he’s GAY” and growled. I sat stock still, thinking “my god, did he say that? Did I just hear that?”, and was stiff and angry the whole first half. I can’t hold that in so at the interval my boyfriend Simon had to physically restrain me from spinning around to confront him about it.

    It’s infuriating when you hear that. I personally don’t accept an age divide, either. I know it’s easy for me to say, at a spritely 23, but people can and do change. Older people who grew up with racism and maybe were racist when they were younger have seen the evidence that it’s wrong, that there CAN be peace and harmony between people who were traditionally perceived as different. Their opinions on homosexuality can change, too. it’s so easy for people to just fall into the trap of “oh, I’m old, I’m stuck in my ways, I’ve thought it for so long that I can’t be bothered” – why shouldn’t people reevaluate themselves every once in a while? Question whether what they thought was true is actually right for them and the time they’re in?

    I have a problem as a teacher, too. I can’t tell you how many times I hear “Miss, that’s GAY” as a response to anything they don’t like, or “His name isn’t Josh, it’s gayboy”… every time I hear “Miss, that’s GAY” I have to question what’s wrong with being gay, and try not to lecture in the middle of a technology lesson.

    • Kaz says:

      Hi Bec. I realised that I never replied to the last couple of comments on this post, and wanted you to know that I read what you shared with me and really appreciate it.

      I think you make a good point, that older people CAN change – and maybe I shouldnt let them off so lightly on the oh-well-they’re-set-in-their-ways excuse. You’re absolutely right that everyone should reevaluate themselves and their beliefs every once in a while. Sadly, I don’t think enough people do that…

      Thanks again,
      Kaz

  24. Renee Sweet says:

    Finally catching up on blogs so I’m late to the game, but I wanted to add a few comments anyway.

    First, thanks so much for posting this. And for feeling this, for being outraged. You mentioned that you wondered why Todd was even friends with Jay when he was afraid to tell him, etc. Unfortunately, that is so often the case. This sort of reaction can come from anyone, seemingly out of nowhere, defying logic. When you look at your whole circle of friends and acquaintances and family members and–literally–see all of them at some level of risk of rejecting you to some degree (or completely, as in Jay’s case), it often seems the lesser of the evils to just put up with the silence and to maintain a relationship you know isn’t entirely healthy. I’m obviously not speaking for everyone here, but I thought I’d throw a little perspective from the other side on the table.

    Also, just sort of tying back to my post on bisexuality and how it’s often left out and, in some ways, doesn’t always have a home even in the gay community… I noticed that there are no bi stories in the book you’re offering. πŸ™ (We’re not straight, dammit!) I’m certainly not insinuating that bi stuff has to be every single place gay, lesbian or transgender stuff is but I found the book of stories to be extraordinarily comprehensive (wow! even trans!)…except for bis. Because, perhaps, our identity experiences can be so easily masked behind straight identities? : / Hmmm. I don’t know. I’m probably picking a fight where there isn’t one. πŸ™‚ *shutting up now*

    *okay, not quite shutting up* But not to say anything against the book for what it *is* — I love that such a book even exists and, judging by its contributors, I’m betting the stories are beautifully told. Also, I heart the title. πŸ™‚

    • Kaz says:

      I realised that I didn’t reply to your comment here, darling, but I appreciate what you said about there not being any bi stories in the book. That’s a good point, and I honestly didn’t think about it – I SHOULD have done, though. Thanks for making me think again.

      I also think you’re right about how “it often seems like the lesser of the evils to just put up with the silence and to maintain a relationship you know isn’t healthy.” Excellent point, and one I should really know myself, already – for different reasons – with my own personal relationships. *sigh*

      Hugs,
      Kaz

  25. ThisViewOfMine says:

    I love reading this post. I don’t feel good enough with words to put my opinions down but i agree with what you posted here.

    My dad is REALLY racist; he is against gays to say the least. Hearing someone say things like this can really make you sick to your stomach.

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