Tag Archives: LGBT

Glowing with pride

Postcard - The White House in Washington D.C.

Image by adam79 via Flickr

Last night after I got home from my coven’s business meeting, my seventeen year old unofficial godson* sent me a text asking if we could make a run to Dunkin Donuts before school in the morning.  He explained that he had some exciting news he wanted to share with me.  He explained he couldn’t tell me over the phone, despite my efforts to talk him into doing so.  I finally relented and went to bed, agreeing I’d find out in the morning.

So this morning, I got up, showered, and headed out to pick him up.  As he climbed into my car, he handed me an envelope made of heavier paper — the kind of paper some greeting cards come in.  I flipped it over and saw the envelope was addressed to him.  Then I saw the return address on it.  Whatever I was about to look at, it had come from the White House.  You know, the one at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.  In Washington D.C.  I was excited.

I pulled out the first piece of cardstock in the envelope and began to read a beautifully printed invitation for my godson to attend the White House LGBT reception later this month.  I took a few seconds to let what I was reading sink in, then I hugged my godson tight.  (Not an easy task when you’re buckled into the driver’s seat of a Mercury Sable, let me tell you.)

We’re not exactly sure how someone at the White House got his name.  I’m guessing that someone from GLSEN‘s national office submitted it, as he’s had some involvement at the national level** and is a student member of our local chapter’s board of directors.  Between that and his involvement with the local LGBT community center and his school GSA (holding leadership roles in all of them, no less), it’s no surprise that his name got submitted, really.  In fact, the invitation is a testament to and wonderful reward for everything he’s done.  He’s proud and excited about going to the White House.  And I don’t blame him.

I’m proud of him too.  And maybe a little jealous.  😉


*  Godfather and godson are the best terms we’ve come up to describe the friendship that has developed between the two of us, though our use implies no official status as such.

** That includes having his picture appear on both the national website and the promotional literature for GLSEN’s Safe Space campaign.

Homophobia Comes in Many Forms

SAN FRANCISCO - JUNE 29:  A reveler holds a ga...

Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Today is the International Day Against Homophobia, an annual day sponsored by Fondation ?mergence to raise awareness of and combat the ugly phenomenon known as homophobia.  This is an important thing, as homophobia is something that adversely affects millions of LGBT people, not to mention those who choose to embrace homophobia.  (I hope to talk about that last bit in a later post.)

This is also an important issue because while some manifestations of homophobia are easy to spot, some are far more subtle, easily rationalized, and therefore more insidious in some ways.  It’s easy to spot and speak out against thugs who go around beating up gay people.  It’s pretty easy to spot and stop the school bully who calls smaller boys “queer” and otherwises taunts them.  It’s much harder to spot and address the more decent, mild mannered person who still manages to be homophobic in subtler ways, the person who might not even be aware that what they’re doing is homophobic.

Some will complain — and quite loudly — that believing that same sex sexual relationships are wrong or immoral is not homophobic.  Most days, I’m inclined to agree with them.  I think that such a belief is wrong and wrong-headed.  But I don’t think taht such a belief in itself homophobic.

However, beliefs don’t exist in a vacuum, and one of the biggest problems with such a belief is that it usually leads to actions that are homophobic.  So while keeping in mind that believing that same-sex sexual relationships are wrong is not homophobic, I’d like to point out some of the subsequent homophobic pitfalls that someone who holds such beliefs might fall into.

Refusing to befriend, get to know, and actually listen to gay people simply because they are gay is homophobic.  If concern for maintaining the purity of your beliefs gets in the way of being a friendly and personable individual, that’s something you will need to address.

Having “gay friends,” but quickly changing the subject whenever they start discussing their love life or romantic interests is homophobic.  Real friends don’t get to pick and choose what aspects of their friends lives they’re open to.  They don’t even ask for such a privilege.

Making assumptions about what gay people are like, what they value in their relationships, and what their sex lives are like (and if you’re spending that much time thinking about that last one, ew!) is homophobic.  Gay people are people too, and we can be very diverse.  Making assumptions based solely on who we are attracted too is wrong on a number of levels, including the homophobic level.

There are many other such examples.  In short, any way in which someone treats or thinks of an LGBT person differently from other people — often in ways that are dehumanizing — is homophobic.

The good news is that people can do something about homophobia.  We just need to work on making people aware of its existence and the need to change the way things are.