Dear Homophobic Stranger,
I need to confess something to you. When I was nineteen, I French-kissed a chubby Colombian boy in a doorway of an alleyway. It was quite funny, really. He said to me, in a heavy Hispanic accent, "in ten seconds, you weell get zee best keess of your life. One... Two... I can’t wait to keess these lips... Three... Four... Your eyes shine like zee moon on zee water”. He finally got to ten (and I somehow managed to hold back my laughter and vomit), and we proceeded to have a fairly average and brief makeout session.
Why am I telling you this horrible piece of over-information? Because you seem to think other people’s sex lives directly affect you.
One of my favourite things about this incredibly lucky country that we live in is that everyone, even hate-filled weirdos like you, is entitled to their own opinion. You are allowed to fear whatever you want, just as I am allowed to call you a hate-filled weirdo. In the interest of free speech, I’d like to try and explain to you why there is absolutely no reason to be afraid of gay people, and how stupid it is to want to stop them from getting married.
When I was about twelve, I was telling my Mum about one of the many boys from my dancing school, and how I wanted him to marry one of the girls because they’d make a cute couple. Mum pointed out that she thought he’d grow up to be gay* (she was right, as mothers so often are). I denied Mum’s predictions, mortified at the idea. I didn’t know any gay people. How was I supposed to act around him? How was I supposed to feel? How did this affect ME? It only took five minutes of the next dance class with him for me to realise the truth – it didn’t affect me. Not even slightly. His sexuality had as much impact on me as his chosen brand of toothpaste.
|Toothpaste. Sexuality. What you put in your mouth is your business.|
You know what you need to realise, homophobic stranger? A homosexual person will not try to convince you to become homosexual too. It is not contagious, nor is it a conscious decision. Let me compare your irrational, unjustified fear to my own – spiders. I am absolutely fucking terrified of spiders. I still have nightmares about them a few times a week, in which groups of them try to attack me. When I walk into a room and spot one (and I have my very own Spidey Sense that allows me to feel their presence before I spot them), I will often cry, scream, vomit, or faint, or do all four at once. But here’s the thing. In all the times that they have been in the same room as me, even on the occasions they have TOUCHED me, not once has a spider ever, ever, EVER tried to talk me into becoming a spider too. Honestly, they have never done anything to warrant my fear, except be a spider. I do believe you will find similar patterns in the subject of your own unwarranted phobia.
Continuing with comparing your fear with mine, never has a spider tried to attack me either. Is this something you’re afraid of? That a gay man might try to bite you? I have encountered a lot of gay men and I have encountered a lot of spiders, and I have only been bitten by each of these species once. On the occasion that my gay friend bit me, it was because he was instructed to by a director as part of an acting scene. This had nothing to with his sexual preferences, and everything to do with him being an actor following directions, and even then, he was gentle, kind, and apologetic. Perhaps you should be scared of bizarre directors instead?
The time that the spider bit me was not because he was trying to attack me. Despite my lifelong struggles with arachnophobia, no spider has ever run towards me with his front legs clenched into fists, ready to bash me and then suck my blood (just like they do in my dreams). In reality, the time I got bitten was because a spider was in my bed, and I lay down on top of it. He got confused and scared, and he lashed out in protection of his own life. I forgave him, because it was my fault for scaring him. If you were to lie down on top of a gay man in your bed, he might get confused and scared too. Homosexual people, like most decent human beings, will not attack you if you do not provoke them. The sad truth is, some gay people have had to deal with provocation their whole lives, and yet they end up attacking themselves, because people like you make them feel unnecessarily ashamed.
On Saturday, the first same-sex marriages took place in Australia. Those couples, after a lifetime of waiting to be allowed to get this far, still have to wait to find out if their marriages are considered legally binding. I just cannot fathom WHY THE FUCK anyone is against it. I’m happy for spiders to go and live their own happy lives, because it does NOT AFFECT ME. Two people getting married does not affect you anymore than two tipsy nineteen year-olds making out in a darkened doorway. It does not affect your marriage (unless your partner believes in supporting same-sex marriage and it’s a point of contention between you – in which case, they are way too good for you, and you should hold on to them as best as you can). It does not affect your sex life. You are welcome to explain to me in what ways it DOES affect you, because I just do not understand it.
Is it a religious thing? If so, it is not something I am equipped to speak much about, given that I am not really a religious person. However, I would’ve thought that the Big Guy upstairs would be about as happy for you to hate a group of people for their sexual preferences as he was about Hitler not liking brunettes**. Is it because you worry about a child having two parents of the same sex? Children have been successfully raised by same-sex couples for many years, just as well as they have been raised by single parents. The only people we should worry about starting a family are the ones who will encourage hatred and bullying in their own children. Teach your child to love people for their souls, not their sexual preferences. While you’re at it, teach yourself about it too. Your child might bring home a partner of the same sex one day, and it would be a bit awkward for everyone if you were to scream, vomit, cry and faint in one go.
There is no need for you to be afraid, nor is there a need for you to hurt the people you are afraid of by not supporting their right to be happy. I don’t ever hurt spiders, even the one that bit me. I set them free and encourage them to live their happy lives, and stay out of my bed. You should do the same for the lovely gay people you’re so afraid of. Although, I can’t imagine any lovely gay people would want to be in bed with a homophobic stranger. They generally save their love for other lovely gay people. Which they will keep on doing, whether you allow them to get married or not. That’s the truth. Men and women will continue to sleep with each other in various patterns, positions and places, as will you. How do you like to do it? Actually, never mind. I don’t want to know.
Your sex life is absolutely none of my business.
Lots of love (gay, straight, bi-sexual and otherwise),
*This has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that he took dance lessons. As a performing artist, I do meet many gay people in the industry, but there are also many straight men, just as there are gay men in every industry in the world. You can bet your bottom dollar that my boys will be doing ballet lessons from age three. If they do grow up to be gay, I’ll know it’s because I’m a lucky parent, not because they have a nice arabesque.
**Okay, no one is as bad as Hitler, but my point is to be accepting and full of love. If I can do it for hairy, venomous spiders, you can do it for beautiful humans with hearts of gold and sexual preferences that are none of your business.
By Lucy Gransbury. Follow her on Twitter @LucyGransbury. Or follow her in real life. She's probably brushing her teeth... but that's none of your business.