Friday, 3 July 2015

I'm gay. And that's ok.

*Disclaimer. Hi there, I'm GAY. Very happily so. This means that I would like the OPTION to get married, legally, and also I believe I have the right to not feel discriminated against, hated or vilified because I'm gay. If that offends you, then I'm fine with you leaving now. You might also like to stay, as my opinion is just as valid as yours. That's because it's ok for us all to have different opinions. Like, I like salted caramel ice cream, you might prefer rum and raisin. And that's ok.
What's NOT ok is when our differing opinions hurt, vilify and harm other people. 
ALSO, it is NEVER ok to threaten physically, verbally or emotionally another person. Online or in real life. Ever. Ok ?*

So, it has come to my attention, rather harshly, that I live in a bubble.

Oh, it's a nice bubble ! It's a bubble where people genuinely care about the rights of asylum seekers, victims of domestic violence, the rights of women and the right to love whom you choose without fear of discrimination or harm. Sure, it's a Green Party voting, craft beer drinking, supporting local business, inner city (kind of) living bubble. But it's really, really nice here.

Perhaps I was a little naive. I mean, I do read the papers, watch the news, and have  a twitter and facebook feed that sometimes horrifies me. However, I'd (very) inaccurately assumed that our politicians, lead by some misguided beliefs and policies, were out of step with the vast majority of my fellow Australians.

However, if you follow certain Australian blogging circles, you'll know that this week a blog post written by a fellow Australian female blogger caused a 'bit' of a stir. The post was written in response to the rainbowing of profile pictures that spread like a glorious sea of acceptance and pride and love over facebook in response to Pride celebrations across the USA and Europe.

This blogger as a Christian does not support my right to marry my female partner. That's fine. I don't begrudge her right to her opinion. Nor do I begrudge her right to post that opinion on her blog.
However, I do, very strongly believe that her opinion DOES NOT give her the right to spread a very hateful message of intolerance. I felt physically ill when I read this blog post.

Physically ill, like I'd been punched in the stomach. The words hurt. The following threads of comments in a blogging community hurt even more. The old arguments of the sanctity of marriage, the purpose of marriage to be purely for re-production and "but where will this all end ??" were raised and re-hashed. Sometimes not very eloquently. Always with rancour, fear, hatred and disgust.

I'm not going to defend these arguments because frankly I'm a bit bored by them. My happy, healthy and loving relationship does not in any way effect any one else's. At least, not negatively. I would argue that happy relationships, straight or gay, create a better society for ALL of us.

My overwhelming issue with the blog and ensuing hateful comments is the complete lack of empathy. So often in this 'debate' the PERSON is completely removed from the argument.

Gay people become some arbitrary threat to society. A random image of men in chaps and lesbians in sensible shoes kissing under rainbow flags aiming to destroy marriage and our society as a whole.

Where's the personal connection to your neighbour, friend, family member (I am looking directly at YOU Tony Abbott) or fellow blogger ? Where's the empathy ? Where's the understanding that we are all born differently. Created (oohhhh I went there) to love and be loved but just not necessarily in the same way that you are.

And, my grave concern with posts and opinions like this one, is for the young and vulnerable gay, bisexual, transgender and sexually curious or confused kids. There still growing up in a world and country where (to many people, including our PM and many aspects of the media) to be gay is BAD. A sin and you should be punished, ostracised and hated for it.

For being yourself. The way you were born.

From BeyondBlue :
"Lesbian, gay, bisexual, intersex and transgender and gender diverse people are much more likely to experience depression and anxiety than the broader population. They are also at a greater risk of suicide and self-harm. 
Among LGBTI populations, research clearly indicates that discrimination, abuse (both verbal and physical), exclusion and prejudice are key contributors to the increased rates of depression, anxiety and self-harm."
Blog posts like this week's only give weight to the fear and stigma that is held by a minority. 
But is heard very loudly. 
I come to this debate having had a relatively easy 'coming out' experience and generally have only been surrounded by love and acceptance. I am eternally grateful for that and do not take that acceptance lightly. But really, should I have to be grateful for that ??? 
I don't believe that my sexuality and my relationship define me. Certainly not as a blogger. Which I think partly explains why I found this blog and response so hurtful and alarming. This was a 'safe' space. I'm used to defending my rights at the poll booth, or choosing a LGBTI medical professional or checking the LGBTI friendliness of an organisation before I utilise them. I'm very accustomed  to choosing when or to whom I declare that my 'partner' ifs female. But not here. Not in a blogging sphere of like minded women. Surely ? 
Well I was wrong. And yet I wasn't, because amongst those voices of hate were louder voices of love and acceptance and with me, shock. The care was (as it should have been) shared equally for the original blogger and 'us' gays. That care wasn't an acknowledgement or validation of the blogger's opinion but rather care for her well being after being abused online for her post.  
I'm sure that's because we ALL know a neighbour, brother, cousin, sibling, for some of you, children, that are or maybe gay. And don't we want them to be free of discrimination, hate and fear ? 
For being themselves ? 
I'm sure this post is not particularly well written, but I'm going to hit publish anyway. It's been swirling around in my head and heart all week and needs to be out.(maybe I intended that pun!)
I'm going to walk the dogs, hold my lover's hand and go about my day. 
Thanks for reading. Yes, please comment (I may get someone else to monitor them) but please reread my disclaimer at the top of this post BEFORE you comment. 
Cheers,
Dee x











19 comments:

  1. It was a real eye opener. I have always been of the "live and let live" mentality and "each to their own" as far as opinions go - and as far as your own social media channels go. But things did get out of hand and those opinions intruded into a space where they never should have. Look at how lovely and happy and in love you look with your partner (and your very handsome puppies) - I am all for happy.

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  2. Dee, I am so glad you wrote this. I really wanted to hear how things felt for you. Thanks for telling us.

    When people I admire and love are hurt, it makes me feel SO SHIT. I am sorry that you had to endure so many hurtful attitudes from a community that's normally so curious and open minded... It shocked me, so I can't even being to imagine how shocked you were.

    I learnt a lot from what happened - mostly how important it is to stand up against intolerance and discrimination - even if it means upsetting people and causing ripples. I'm going to do that more often now. Thanks for inspiring me.



    #LoveWins

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  3. I think I live in a similar bubble Dee. I just did not realize that on crafty artistic circles there was still old fsshion views. Thank you for writing your post.

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  4. Can I be glad that you wrote this, and sorry that you had to, at the same time?

    Much love x

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  5. Thanks for post - everyone deserves respect and to be treated in a dignified way!

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  6. I missed 'the other' post and don't even want to go there. Just don't want to read hateful words. Ever. Maybe I too live in a naive bubble...? This is a beautifully expressive post, I just can't get my head around the fact I live in a "developed" country with citizens who lacks emotional and social intelligence, empathy, acceptance or at a stretch, tolerance. It just doesn't make sense and makes me super sad. Hugs to you x

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  7. Hi Dee - great post. The last week has certainly been a wild ride and somewhat overwhelming, confronting and surprising to me. 'That' blog post blew me away - but just as I care for the wellbeing of the author, I want you to know that I also care for your wellbeing. This group is incredibly special to me - I love us all!!!

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  8. To me love wins out. My parents were hetero and divorced. so what is wrong with homo and married. Kids deserve a nuturing environment be gay, hetero, single or grandparent. I am saddened by what happened and did not get a chance to read the post. As for Christianity, Jesus let a prostitute wash his feet. In his words, "Love one another as I have love you". Zoe xx

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  9. As a straight, Catholic woman, I say, stuff the close-minded other who extended her prejudice into discrimination.
    My view is that there are more important things than such intolerance - like compassion (i.e. having some bleeping empathy and understanding) and trying to be more open-minded!
    My idea of Jesus is so *not* hers, obviously.
    I support marriage equality. :) I wrote about my own viewpoint on my own blog earlier.
    I know people who'd benefit from it personally. Seriously I wonder at the stupidity of others sometimes....
    I've been moving into that sort of bubble you mention, actually.

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  10. You need not fret Dee - the post is written beautifully. You and I reside in the same bubble-world and I always feel like I've been slapped when I hear or read views and opinions that aren't consistent with I thought everyone thought. Thank you for sharing with us. And hope to see you in BWP world soon xx

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  11. Hi Dee, I found your blog via Tune into Radio Carly's FB page. I think this post is perfectly written. I too live in a bit of a bubble, surrounded by like minded and compassionate people mostly. That blog post really shocked me, I actually had to read it twice to confirm it was saying what I thought it was saying. And the comments! That was one scary rabbit hole to fall down. As a (just regular, everyday) Christian, I call bullshit. Love is love, end of story. xx

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  12. theartofcostume.wordpress.com3 July 2015 at 19:46

    Massive luv and hugs to you Dee. I missed the original post and am very glad I did. We all have a right to be our true selves, thank you for your open heart and courage.

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  13. Nicole Mallalieu3 July 2015 at 20:11

    You're not just ok, Dee - you're fan-bloody-tastic. I missed the initial blog post and all the conversation about it, but I think you did a sterling job of putting your thoughts and feelings into words. I'm a fellow bubble-dweller and it's too easy for me to forget that outside our safe little enclave, people think that it's ok to spread hate or intolerance - it was shocking and saddening to hear what happened. Your response was perfectly measured, compassionate and intelligent. xx

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  14. Thank you so much for hitting publish Dee. I've been thinking about you all week. I, unfortunately, don't live in a bubble, and am often confronted by people whose opinions differ so much from mine. So I take it upon myself to always stand up for the underdog, the excluded, the marginalised, the discriminated against. There is so much ugliness out there and I think it's so important to stand up for what you believe. My favourite saying is "Stand up for what is right, even if you are standing alone". The worst thing about this episode was the lack of apology from the blogger and then the turnaround to make it about her (she was the victim?!). It infuriated me! I am all for everyone is entitled to their view and opinion. But just like in real life, I can't sustain a friendship with someone whose views are so hateful and hurtful. I cannot go back to that blogger - I can't follow her blog or FB page any more. It would be hypocritical. Much love to you and your beautiful partner and doggies. xx

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  15. Patricia Rae Grimmond4 July 2015 at 07:49

    Two words for fundamentalists: Ashley. Maddison. I would looooooooooooove to hear them explain how that man/woman combination is cool. Love you. 😘

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  16. Beautifully said! I'm a member of your blogging community also but have been more out of the loop than usual due to being overseas. Watching the fallout online has been nothing short of heartbreaking because typically the BWP community is supportive and understanding (I almost said open-minded but I'm like 'you don't have to be open-minded to accept the gay community because they have existed since the beginning of time.) Anyway- thank you for sharing your thoughts and I hope that moving forward you can leave the hurt behind. Xo

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  17. Thanks for writing, Dee, and for having the courage to publish. I've been following your generous, positive response of posting a photo of you and G every time you come across and "anti" post on facebook. I'm not usually an active part of your blogging community, but am so sorry that what has been (and should be) a safe space for you became a place of shock and hurt. I'd love to hear from you about how those of us who perhaps naively share your bubble can help to grow the space where acceptance is the norm. It might make me uncomfortable, but I expect my discomfort is mild compared with the sort of attacks LGBTQIA members of our society experience. Lead on, if you like . . . or not because you don't owe me an education, But if you care to keep writing and posting courageously, I'm happy to keep reading and seeing how I can grow in understanding and empathy.

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  18. Yes, yes, yes Dee. If I'm naive in saying this, then so be it: I just want everyone to get along. To be free to be themselves without harm to others. To show compassion and kindness ESPECIALLY when someone is different to themselves. To WANT to understand things they don't. To live with curiosity a

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  19. I missed said post but as someone who grew up Christian and was surrounded by such babble as "being gay is a sin", I can only imagine how horrible the post was for you, along with many others, to read.
    BUT your post is eloquent, and measured and so well written. Although you might feel like you live in a bubble, I genuinely feel the tide is turning towards marriage equality and those views that so hurt you really are heading towards the minority.


    xxxxx

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