While homophobia is something that we gay folks live with on a day-to-day basis, at least in my everyday life it tends to operate in the background, like a buzzing fluorescent light -- if you pay attention to it, it can become quite disconcerting, but if you can focus your attention elsewhere you don't notice it as much.
Every so often, though, the buzz not only buzzes but shocks me.
I hang out on the ELCA Facebook page. They do a splendid job with it; every day they post a question for "fans," or a Scripture verse or other message generating discussion. Most of the frequent fliers there seem like nice people, and I've even "friended" a couple of them.
The Troubles, though, bring out the homophobes, wrapped in Luther Rose banners and waving Bibles. I have trained myself to largely ignore these people and pay instead pay attention to the good discussions on that page. But yesterday, as the dead horse of CWA was being whipped further, one individual whose presence on the forum is largely limited to carcass-banging opined that same-sex couples hurt others -- therefore disqualifying their monogamous committed relationships as holy ones and making their legal status as families undesireable -- because our rate of STDs cost society money in healthcare costs.
This comment was so breathtaking in its hatred and stupidity that I had to break my silence -- not to argue with him, but to bear witness that his comments were both hurtful and slanderous, as well as personally insulting. But I left it at that, recusing myself from further comment. Sandal, dust, shake, move on.
This is why I am not going to go racing off to the CDC webpage to look up relative demographic rates of STDs, or wonder if the same rationale should be used to deny fat, inactive, substance-abusing people protections under the law: This indivdual wouldn't pay attention to me if I did. Because I am a gay woman -- two strikes right there -- I'm sure all this person sees when he sees my posts is the fuzzy part of an eye exam. If we were in a room and I were speaking, all he'd hear is wonk-wonk-wonk, like the Peanuts gang listening to adults.
This morning I was reading the "time travel" retrospective feature of the New York Times, from I think the year 1907, talking about the increased momentum for women's suffrage thanks to the support of wealthy and socially influential women. The thing is, though -- women's suffrage would never come to be if the discussion hadn't moved into all-male halls of power, with a tipping-point of influential men finally creating a cultural and intellectual environment where it became desireably progressive to support the vote for women. In the end, it was peer pressure that made all the difference.
And that's the way, I think, it's always been in matters of civil rights: Minorities can't rely on themselves alone to secure their rights. They have to wait for the development of critical mass on the majority side to effect change.
That is, frankly, not a comfortable place to be -- at the mercy of others. I don't like it. I don't want to think that my fate as a citizen or as an ELCA Lutheran is so dependent upon sympatico Sincere Bible Study Guys (and Gals, although not to the same extent, it seems) winning over that bloc of recalcitrant peers. But that's reality.
I notice that someone called out the STD guy on the ELCA Facebook discussion. (Who responded, predictably, by complaining that his "bound conscience" is not being respected) . I am grateful for the support. But I'm not going to participate in that discussion further. All I can do is tell my own and my family's story when I can, in media like this blog, and trust in my heterosexual friends' ability to somehow translate that experience in ways that their friends will understand, because -- unlike me -- the friends will listen to them.