Dear Straight Person

Dec 2006
26,829
12,082
New Haven, CT
Dear Straight Person,

I want to give you a simple example of what it’s like to be gay. But I’m not going to tell you what it’s like to have gay sex, or to go to a Pride March, or to wear drag, or any of those aspects of gay life you might consider exotic, and therefore representative, of our sexuality.

Instead, I want to use an everyday example that you and I are likely to have in common. I want to show you how deeply homophobia cuts into gay lives. So, I’m going to recount what it’s like for me to go out for a cup of coffee in the morning.

This won’t take long:

I wake up tired.

I’m depressed and exhausted lately from fighting against homophobia online. With the announcement of the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey, things have really escalated. It’s on every television station, on every social media network, every news site, every hour, every day. I stayed up late last night trying to win arguments against homophobic commentators. On the occasions when I thought I might be sounding strident, or when my attacker has been especially vindictive and popular, I tried instead to “jam their signal” with humour or irrelevancy. But it’s getting harder to stay positive.

My husband and I have been talking about marriage equality and homophobia almost every waking hour recently. It seems like we can’t use the internet without some straight person, hiding behind anonymity, suggesting that gay people are all — or mostly — child-abusers and bullies. We keep proving them wrong, but facts never seem to be enough. (Never bring a fact to a faith-fight.) I can’t block homophobes or they’ll say I’m stifling their free speech, their freedom as straight people to make false speeches about me. They hide behind pseudonyms and faceless profile images not because they feel oppressed as straights, but because they feel ashamed as homophobes. It’s getting harder every day to tell the supportive straights from the homophobes.

I kiss my husband good morning, find out how he slept, then I shower and choose an outfit. I want to get to the café before it’s full of straight people and their kids.

My wardrobe is full of straight looking clothes: clothes that protect me from being noticed and insulted. Clothes that reassure everyone else in my local community that I’m just like them. Clothes that protect me from allegations of attention-seeking: austere blues and greys, drab conformities. I remember Kristin Scott-Thomas in Angels and Insects asking, “Could it be that the drabness of the female might be protective?”

My drabness is protective. I’m dressing more and more straight, the longer the survey goes on.

I keep a conservative haircut. Hairstyles are important: they signal your sexuality over long distances. If you’re a man, it’s okay to have non-conformist hair only if you carry a woman around with you. If I had crazy hair and went anywhere in public with my husband, they’d say I was “rubbing everyone’s faces in it.” I didn’t figure out what “rubbing their faces in it” meant until I was about 35. It meant that my sexuality was shit, and I was rubbing other people’s faces in that shit. That’s what straight people think about my sexuality being visible. It’s like rubbing someone’s face in shit.

I check the mirror to make sure I look straight enough, then walk out my front door. It’s a beautiful day.

My husband and I live in a straight neighbourhood. When I’m feeling bitter, I call it a “breeder neighbourhood,” but mostly I feel safer near them than if I were to live in a gay enclave and not know what they thought of me. At least here I have my finger on the pulse of straight people. I can read whether things are getting worse or better. I flatter myself that I’ve avoided living in a gay bubble, even though it never occurs to me that I’m living in a straight one.

I try to be deferential to my straight neighbours. Straight people seem to like deferential behaviour from gays, and they especially like the kind of deference they don’t even notice. It makes them feel superior without any of the guilt that goes with superiority. You have to make them smile. Walking down my street, my main aim is to avoid the people who hate me, and to remind everyone that I’m harmless, quite harmless.

Most of my neighbours are friendly, and I’m not lying when I say I really like them — love some of them, even. Sure, there are a few houses where people never smile or look me in the eye. There’s one house where the kids haven’t looked me in the eye once in fifteen years. I don’t even know what their voices sound like. I suspect they hate me, but I’ve learned not to mind: as long as they leave me alone. I guess their parents will be voting No.

I keep a mental map of my street and my suburb: houses that are safe, and houses that might not be safe. I cross the street to get away from homophobes so naturally you’d almost assume that the path from my house to the café was a wavy line. Whenever there are new tenants in the rental houses, I have to wonder anew: how much do they hate gays? I do my best to read the miscellaneous signs of homophobia: a Christian ichthys car-sticker, a gold cross worn around the neck, a frown, use of the word “fuckin’” in every sentence, festoons of sporting paraphernalia, a pet Pitbull terrier, the Australian flag used as a curtain, a Southern Cross tattoo.

It’s only a few blocks to the café. I pass the school for kids with moderate-to-severe intellectual disabilities. The kids with disabilities are always friendly to me — lovelier than the kids without disabilities — but I get away from them as quickly as possible in case their parents hate me, or think I’m a child-abuser because I’m a homosexual. I’m learning every day how many straights think it’s the same thing.

One of the disabled girls smiles and says hullo to me in a goofy enthusiastic voice. I smile and wave at her as I walk past. Next door there is a construction site, and I’m still smiling when I look at one of the male construction workers. He glares at me with a frown so hostile and terrifying that it takes my breath away. He’s not breaking eye contact. He looks like he’s about to punch me. I know what he’s thinking: Look away, faggot. I’m scared of him for a moment, so I’m glad there are plenty of witnesses around. I look down at the ground, cross the street, and walk as quickly as I can to the end of the block. If I had kept eye contact he might’ve taken it as a challenge. The faggot always has to look away first: that’s the straight rule. Well, one of many straight rules.

I try to talk to straight friends about those rules sometimes, and a few of the younger women really understand it, but many of the other straights correct me. They try to teach me that “Not all straights are like that,” and “it’s only one or two,” and “the vast majority are good people,” and “you never know what people have been through so you shouldn’t be so quick to judge.

I look down —I’m always looking down in deference to straight wisdom, which seems to be filling up my head the way the ocean is filling up with plastic — but I think to myself I’ve been on red-alert for 24 years of being out of the closet, and 24 years is not being too “quick to judge.” It’s being a fucking expert. What would you know about it?

I would never say that though. You don’t bite the hand that feeds you, even if it strikes you from time to time.

I’m lucky to have sympathetic straight friends. But they don’t know what it’s like, and some of them think that they do. Couldn’t they just not know? Do they have to pretend to be experts in my life?

I arrive at the café. I do a visual sweep of the other patrons, and they do a visual scan of me. I’m self-conscious: don’t walk like a girl, don’t stand like a girl, square your shoulders, frown, be a man.

There’s a woman with a pram and she is pulling a child away from me. I feel myself getting furious about it. I’m so angry about the Australian Christian Lobby relentlessly implying that homosexuals are child-abusers, and I want to scream right there in the café “I’m not a paedophile!” I feel like I’m on a sex-offenders register. I want to say, “I don’t even like twinks — how am I supposed to like kids?” but it would only make things worse.

And here’s this mother, and she’s pulling her child away from me, and it might be out of consideration for other people’s space, but something in the fearfulness of her face tells me it’s not. I frown at her for a moment, but then catch myself: what am I doing? I try to catch her eyes again so I can soften my look, and smile at her, and show her that I mean her no harm, but she is whispering to her child and is suddenly packing up in a hurry. I presume she’s leaving because of me. And the worst part is: maybe she is.

She’ll vote No.

Straights everywhere, voting No. I need to be nicer to them. More deferential. It’s how we’ll win. Supplication, fawning, obsequiousness.

I order a coffee from the straight barista, and sit between an older straight couple and a group of straight mothers. I’m the only gay here again. I look around, trying to find someone like me, and I see one outside: a man who might be gay — or maybe he’s just a hipster? No, he’s gay. He’s a sissy, too — somebody who is physically and identifiably gay, because he wears too much colour and talks like a girl. I feel a strange mix of admiration for him, but also fear that he’s going to implicate me, or “out” me. He catches my eye and doesn’t look away. I want to get away from him. I look down. I do another audit of my posture: am I sitting like a straight man?

I slouch and wipe my nose on the back of my arm. My nose isn’t running, but being gross is a reliable way for a man to seem straight. I spread my legs wide — at least as wide as my shoulders — because that shows that you’re straight and confident, because you’re forcing other people to get out of your way.

I decide I’m not going to look at him again.

I open my social media, and it’s all stories about the “Yes” campaign (Yes, homosexuals deserve equality) and the “No” campaign (No, homosexuals are dangerous to children). Straight people are sharing straight opinions about gay people. I click like on the nice ones. I write rebuttals to some of the bad ones — the ones that say we want to destroy straight families. Each rebuttal takes time and energy. When I look up, the other gay guy is long gone. Good.

Most of the people rebutting against conservatives are gay, but the straights like to watch us fight. They don’t intervene. The comments from other gays sound hurt, and angry, and unhinged. The conservatives sound reasonable, and comfortable, and optimistic about the pain we’re going through, like it’s an operation on us, for our health.

I look up from the bad news. The café is filling up with prams now. The girl children are dressed in pink, and the boy children are dressed in blue. It’s always women looking after them. Next to me, some straight mothers are talking about their silly husbands. I have a silly husband too, but I would never join in: I have no opinions about sport or baby showers, and besides, they’d only be scared of me, and pretend not to be, but I’d still see micro-expressions of contempt as they wonder whether gay men are all child-abusers. I feel infected.

I finish my coffee, and smile at another straight barista, a new one. I try to make it a gay smile so she can see that I’m gay — a feminine smile with a tilt of the head — but that turns her off me. I can see it. She must have thought I was straight for a moment, but she couldn’t hide her disgust at my effeminate smile. How will it be the next time she serves me? I try not to think about it. She will probably vote No.

I go home via the safest route, past all the straight couples and straight families with their straight children, buying straight products to decorate their straight houses, and buying straight food promoted with the faces of straight celebrities. Everywhere I go, none of the straight people even seem to know they’re straight. They just think they’re normal, and that I’m not.

Home. When the latch closes behind me, I find myself exhaling. Home feels safe.

Straight people have a saying: “I don’t care what you do in the privacy of your own home.” They mean that homosexuality needs to be quarantined. I’m back in the quarantine zone. They’re safe from me, and I’m safe from their fear of me.

And that is the story of me going for a cup of coffee in the morning.

Although this letter is written by Christopher May regarding the vote on same sex marriage to take place in Australia, and in America that is no longer an issue, I thought it was an excellent example of what gay people go through every single time they leave their homes. And wonder if straight people were strong enough to take the stress, strain and dehumanization it can bring.
 
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Dec 2012
21,193
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California
As a straight person, am I suppose to give a rats-ass about you daily drama? Straight people have more than enough on their plates. Worrying about your hurt feelings is NOT on my priority list.
 
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Dec 2006
26,829
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New Haven, CT
don't worry, caconservative, I've never been concerned about empathy, compassion or worrying about other people being the cause of your blood pressure raising.

you've always made it clear you're a self-serving, self-important, know-it-all, all-important, self-aggrandizing, arrogant and self-satisfied gloating glob of phlegm.
 
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Jun 2013
28,864
15,457
Ohio
don't worry, caconservative, I've never been concerned about empathy, compassion or worrying about other people being the cause of your blood pressure raising.

you've always made it clear you're a self-serving, self-important, know-it-all, all-important, self-aggrandizing, arrogant and self-satisfied gloating glob of phlegm.
I think hating every group other than his own is just his comfort zone.
 
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Dec 2012
21,193
8,621
California
Not worrying about Tristanrobin's homosexual problems is not being homophobic or racist, it's about not giving a rats-ass about your problems. There YOUR problems, you deal with them. I've got enough of my own.
 
Last edited:
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Dec 2006
26,829
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New Haven, CT
You horse's ass - you're too arrogant and have your head so far up your ass that you're not even aware that you're the CAUSE of my problems.

Jesus, what a fuck wad
 
Nov 2012
41,310
11,878
Lebanon, TN
Dear Straight Person,

I want to give you a simple example of what it’s like to be gay. But I’m not going to tell you what it’s like to have gay sex, or to go to a Pride March, or to wear drag, or any of those aspects of gay life you might consider exotic, and therefore representative, of our sexuality.

Instead, I want to use an everyday example that you and I are likely to have in common. I want to show you how deeply homophobia cuts into gay lives. So, I’m going to recount what it’s like for me to go out for a cup of coffee in the morning.

This won’t take long:

I wake up tired.

I’m depressed and exhausted lately from fighting against homophobia online. With the announcement of the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey, things have really escalated. It’s on every television station, on every social media network, every news site, every hour, every day. I stayed up late last night trying to win arguments against homophobic commentators. On the occasions when I thought I might be sounding strident, or when my attacker has been especially vindictive and popular, I tried instead to “jam their signal” with humour or irrelevancy. But it’s getting harder to stay positive.

My husband and I have been talking about marriage equality and homophobia almost every waking hour recently. It seems like we can’t use the internet without some straight person, hiding behind anonymity, suggesting that gay people are all — or mostly — child-abusers and bullies. We keep proving them wrong, but facts never seem to be enough. (Never bring a fact to a faith-fight.) I can’t block homophobes or they’ll say I’m stifling their free speech, their freedom as straight people to make false speeches about me. They hide behind pseudonyms and faceless profile images not because they feel oppressed as straights, but because they feel ashamed as homophobes. It’s getting harder every day to tell the supportive straights from the homophobes.

I kiss my husband good morning, find out how he slept, then I shower and choose an outfit. I want to get to the café before it’s full of straight people and their kids.

My wardrobe is full of straight looking clothes: clothes that protect me from being noticed and insulted. Clothes that reassure everyone else in my local community that I’m just like them. Clothes that protect me from allegations of attention-seeking: austere blues and greys, drab conformities. I remember Kristin Scott-Thomas in Angels and Insects asking, “Could it be that the drabness of the female might be protective?”

My drabness is protective. I’m dressing more and more straight, the longer the survey goes on.

I keep a conservative haircut. Hairstyles are important: they signal your sexuality over long distances. If you’re a man, it’s okay to have non-conformist hair only if you carry a woman around with you. If I had crazy hair and went anywhere in public with my husband, they’d say I was “rubbing everyone’s faces in it.” I didn’t figure out what “rubbing their faces in it” meant until I was about 35. It meant that my sexuality was shit, and I was rubbing other people’s faces in that shit. That’s what straight people think about my sexuality being visible. It’s like rubbing someone’s face in shit.

I check the mirror to make sure I look straight enough, then walk out my front door. It’s a beautiful day.

My husband and I live in a straight neighbourhood. When I’m feeling bitter, I call it a “breeder neighbourhood,” but mostly I feel safer near them than if I were to live in a gay enclave and not know what they thought of me. At least here I have my finger on the pulse of straight people. I can read whether things are getting worse or better. I flatter myself that I’ve avoided living in a gay bubble, even though it never occurs to me that I’m living in a straight one.

I try to be deferential to my straight neighbours. Straight people seem to like deferential behaviour from gays, and they especially like the kind of deference they don’t even notice. It makes them feel superior without any of the guilt that goes with superiority. You have to make them smile. Walking down my street, my main aim is to avoid the people who hate me, and to remind everyone that I’m harmless, quite harmless.

Most of my neighbours are friendly, and I’m not lying when I say I really like them — love some of them, even. Sure, there are a few houses where people never smile or look me in the eye. There’s one house where the kids haven’t looked me in the eye once in fifteen years. I don’t even know what their voices sound like. I suspect they hate me, but I’ve learned not to mind: as long as they leave me alone. I guess their parents will be voting No.

I keep a mental map of my street and my suburb: houses that are safe, and houses that might not be safe. I cross the street to get away from homophobes so naturally you’d almost assume that the path from my house to the café was a wavy line. Whenever there are new tenants in the rental houses, I have to wonder anew: how much do they hate gays? I do my best to read the miscellaneous signs of homophobia: a Christian ichthys car-sticker, a gold cross worn around the neck, a frown, use of the word “fuckin’” in every sentence, festoons of sporting paraphernalia, a pet Pitbull terrier, the Australian flag used as a curtain, a Southern Cross tattoo.

It’s only a few blocks to the café. I pass the school for kids with moderate-to-severe intellectual disabilities. The kids with disabilities are always friendly to me — lovelier than the kids without disabilities — but I get away from them as quickly as possible in case their parents hate me, or think I’m a child-abuser because I’m a homosexual. I’m learning every day how many straights think it’s the same thing.

One of the disabled girls smiles and says hullo to me in a goofy enthusiastic voice. I smile and wave at her as I walk past. Next door there is a construction site, and I’m still smiling when I look at one of the male construction workers. He glares at me with a frown so hostile and terrifying that it takes my breath away. He’s not breaking eye contact. He looks like he’s about to punch me. I know what he’s thinking: Look away, faggot. I’m scared of him for a moment, so I’m glad there are plenty of witnesses around. I look down at the ground, cross the street, and walk as quickly as I can to the end of the block. If I had kept eye contact he might’ve taken it as a challenge. The faggot always has to look away first: that’s the straight rule. Well, one of many straight rules.

I try to talk to straight friends about those rules sometimes, and a few of the younger women really understand it, but many of the other straights correct me. They try to teach me that “Not all straights are like that,” and “it’s only one or two,” and “the vast majority are good people,” and “you never know what people have been through so you shouldn’t be so quick to judge.

I look down —I’m always looking down in deference to straight wisdom, which seems to be filling up my head the way the ocean is filling up with plastic — but I think to myself I’ve been on red-alert for 24 years of being out of the closet, and 24 years is not being too “quick to judge.” It’s being a fucking expert. What would you know about it?

I would never say that though. You don’t bite the hand that feeds you, even if it strikes you from time to time.

I’m lucky to have sympathetic straight friends. But they don’t know what it’s like, and some of them think that they do. Couldn’t they just not know? Do they have to pretend to be experts in my life?

I arrive at the café. I do a visual sweep of the other patrons, and they do a visual scan of me. I’m self-conscious: don’t walk like a girl, don’t stand like a girl, square your shoulders, frown, be a man.

There’s a woman with a pram and she is pulling a child away from me. I feel myself getting furious about it. I’m so angry about the Australian Christian Lobby relentlessly implying that homosexuals are child-abusers, and I want to scream right there in the café “I’m not a paedophile!” I feel like I’m on a sex-offenders register. I want to say, “I don’t even like twinks — how am I supposed to like kids?” but it would only make things worse.

And here’s this mother, and she’s pulling her child away from me, and it might be out of consideration for other people’s space, but something in the fearfulness of her face tells me it’s not. I frown at her for a moment, but then catch myself: what am I doing? I try to catch her eyes again so I can soften my look, and smile at her, and show her that I mean her no harm, but she is whispering to her child and is suddenly packing up in a hurry. I presume she’s leaving because of me. And the worst part is: maybe she is.

She’ll vote No.

Straights everywhere, voting No. I need to be nicer to them. More deferential. It’s how we’ll win. Supplication, fawning, obsequiousness.

I order a coffee from the straight barista, and sit between an older straight couple and a group of straight mothers. I’m the only gay here again. I look around, trying to find someone like me, and I see one outside: a man who might be gay — or maybe he’s just a hipster? No, he’s gay. He’s a sissy, too — somebody who is physically and identifiably gay, because he wears too much colour and talks like a girl. I feel a strange mix of admiration for him, but also fear that he’s going to implicate me, or “out” me. He catches my eye and doesn’t look away. I want to get away from him. I look down. I do another audit of my posture: am I sitting like a straight man?

I slouch and wipe my nose on the back of my arm. My nose isn’t running, but being gross is a reliable way for a man to seem straight. I spread my legs wide — at least as wide as my shoulders — because that shows that you’re straight and confident, because you’re forcing other people to get out of your way.

I decide I’m not going to look at him again.

I open my social media, and it’s all stories about the “Yes” campaign (Yes, homosexuals deserve equality) and the “No” campaign (No, homosexuals are dangerous to children). Straight people are sharing straight opinions about gay people. I click like on the nice ones. I write rebuttals to some of the bad ones — the ones that say we want to destroy straight families. Each rebuttal takes time and energy. When I look up, the other gay guy is long gone. Good.

Most of the people rebutting against conservatives are gay, but the straights like to watch us fight. They don’t intervene. The comments from other gays sound hurt, and angry, and unhinged. The conservatives sound reasonable, and comfortable, and optimistic about the pain we’re going through, like it’s an operation on us, for our health.

I look up from the bad news. The café is filling up with prams now. The girl children are dressed in pink, and the boy children are dressed in blue. It’s always women looking after them. Next to me, some straight mothers are talking about their silly husbands. I have a silly husband too, but I would never join in: I have no opinions about sport or baby showers, and besides, they’d only be scared of me, and pretend not to be, but I’d still see micro-expressions of contempt as they wonder whether gay men are all child-abusers. I feel infected.

I finish my coffee, and smile at another straight barista, a new one. I try to make it a gay smile so she can see that I’m gay — a feminine smile with a tilt of the head — but that turns her off me. I can see it. She must have thought I was straight for a moment, but she couldn’t hide her disgust at my effeminate smile. How will it be the next time she serves me? I try not to think about it. She will probably vote No.

I go home via the safest route, past all the straight couples and straight families with their straight children, buying straight products to decorate their straight houses, and buying straight food promoted with the faces of straight celebrities. Everywhere I go, none of the straight people even seem to know they’re straight. They just think they’re normal, and that I’m not.

Home. When the latch closes behind me, I find myself exhaling. Home feels safe.

Straight people have a saying: “I don’t care what you do in the privacy of your own home.” They mean that homosexuality needs to be quarantined. I’m back in the quarantine zone. They’re safe from me, and I’m safe from their fear of me.

And that is the story of me going for a cup of coffee in the morning.

Although this letter is written by Christopher May regarding the vote on same sex marriage to take place in Australia, and in America that is no longer an issue, I thought it was an excellent example of what gay people go through every single time they leave their homes. And wonder if straight people were strong enough to take the stress, strain and dehumanization it can bring.
Now you know what it is like to be a Christian, you are judged at every turn, You are bashed at every corner, your houses of worship are Burned, you are called a "Phobic" just because you think something is wrong,

So welcome to the world of Christiand and Jews have suffered for centuries.
 
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Dec 2006
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New Haven, CT
A. I am not judged for being a Christian. Of course, I don't try to tell other people how to live their lives.

B. I grew up Jewish and am from a Jewish family. I have NEVER encountered the discrimination and bigotry as a Jew as I have as a gay person. NEVER. And unless you're a Jew or gay, don't tell me you know better than I do. Just let it go. You DON'T know.

C. Christians in this country are NOT bashed until they attempt to take over the nation, putting up their statues, symbols, and having their religious tenets codified into civil law. I'm a Christian convert - and nobody has ever bashed me for being Christian. NEVER.

However, I HAVE had Christians tell me I'm not good enough Christian and that their Christian God is bigger than my Christian God and that they know how I should live my life. The only Christian bashing I get is from CHRISTIANS.

edited to add: sanctimonious, holier than thou CHRISTIANS are the most judgmental and discriminatory people walking the earth.
 
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