Ever since I was young, I was a super inclusive person by nature. When I was in kindergarten, I was friends with any person who made me happy, not strictly someone who had the same color skin as me, or was also a straight, Jewish girl. As I grew up, I realized that many people in this world do not have the same perspective on life as me- which is obviously fine. However, it no longer is okay when people begin to feel oppressed by people they thought they could trust- or by anyone for that matter. What I’m trying to get to is this: I always thought that all people in this world felt that no matter one’s race, gender, religion, or sexuality, everyone deserves to be who they are and gain happiness through doing so.
The reason I bring this up is because of a recent article I read in my Women’s Studies class. I was very disturbed when reading Homophobia: Why Bring it Up? by Barbara Smith, which talked about the blind hatred and unnecessary oppression that people who are gay face. In this article, specific instances are mentioned that I found unbelievable, such as police brutality in a gay bar which usually attracts African American males of the working class. The article went on to mention the fact that not a single arrest was made, yet there was destruction to property, the register was emptied, and many patrons faced violence. I could not believe how many people turned a blind eye to this catastrophic event, simply because they only care about themselves (these people I’m mentioning are white, white-collar, heterosexual men- if that gives more of an explanation for the lack of sympathy).
I believe that there is a huge disconnect between heterosexual people in our society, who are among the majority, and people who are gay and therefore are oppressed. The article I mentioned before talked a lot about problems that people who are gay face, and how many misconceptions about them exist. I think that it is important for people to know about these misconceptions because I hope that it will help some ignorant people in our society better understand the facts about homosexuality, which is why I have listed some misconceptions from Homophobia: Why Bring it Up? Below.
Lesbian and gay men do not face oppression as intense or frequently as other minorities such as African Americans and
That the word gay does not mean women, african americans, working-class etc.
That being homosexual is a ‘white problem’ and that people of color and people from other groups do not face as much oppression for their homosexuality
The idea that homophobic slurs are okay to use as a put-down, and that referring to people as ‘gay’ or even a ‘faggot’ will not raise any criticism.
Overall, I hope that through this short anecdote, people will start changing their narrow-minded thoughts so that we can live in a world that can see people for who they are and be happy and excited for them. So many white, upper-class, heterosexual people are able to live their truth- and that is the least that every human being — white, black, asian, straight, gay, trans, woman, man, jewish, catholic — deserves.