I've been present at some pretty uncomfortable (for me) Shabbos tables before. Shabbos tables where people have said some pretty ignorant things about homosexuality. Shabbos tables where people forget to think before they speak. But today was the worst of all.
Today I sat at a Shabbos table where the words "gay" and "homo" were used derogatorily multiple times. Because if a boy writes "xoxo" in a text message, he MUST be gay and we should make fun of him for that. Because if a boy goes to a steak restaurant and orders a vegetable dish, he MUST be gay- why else wouldn't he order a nice, manly steak? Because if a boy likes a Lady Gaga song, he MUST be a homo- clearly there is no other explanation for such a crazy, outrageous statement.
During this meal, Mike's Hard Lemonade was served. Mike's now makes pink lemonade as well. On the six-pack, it says, "We've gone pink, not soft." When I first saw that last night, I was upset. Annoyed. Did they really have to do that to keep their customers? Do we really need to live in a world where there needs to be a disclaimer against a "girly" colored drink?
Apparently the answer is yes. When both flavors of Mike's were put on the table today, one of the boys said, in reference to the color, "Can I still drink this?" and another boy said, "Is this for girls?" Obviously not seriously, obviously as a joke- right?
So here's the deal. Boys can drink hard pink lemonade and girls can drink scotch. Boys can order salads and girls can order steaks. Your gender and your sexuality don't matter- just be yourself and like what you like.
I'm a gay woman who likes salad and steak. My favorite color, depending on the day, is either blue or black. If I'm getting a drink, I get what I'm in the mood for- not what I think a girl should get. Sometimes I love putting on makeup, and sometimes I don't put on makeup for days because it can be annoying. And no, I don't wear flannel.
Stereotypes and societal expectations can be destructive, and so can the degrading use of words that give in to these expectations. My biggest upset today was the feeling of shame that swept through me when I decided that, despite desperately wanting to, I couldn't say anything to these boys because I was scared of bringing attention to myself that I couldn't afford. Instead of standing up for myself and my community, I hid in my neat little closet, because there was nothing else I could do.
Here's to a world where girls can play with trucks and boys can go to musicals without the raising of any eyebrows whatsoever.
Saturday, January 21, 2012
Sunday, January 1, 2012
There isn't one word that I can find in the English language- or any language, I don't think- that I can use to describe this past year. Scary. Eventful. Exciting. Sad. Liberating.
This past year, the following happened: After a year and a half of fighting with denial, I was finally able to admit to myself that I had feelings for someone of the same gender. I came out, for the first time, as bisexual, to the person who would eventually become my best friend. I came out to close friends, something I never imagined I would be able to do. I joined JQY. I went through a period of confusion in which I decided to take myself out of any category- straight, bisexual, pansexual, homosexual, queer, etc.- to figure out what my sexual orientation is. I was finally able to fully accept that I am gay. I came out to my friends, again. I came out to some of my family. After three years of complete lack of religious growth or development, I took my relationship with God into my own hands and began to figure out where I stand with Him. I became more honest with myself- not just about sexuality and religion, but about so much more.
I started off this year in the worst possible way, and ended it more content than I've ever been in my life. And I know that this happened because after listing everything that happened this past year, I know the one thing that has gotten me to this point-
Learning to be myself.