Saturday, January 21, 2012

"You're such a homo."

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.


  1. I'm terribly sorry that things like that were said. :(

    Your post reminds me of the song 'when I was a boy' by Dar Williams:

    1. Thanks for your kind words, and thank you for sharing!

  2. What I have come to realize is that within my little make believe straight world (that's the world where everyone I know thinks I am straight) I can stand up against an ignorant comment against homosexuality. I used to be very self conscious that saying anything would expose me, now I stand up and offer my opinion. My perception is that they think I am a sensitive straight guy making a point. I don't judge your decision to be quiet but I also wonder if we over think things sometimes.

    1. Oh, we definitely overthink things sometimes. I used to never, ever say anything at ANY Shabbos table (or any situation in which homophobic comments were made). I do now, but this past Shabbos was one of those rare situations where it would have been jeopardizing for me to say something. But in the usual case, yes, I do agree with you, and yes, I do say something.

  3. Oh, wow. That is something that would make my blood boil, but I probably wouldn't say anything anyway.
    I don't have a problem buying pink for my sons. I teach them there is no such thing as girl or boy colors or toys, and they should only care about what they like. Because of society, and because I really don't like the color, I don't usually buy them clothes with a lot of pink on it, but pink accents is okay. They choose their own school supplies and there is often pink in there somewhere.

    As for pajamas, nobody sees them, so I just buy whatever is on sale. Sometimes my boys were still in pajamas when my daughter's therapists came to our house. On this one occasion, my 6 year old was wearing pink pajamas. The therapist said, "Why's he wearing pink? He's a boy, mommy!"


    I was going to tell her- so what? What about him being a boy dictates that he cannot utilize the color pink? Pink isn't a girls' color! That is ridiculous! But all I actually did was mumble, "It's just pajamas." Sigh.

    That line about going pink and not soft makes me wanna dowse the originator of the phrase in some of that pink lemonade. Gr.

    (P.S. - I am not able to comment with just a name/URL. Can you activate that option? Because I don't want my family blog to be linked to everything I say. :) I have another blog that I'd associate with comments such as these.)