Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Queerly The Same

The President of the United States came out in support of gay marriage today. He is the first president to openly support gay marriage. This will cause a stir in the right wing community because it is in complete opposition to their conservative views. Most people cite the bible when they discriminate, and revile gay people. Jesus never said anything against homosexuals. Gay people are bashed daily all over America.

When I was a teenager I had a bunch of male friends who took delight in baiting gay people. One of the guys was a 112 pound weakling who looked like a twelve year old boy. They used him to lure gay men away from town   to some isolated location and then beat them and robbed them. They would laugh about all the queers they rolled. I thought they were being very cruel. I didn't think it was right to beat and steal from people, no matter who they were. 

One of my friends who was involved was also rumored to be an illegitimate son of a local judge. He liked bragging about the judge being a friend of his. He said  he told the judge about him and his friends rolling queers and the judge thought it was funny. I couldn't believe anyone, much less a judge, would condone such behavior. Even though I didn't believe in or understand what being gay was, I knew it was wrong to attack people for being different.

I never realized I knew any gay people until after we graduated from high school. One girl seemed a little weird but she also chased boys so I just thought she was strange, not necessarily gay. Back in the day we didn't even call people gay. We called them queer. I found out a couple of our good friends and classmates were gay long after we got out of school. I was surprised but it didn't change my views about them. They were nice kids and, I figured, they were nice adults. Everyone seemed to like them so I don't think that changed just because of their sexual orientation.

I never understood gay people and couldn't figure out what they did with each other. It was a totally foreign field for me.

Years after I got out of school I read an article in the Dalton paper about the DOT shutting down a rest stop on the interstate because of homosexual activity. It is still shut today. I was shocked. Honestly, I figured there was only a handful of queers in our town. I couldn't understand how they even knew there was a meeting place to connect and why the heck they chose to meet at a rest area in the first place. They must have a better network than I realized.

The first person I met who was openly gay was the sister of my boyfriend. When I first saw her, I wondered if she was a boy or a girl. She was very masculine. After I got to know her, I found out she was very smart and funny. She would lecture me about how women (like me) would stab each other in the back, but men wouldn't do the same thing. She was right. 

A woman will break her neck to get to and tell someone about another woman cheating on a man, but men will deny, deny, deny any knowledge of another man cheating on a woman, even if they don't like the other guy. I wonder why that is. No, I don't. Women are jealous and catty and enjoy taking down other women. They especially enjoy gossiping about other women and sympathizing with their man if they think they have a chance of hooking up with him.

My friend, Carrie, had a girlfriend she lived with. Her friend was a schoolteacher. She taught elementary school children in the Dalton school system. I got to know them both pretty well. For some reason I have an ability to rub people the wrong way. Claudia was no exception. She never did like me. I think she thought I was a threat to Carrie's and her relationship but I was so enamored with Carrie's brother that it was obvious I was a heterosexual. 

Claudia was a loose cannon and one day she got so angry she committed suicide in front of Carrie. That is when I began to realize the differences between married heterosexual couples and non-married gay couples.

Carrie and Claudia owned lots of property together but when Claudia killed herself Carrie wasn't entitled to anything. Claudia's family got everything that had been hers and Carrie had to sell things they owned together to give half of the money to Claudia's family. Carrie wasn't even allowed to make the funeral arrangements.

Claudia's family dressed her in a dowdy old woman's dress that Claudia wouldn't have been caught dead in, except she was, because the family wanted to make a spectacle of her in her death. They joined together and wanted to make Carrie feel unwelcome at Claudia's funeral. Fortunately for Carrie, her family banned together and they all went to the funeral in South Carolina. I rode in the convoy. We were trying to cheer Carrie up and show her our support. Because of that, nobody in Claudia's family said anything hateful to Carrie.

Claudia's brother lived in Rome Georgia. Carrie and her brother and I went to Claudia's brother's house to return Claudia's personal belongings. That was an eye opener. Even though he was married and lived with his wife, he was as queer and sissified as a three dollar bill. His hateful attitude towards Carrie was hypocritical in light of the obvious fact that he was a homosexual, too. He may have blamed Carrie because Claudia committed suicide but, as God is my witness, Claudia had a violent temper and was volatile. She had threatened me several times, until Carrie stepped in and made her leave me alone. 

One time I was riding around with Carrie and Claudia when Claudia decided she was too drunk and needed to get out and walk. We were in the middle of nowhere at night and she was walking along the side of the road. Carrie was following her slowly in the car. I was sitting in the backseat wondering when the heck I could get home and away from their drama.

A cop car pulled up behind us and put on his lights. Carrie stopped the car and waited on the officer to approach the car. She explained that Claudia was a little sick and was walking to get some fresh air before he came along. He surmised that Claudia was drunk. He asked if Carrie had been drinking anything and she answered truthfully that she had been. He asked me if I had been drinking and I said no. He told me to drive them both home. 

Claudia got back in the car and Carrie told me how to get onto the interstate and head back towards home. I used to get turned around and lost everywhere I went unless I was used to the area. After the police car disappeared out of sight Claudia started threatening me and telling me to stop her car. She was going to dump me and Carrie on the side of the interstate. I begged her to just let me get to the next exit so I could at least find my way home. She finally relented and we made it to the Rocky Face exit.

Claudia drove off, leaving Carrie and me at a gas station. Carrie started walking down Shughart road and I used the phone at the gas station to call someone to come get me. Before I could get hold of anyone Carrie's younger brother showed up at Racetrack to get gas. I told him what had happened and he offered to take me home. We picked Carrie up as we headed home. Carrie was living in Marietta at the time so her brother took her home.

After Claudia committed suicide Carrie's brother asked me to watch out for Carrie because he was afraid she might hurt herself, too. We got to know each other pretty well and we realized we had a lot in common. Even though she was gay and I was not, we got along just fine. She asked me one time what I would do if she made a pass at me and I laughed and said I guess I'd have to knock the crap out of her if she did. She laughed and never did say anything else about it.

What I am really trying to say is that we are all really the same. Gay people are no different than straight people. They find us as gross as straight people find gay people. They told me that it was nauseating to watch heterosexual people making out. I can understand that. I think anyone, straight, gay, or anything else looks disgusting when they are making out.

Gay people shouldn't be judged for their sexual preference any more than black people should be judged for their skin color, or white people for the color of their eyes. 

The most heartbreaking thing I learned from Carrie's and Claudia's relationship is that when you are gay you have no rights. When your significant other is ill in the hospital, gay people are banned because they are not considered family. Gay people have no support system or any recourse when decisions have to be made for their loved one. Gay people have no rights when it comes to property, or any other legal matters. Gay people are considered non-entities when they are in a committed long term relationship. Somehow that doesn't seem fair to me.

Gay people aren't going to hurt heterosexual people but heterosexual people will willingly hurt gay people. They are not less than anyone. My friend Carrie went to college and worked for Lockheed on a work education program to become an engineer. Gay people are just as smart, and just as ambitious as straight people. They deserve the same respect.


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