Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Gay Guy in Seminary Day 093 (Rainbows)

I can't believe I'm doing a reprint, but I started wearing a rainbow bracelet again (see right), and it reminded me of the one I used to wear that I lost shortly before moving up here. Plus, if Mark Rosewater (a writer for Magic: The Gathering, yes I realize that was a geeky thing to write, but it makes me laugh) can do reprints, then so can I!

Of course, thinking of that bracelet reminded me of how it came to be. I'm not going to tell the whole story now; I'll tell the rest of it tomorrow. Besides, I still have homework to do before I can go to bed, as always. So, this is a reprint from November of last year. It was a pretty upsetting day for me, but we all have those, right? If you wanna know how the following story has anything to do with bracelets, then you'll have to come back tomorrow ;-p

November 15, 2008

Based on my reaction to today’s events, I might have to admit that I’ve lived a pretty sheltered life. I’m not completely na├»ve of the world around me; it’s just that people in California tend to be very accepting, so being a little different is not really going to grab anyone’s attention.

People in Kentucky…no offense to anyone reading this…are not quite so “tolerant.”

I was speaking with a woman on the phone today, trying to explain her husband’s insurance to her. I kept telling her that she needed to call her insurance company to update their records, but she refused to believe me. I finally got a little more firm with her and said that there was nothing that we could do; she was the only one that could fix the problem. She responded extremely sarcastically, “Okay!” and I heard her say “gay guy!” as she hung up on me…

No big deal right? I was telling people about it immediately after, everyone within earshot in fact, and they reacted pretty much the same way I did: shock. I’ll admit, it was kind of funny at first for the simple fact that it was so unbelievable that someone would do that.

I went around the office telling different people, getting basically the same reaction, shock, nervous laughter, people offering to call her up and yell at her or crank call her all night long or asking if I wanted them to kill her…which I didn’t want just so we’re all on the same page…

I eventually made my way back to my desk and someone asked if I was okay. I realized I was not.

I could feel the tears bubbling up inside of me so I quickly went out to the hallway where I had a good cry while a co-worker told me how I was a bigger person than that woman and how I can’t let something like that get to me and how she was only telling me things I would tell her if she was in my situation and how I’m too good of a person to let these things get me down and so on and so forth. Thank God, I am surrounded by rational and caring people.

I eventually got back into the office, but that co-worker who had been helping me deal with the situation went to tell the COO what had happened. He called me in to talk with him, so I ended up crying in front of the COO, which wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, but not really a situation I ever thought I would be in. He was very understanding and took steps to ensure that no one in the office would ever have to deal with that woman again.

What that woman said to me haunted me for the rest of the day. My head felt like it was vibrating and I kind of felt like I needed to throw up. Mostly I just felt drained…I think I was depressed. Throughout the whole ordeal, the rational part of my mind was trying to figure out what exactly was going on. It took a while to figure out why those three words had such a strong impact on me. I remember telling my co-worker that it was like the woman had stabbed me with a psychic knife.

What that woman had managed to do was take an essential part of my being and use it as a slur in order to completely dismiss me a person. She took this part of me that I had no choice over and could never change even if I wanted to and turned it not necessarily into something bad, but something that was less. Because I had this “thing” as part of my makeup, I was not worth listening to and was of lower status and could never overcome this fatal flaw.

And it broke me.

No one had ever spoken to me the way that she had. She ripped me out of my reality and thrust me into a fog of bigotry and ignorance. I’m sure for some people this story will seem silly. All she called me was “gay” right? She didn’t even use one of the more offensive terms traditionally used in order to really dig at someone. What’s the big deal?

It was the way that she said it. It was what she meant by it. She wasn’t calling me a homosexual at that moment. She was calling me an over-emotional second-class citizen. She didn’t say it to hurt me; she said it to win. That’s how little she thinks of me. At that that moment, I wasn’t even human to her. And, she probably won’t even call her insurance.

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