I would like to tell you about something I believe should not be ignored - Homophobia. Even in 2018, it is still a big problem. When I first decided I would make this blog, I wanted to write about all the good things about being gay, and how it is okay to be who we are and love who we love. I wanted to show the world that being gay is not something to be ashamed of. I still want to portray this message, but I also think it's important for people to know that there are still homophobic people out there. We still have to fight for our rights. We can't give up, because it is far from over.
Today, August 9th, 2018, I came face to face with modern homophobia in a Tim Hortons. I am fine now, but I want to share the story of the hatred I received so that you may know that these things still happen.
The day started off great. It was the first day of Montreal Pride and my boss had given me a day off for the Pride parade next weekend and for the Pride show the day before that, my coworkers and I bonded over some Todrick Hall songs, and I bought myself some nice clothes. After some shopping, I decided to go have supper and a coffee at Tim Hortons where I could sit peacefully and finish the book I was reading (Annie on my Mind for those of you who are curious).
As I was reading the last part of the book, a lady walked up to my table, cleared her throat and said, rather loud and rudely: “Could you not!?” I looked up at her, confused, and asked what I was doing that was bothering her. She then proceeded to tell me that there were children in the room and that I shouldn't be “showing off” that I'm gay, pointing at the buttons on my bag and my apparently obviously gay book. Angry, I got up and said that I wasn't doing anything wrong. I was simply sitting there enjoying my iced cappuccino and my book before she had interrupted me. Then, another lady (who was at the table next to mine) got up and handed me a scrap of paper with a number which she said could help me with my situation. I pocketed the number, thinking nothing of it at that moment. During this time, the woman who had first come up to me had picked up my book and was bringing it to the trash. I ran up to her, asking her what the hell she thought she was doing. She pulled out a bible, tried to hand it to me, and told me it was a much “healthier read”. I knocked the bible out of the way to try to grab my book, but she dropped it into the trash. (It must have been in something wet because now my book is all wrinkly and ripped.) I grabbed my book and told her she had no right to touch my stuff. She retorted that I had no right to show off my “condition".
I almost punched her right there and then, but one of the employees got in between us and told me I'd better go out and take a breather. Basically, he kicked me out. A part of me is glad he did because I might have regretted what I would have done otherwise. However, I don't understand why I was the one who had to leave when she was the one who was being rude.
I grabbed my things, went to my car, and drove to a parking lot a bit further to give myself time to calm down. I was so angry and hurt that I was in no state to drive. I then remembered the paper that the second lady had given me. When I looked the number up, I found it was for a conversion camp to “cure” gay people. I ripped the paper and threw it out. I wrote to my best friend, who answered my cry for help, and I'm quite thankful and grateful for her. Now, I'm home safe writing this post.
Don’t get me wrong, despite everything, I still had it good. Everyday, there are people who get shot for being gay and, in Chechnya, there are gay concentration camps. In 2017, the people organising these camps captured approximately 200 gay men and killed around 26. We still have a long way to go before we can say that gay people are accepted. It’s true that things are better in certain countries, but we still have so much work to do. We have it good in Canada, but even in our mostly accepting country, hate still lives.
Being gay is not something to be ashamed of. I am a proud bisexual woman, but bad things happen and there are bad people out there. So, be proud of who you are and don't let these people win. Ignore them and keep being yourself, even if it can be hard to let go of this kind of hate.
I hope that this has never and will never happen to any of you.
P.S. Sorry it took me so long to get this post up. Every time I would try to write and/or read it, I would get all worked up, and then I'd have to put it aside for a few days. So, once again, I’m sorry for the wait.