Projection gets in the way.

A growing number of straights are including vows of solidarity with gays in their marriage vows. Some gays are offended by this.

One of the largest mistakes that the feminist movement made was to reject gestures of solidarity from men.

Solidarity and support comes in many forms. And so does bad manners. The small gestures would have been called “Consciousness Raising” back when I was a teenager in the 1960s. Every bit of consciousness raising that can be offered should not, in my opinion, be rejected.

Before I accepted my own twisted sexuality, I liked talking to gay guys. For one thing, I could trust them not to hit on me. Then one of them labeled me a ‘fag-hag” and guess what came of that? I stopped talking to gay males. A year later, I had an English class with a conspicuously effeminate gay male. He sat down next to me and I got up and moved away from him. Jamie assumed I was homophobic until a month later when I punched a football player in the face to make him let go of Jamie. Rescuing Jamie was probably one of the best things I did in High School. We had a long talk about the ‘fag-hag’ label that Lonnie Kincannon had slapped me with the previous year.

Jamie helped me get over my feelings of being rejected by the gay community. I spent nearly every lunch period with Jamie talking about science fiction and fantasy. He was very well read and one of the few who knew the genre as well as I did.

Ten years later, as I was coming to grips with my own bi-sexuality, I ran into that ‘fag-hag’ label again and the bigotry of it made my stomach clench up. This time it was not directed at me and it came from a pair of lesbians.

Jean had agreed to ghost write a book on gay graduates of Harvard Business School. She handed me the marked up transcripts of the book to enter into the computer so that the interviews could be turned into chapters. Within those transcripts were page after page of this pair joking and complaining with other gays about the ‘fag-hags.’

I was appalled. In all of my life I have steadfastly refused to have or accept a double standard of behavior.

Bigotry, whether it comes from a member of a minority group or a majority group, has no place in a world that seeks true equality. Allowing any single person to get away with bigotry serves only to create an exchange of oppressors, not an absence of them.

Bigotry is part and parcel to a refusal to accept or a denigration of those small gestures. Not everyone can make large ones. But every little bit of solidarity, when assembled together, can make for a larger package. Because it is not possible to see into the hearts of others, it is not possible to know how deep or shallow those gestures are.

It is better to accept them all, in case you might be rejecting an ally; than to reject them all because you might be accepting an person who does not truly mean their words.

If I had not been able to rise above my reaction to the slurs that Lonnie, a gay man, had tossed in my face, Jamie would have been severely beaten up by that pair of football players. Granted, I had the element of surprise in my favor and I knew how to fight, but still two large males…. I know what might have happened, but I didn’t stop to think.