Hey, gidday mates. I was having a text conversation with a couple of red-blooded, macho male friends yesterday when they started teasing me about being gay. “You are gay though, right? That whole relationship thing with you and Jenny is just for work, right?” I lost my temper and what was a light chat turned dark pretty quickly after I lashed out. I overreacted. I said a couple of things I’m not proud of. In the moment, it was hard to see straight. With 24 hours under my belt, I know that it triggered a deep-seated nerve. When it’s hysterical it’s historical.
In New Zealand last month I was sitting around watching TV with some people whose opinions I care about deeply, when one man said, “Oh that comedian must be gay.” He was referring to an English guy whose brand of comedy involves dressing in women’s clothing and acting in a camp, flamboyant manner. I got angry then, too. I argued and fought and gave examples of women this guy has dated, to the point where I took it too far. Once again, it triggered something. When it’s hysterical it’s historical.
Back in high school I was always getting bullied about being gay. I was a skinny little dude with a high pitched voice, a sensitive heart, a predilection for hanging out with girls over guys, and a job at the local hairdressing salon. Clearly I didn’t fit into the heteronormative box that was so important for teenagers in Christchurch, New Zealand, circa 1998.
Later in life, I started my blog and decided to write about fashion for a living. Once again came the questions. “You’re gay, right?”
That’s the trigger.
The thing is, I don’t want to get upset when people call me or other people gay. Me getting upset implies that being gay is something bad or wrong or to be ashamed of, and it’s not. I love gay people. I support them 100%.
And don’t get me wrong, I love not being a typical in-the-box hetero dude.
But because I have that historical feeling of hurt whenever the subject gets brought up, I immediately get on the defensive, and for me, the best defense is a good offense, so I attack. And I hate that.
It just goes to show that pain runs deep. Stuff that went on in high school almost 20 years ago can still bring me to tears to this day. I’ve been in therapy for years, I’ve done a hell of a lot of personal work to try and get over stupid crap that went on when I was a 14 year old boy growing up in a conservative town, and one text message can still send me over the edge.
The moral of the story is that words hurt. What we say to people impacts their lives. Hurt people hurt people. And if it’s hysterical, it’s historical.
Education and acceptance and tolerance and love are crucial to societal progress.
Otherwise we’re just a bunch of kids on a playground opening fresh wounds all over the show. And as we’ve seen in America over the last 12 months, division and fighting get us NOWHERE fast.
And that’s all I’ve got to say about that.
I LIKE YOU!