I am not out to offend anyone out there, gay straight or otherwise….I am just asking that we all treat everyone else with dignity and respect, despite our differing views on this (or any) topic. I am not asking homophobes to embrace their gay brethren, or support gay marriage. I am not asking my gay friends to start eating at Chick Fil A again. I am just asking everyone to please be kind to others, and understand there are more perspectives out there than your own.
Don’t go get your knickers in a twist about it, but this is National Pride Month. In case you’ve been living in seclusion for the last 30 or so years, Pride Month is a month-long string of events celebrated by the Gay Community to remind people that they “are here, and queer…Get over it!”, as they continue to seek equality and recognition as actual human beings.
I have many friends who are gay. For me, Pride Week is a time for me to stand out in front of them, shaking my little fist in the air, and shouting to the haters and the bullies “you’ll have to come through me first!! Yeah, that’s right. Bring it, BITCHES! I’m not es-scared of you! I’ve got a tattoo!”
And although I am not gay, I do have a closet to come out of. “My name is Christine, and I used to be a homophobe.”
Okay, not really. What I WAS was ignorant.
You see, when I was growing up, Gays only existed in movies and on MTV. They were male pop stars with big hair, hot pink spandex pants and platform boots….They were never actual real-live people. That I actually knew.
And Lesbians? Pffft. No such thing. What of the girls that I went to high school with that wore mullets and no makeup? Bless their hearts—they had bad hairdressers and couldn’t afford lipstick. I went to a Catholic school. Catholics schools didn’t have gays, Silly.
One night in eleventh grade, I was riding around with a friend of mine. We didn’t hang out often, but when we did we always had fun. I always just loved him to bits. He was always smiling, a big bright smile and twinkly eyes. He had an identical twin brother, but you could always tell them apart by which one was smiling. He was always happy and gay. By gay, I mean happy.
So anyway, we were cruising in my car, up and down the main drag—the only thing that teenagers could do in my small southern city on a Saturday night— and he says to me, sort of out of the blue “what do you think about gay people?”
What came out of my mouth next was, to this day, the single thing that I regret most in my 45 years. Something along the lines of “kill ‘em all and let God sort ‘em out”….It was a joke, of course, and something I heard in various iterations growing up…Usually about communists, and Yankees, for example. The words were barely past my tongue when the regret set in. I am not a hateful person, and immediately felt guilty for saying it. I didn’t feel the need to apologize to my friend for having said it, however, since gay people didn’t really exist.
After that night, my friend and I hung out much less, and eventually lost touch. I didn’t think much of it at first, until a long time had passed without speaking to him. Years later, I found out he was more than just happy gay. He was gay gay. And he wasn’t even in a New Wave band…. WHAT THE????
I remember very vividly when I found out. Because the very next thought that popped in my head was the memory of what I had said to him that night…Followed by an awareness that if I hadn’t said what I did, he would have probably “come out” to me that night, and we would have become even better friends. Instead, I effectively killed a friendship.
And just in case you’re wondering, I am not in any sort of twelve step program where I have to make amends for past wrongs. That event has haunted me for 29 years.
This is my formal apology to the Universe
The whole bizarre irony is that within a few months of that evening, I would have another, even closer friend that I knew to be gay from very early on in our friendship. And I loved him like the little brother I never had. When someone else told me that “Little Brother” was gay, I was like “What? But he’s preppie…He’s not running around looking like Iggy Pop. That’s weird…”
And that was it. My Big Epiphany. Gay existed outside of MTV. No lightning bolts struck anyone dead. The Earth continued to turn on its axis. And most importantly, Adam Ant would still be making albums—praise God. Everything was still right with my world.
It was just a complete non-event. In fact, Little Brother was my prom date. He and his friends did my hair and makeup. BONUS points! And because he was devilishly handsome, I got to have a lot of fun watching other girls getting really silly flirting with him. Falling at his feet even, and not even realizing they were barking up SUCH the wrong tree. In college, he had the distinct pleasure of seeing me at my absolute party-fouling worst, and yet, I feel certain I could still run for public office without that intel hitting the cover of the New York Times.
Also in college, I met who would become my life-long bestie…..I was President of the College Republicans, and from the moment he joined we were fast friends. In fact, for a while, I was determined that I would marry him one day. Inexplicably, despite my obvious charm, our shared love of trash can punch, and a mutual penchant for fine Italian footwear, he did not seem to share my plans for marital bliss.
By this time in my life, at the ripe old age of 20, a person’s sexual orientation meant no more to me than their hair color or their favorite food. It was ironic, then, that I didn’t know for over a year that my new BFF was batting for the other team. I didn’t know because he had not yet “made his formal debut” in that regard.
What this would later teach me was that it is a very vulnerable and scary position for a gay person to be in, that they cannot even come out to their best friend. Which only made the memory of that moment a few years earlier even worse…How I had, in a moment when my friend was opening himself up in the most vulnerable of ways, let him down.
When my BFF finally came out to me, a whole new world opened up. I was allowed inside the inner-sanctum of the gay community. I was a trusted friend and ally. Apparently, this earned me the esteemed, yet common, title of Fag Hag. I am not sure who that is supposed to offend—the Fag or the Hag, but I enjoyed the title just the same.
I am glad to say that he is still, and always will be, my lifelong bestie–even though he ran away from home and lives in Australia. I am also glad to say that he found a partner that I love just as much as I love him.
In the 28 years since “The Big Epiphany”, I have learned a lot about myself, my gay friends, and life in general:
- Gays exist outside of MTV and Hollywood. I know it’s hard to believe, but it’s true.
- People don’t CHOOSE to be gay any more than they choose their eye color, their ethnicity, or their genetic makeup. If you are going to pick on someone, pick on someone for something they can help—like being an a**hole or a Democrat. There’s no sense in that BS.
- They LOOK just like you and me. Gay men may be masculine or feminine. So may straight men be. This is also true of lesbians. Your third grade teacher was right when she taught you not to judge a book by its cover. Instead of asking “isn’t he gay?”, try asking the much more important question–“how does he treat people?”
- They ARE just like you and me. Gay people are Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and every other faith in the world. They are doctors, bankers, lawyers, chefs, bus drivers and Navy Seals. There are gay Democrats, gay Libertarians, and gay Republicans (surprise, surprise, surprise—more of my gay friends are Republican than anything else). There are gay communists, gay Marxists, and gay socialists. They may be tall, short, fat, skinny, hairy, or bald as a billiard ball. They are white, black, brown, and any other color that people come in.
- You know gay people, whether or not you are aware you do. One in ten Americans identifies as a homosexual. And you didn’t really think they all live in San Francisco and Greenwich Village, did you? They are all brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, friends and often parents, to someone. From a simple mathematics perspective, you should know several. Math doesn’t lie.
- No, they are not all checking you out. Get over your bad self.
- Gaydar is a thing.
- Be kind to everyone, all the time. Because you never know who’s listening when you judge and condemn others, and whose heart you may be breaking. Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion, but leave the judging to God, and the condemning to courts of law. Like Flower said in the movie, Bambi, “if you can’t say somethin’ nice, don’t say anything at all…” And do you know what? Once you let all of that negative energy go, and just accept people for who they are, you will be a much happier person. It just doesn’t feel good to harbor negativity.
- Everyone should see the following three movies at least once: “To Wong Fu, Thanks For Everything. Julie Newmar” (because you haven’t lived until you’ve seen Patrick Swayze, John Leguizamo, and Wesley Snipes in drag); “Connie and Carla” (because women pretending to be men pretending to be women is funny) and “The Birdcage” (to help you understand the hurt we cause when we ask people to pretend to be someone they aren’t).
- And lastly……….If you come looking for a fight with MY gays, you will have to come through me first. NO credible belief system encourages hate. Your argument is invalid. (Suck it, Westboro Baptist Church?)
I love you BITCHES!!!
Okay, let’s face it. This post was mostly about my support for my gay friends. I hope you aren’t looking for any life changing recipes this time around, but here are few fun little gems, because, you know, it’s how I roll.
- 24 cupcakes, your choice of flavor
- 4 cups light blue buttercream frosting
- 2 cups white buttercream frosting
- 12 rainbow sour belts, halved cross-wise
Frost the cupcakes with blue frosting. Stick one piece of rainbow sour belt into the top of each one, like a rainbow. Pipe white frosting around the base of the rainbow, to resemble clouds.
Queens LOVE drama and art! If you need more of each on your dessert table, try these. Queen Cakes are like pound-cake cupcakes where you have under-filled the baking cups, and then topped them with various toppings. You can go as simple or as over the top as you wish with the topping and décor.
- 9 tablespoons salted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 eggs, room temp
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoons flavor extract (vanilla, almond, and Fiori di Sicilia are good choices)
- 3 tablespoons milk, room temp
Preheat oven to 400*
Line two 12 hole muffin tins with paper liners.
Place all ingredients except for the milk in the food processor. Whizz until smooth. With the blade running, slowly add milk through the tube until all is incorporated.
Divide between 24 muffin cups. It will be a small amount of batter—just under a tablespoon. Bake for 10-12 minutes, just until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Allow to cool for ten minutes, and then remove the cakes from the pan to cool completely. Top with frosting, royal icing, Nutella, sweetened cream cheese, or other spread of choice.
Decorate with any combination of your favorite toppings: chopped nuts, sprinkles, small candies, chocolate chips, dried or candied fruits, cherries, candied citrus peels. Make it really sing with edible glitter, disco dust, cotton candy wisps, or spun sugar.
In Australia, there is a popular treat known as Fairy Bread, or Fairy Toast. It consists of white bread, with the crusts cut off. Spread with butter, cut into halves or triangles, and sprinkle with colored sugar, sprinkles, or nonpareils.
–toast the bread before spreading
–spread with Nutella, cream cheese, peanut butter or Biscoff instead of butter
–cut out shapes with cookie cutters instead of cutting into triangles
Now be nice to eachother!