Sunday, August 5, 2012

Your friend, the Gay

I was trying really hard to not post here about the Chick-fil-a thing, because I will just get ranty and I didn't think I had anything to add, and also because I've been posting the hell out of my Facebook about it, but this morning someone I respect, who I thought I was close to, had a picture of a chicken sandwich captioned by "Free speech never tasted so good!" in her Facebook feed and I hit the limit of my temper.

First I defriended her, and then I left this as my facebook status:

[Joel] thought he was going to make it through the Chick-fil-a debacle without defriending people, but apparently this was not to be.

In case I was somehow horribly unclear earlier in the week, let me reiterate: This is not a free speech issue. The guy running CFA can say whatever he wants about his values, his religion, and his beliefs. My issue is that he is not just talking. He is taking the money you are giving him for chicken, and using it to legislatively force the entire country to believe as he believes.

If you are friends with me, then "gay people" are not some group you hear about on the news. They are me. Every time you hear someone say, "Gay people" or "LGBT" or "fag" in a sentence, mentally substitute the words "my friend Joel". Try it. "My friend Joel should pay the same taxes as me, but not have the same rights." "It should be illegal for my friend Joel to live that way." "It should be legal to fire my friend Joel for being my friend Joel." "My friend Joel is disgusting and is going to burn in hell." Once you finish doing that, ask yourself if you and I should actually still be friends if you feel that way about me.

If, after you ask yourself these questions, you can't stop yourself from joyously buying chicken to help oppress me, then by all means, do so. But please, keep the fact that you are actively trying to hurt me and all of the people who happen to be like me, rather than like you, to yourself. Otherwise, I will see it, and I will defriend you.

We will not speak of this again, because your friend Joel is angry, and going to the office to work it off.

I'm not going back on Facebook for a while (by which we all know I mean, "At least an hour!"), because I clearly need to cool off. I'm hurt, and I'm going to sulk.


JB said...

This is how I try to explain my stance on these issues to my family - once you begin to replace "those people" with "my friend ___" it becomes a lot harder to justify those kinds of thoughts on the subject. I'm sorry it has been a rough couple of weeks for you with this.

I fully support you and all of my gay friends/colleagues in this fight for equality. I pray that the tides will begin to turn on this soon, that people will remember kindness and reason.

Tom9170 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tom9170 said...

For what it's worth, Joel, you aren't my "gay friend," and never have been. You're just my friend and former colleague, Joel. You make life choices just like everyone else does. You pay your bills (I hope ;) and put your shoes on like everyone else - one at a time. Your choices have no impact on me beyond whether or not they make you happy.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it! Hope you don't have to defriend any more insensitive people on your list. Well, actually I just hope the people on your list aren't insensitive.


JMBower said...

Simply, well put. And I echo Tom above. Even knowing how important this issue is to you (and me for that matter), I have never thought of you as "my gay friend Joel". I have thought of you as my friend Joel who is gay and an awesome cook and likes comics and wrote probably the only part of our school newspaper worth reading, and who seems to really invest a lot of himself in his beliefs and career, and is hillarious, and takes awesome photographs. Or, you know, just "my friend Joel.".

Marcheline said...

Perfectly put. Sometimes I can't believe it's not still 1950. It's like people have only been focused on updating technology all these years, and not their brains. Sad.