I’m sure you’ve heard something like this: “I don’t hate queer people. I just wish they wouldn’t flaunt it in public.” Or, “I don’t hate gays. I just wish they wouldn’t shove it down our throats.”
I thought cliched bigot-sayings like that were a thing of the past, memories of the 1980s and even the 1990s — although as an undergraduate in the early 1990s, I was surrounded by queer people. But that was a bubble.
I was a teenager in the 1980s, and I was in my twenties in the 1990s, never mind that anti-LGBTQIA+ bigotry seemed archaic to me in that decade. Yes, despite the microaggressions and despite straight people constantly assuming I was straight. Most books I read in the 1990s were by and about straight people and never about transgender or nonbinary people. I didn’t even have a label for my orientations — and that’s a plural because not only was asexuality not acknowledged but also people didn’t talk or write about romantic or aesthetic orientations, which aren’t identical to sexual orientation. I began volunteering at a feminist bookstore in 2009, and that allowed me much more exposure to queer authors and characters.
When June 2021 came along, I knew it was Pride Month. Thanks to the pandemic, I was (and am) accustomed to socializing online more than in person. Imagine my shock when I logged onto Facebook and read a post from a popular public account I follow. People forget it’s an individual’s account, not a group. In reaction to the owner of the account displaying a beautiful Pride flag, countless bigots outed themselves as anti-LGBTQIA+.
The first post I saw was the page’s author reminding everyone it’s not a public group, it’s her page. She added that she’s queer, and… it’s her page. She was busy blocking bigots. I became busy blocking bigots.
I found the original post and read comments I would not have expected to see in the twenty-first century, such as the one about “shoving it down our throats.” I escaped the middle of the U. S. years ago and didn’t realize bigots are regurgitating the same hateful nonsense they said decades ago. But maybe it shouldn’t be surprising that such bigots aren’t especially creative.
That was depressing. Pride Month is supposed to be celebratory. I didn’t think it was about cishet bigots attacking us. It’s…