I'm one of those straight women who has a gay boyfriend; for this discussion, let's just call him "Sam". He's a white guy born and raised in Appalachia, and we've had some interesting years together. I care for Sam, and so I worry about him.
I met Sam in the summer of 2004 and knew he was gay right away (though he didn't officially come out to me until 2006). However, at the time, he was engaged to a woman, was a staunch Republican, and an intense Christian. They married in January, 2005 and were divorced six months later, not at all to my surprise.
Sam went back to guys after his divorce, but along with finally coming out of the closet - to the all the world - by winter 2006, he plunged into a deep depression. He'd lost all of his childhood friends, his ex-wife was attaching his name to every possible homosexual slur imaginable, and he was flunking out of college. And though Sam tried to keep a brave face and sunny smile, I could tell he was in deep agony.
Now, years later, Sam is doing much better; however, he's still having some...issues.
He's not an over-zealous Christian anymore, but he's still a staunch Republican. He loves ragging on Obama (because his O-ness "hates America"), Obamamaniacs, and all liberals. He thinks minorities are "whiny", he supports Arizona SB1070, but does not support gay marriage.
Gi' ya dat one mo' 'gin - Sam does not support gay marriage.
His reasoning is that at some point, when gay marriage is legalized (he's certain it will be, no matter what), "crazy liberals" will cry persecution if any churches refuse to perform gay marriages.
Yes...you read that correctly.
Anyhoo, this brings me to the point of my post. Sam and I were talking about his past relationships, and his current coworkers. We'd never had a conversation quite like this, but I wish we had sooner, because Sam is having some problems, and I'm seeing the "brave face, sunny smile" routine all over again. He's gotten dumped - on the spot - by various previous boyfriends once they found out about his political beliefs. In fact, his only boyfriend who agreed with him politically is his most recent ex, a complete an utter psycho who molded himself to Sam's expectations, accused Sam of rape, landed them both in court, but has since gone crawling back to Sam, crying during every phone and begging like a miserable, pathetic bitch.
Sam is now being ostracized at work by fellow homosexuals because he recently voiced his political beliefs. And while I respect his ability to adhere so consistently to his beliefs, he frequently complains he's having trouble with men and is growing increasingly frustrated with the gay community as a whole (he's been dropping the f-bomb a lot more frequently lately)...and I've just noticed that all his closest friends are straight.
Before I continue, let me clarify some things: I'm not gay. Therefore, I am not qualified to give Sam advice in this situation. I never have given him advice, and will never in the future. I have, however, subtly hinted to him that he is a minority now, part of an oppressed group, and thus, things are a little different from when he was a closeted, upstanding Christian Republican engaged to a girl from wealthy white family...different being a deliberate understatement, of course.
I am not gay, but I want tell Sam that he is what informed, vigilant minorities call a "liability", or the euphemistic version of "house Negro". Sam's way of thinking is incongruent with his identity...but I do not feel qualified to tell him so. Even though I remind him his coworkers and boyfriends have a right to dump/ignore him and maintain a healthy distance from someone they consider a liability, the message is not sinking in - white privileged, heterosexual mentality is blocking it.
Yes...you read that correctly.
The way I see it, Sam simply never stopped thinking of himself as the proud, all-American, Republican whose family "never owned slaves" and who's a great admirer of the so-called founding fathers. He never discusses gay rights. On a subconscious level, I feel Sam thinks gays are a minority, and minorities don't have problems.
To Sam - I feel - minorities are the problem.
Even when confronted with homophobia, Sam rolls his eyes and brushes it off. He was in court recently, and the judge made a comment about him and his boyfriend (at the time) not having a "real relationship." He didn't even flinch. He doesn't know hate crime statistics. He doesn't read about gay issues. He's too busy bragging about shit like Limbaugh having the most listeners in America. Sam is still seeing things from the other side of the tracks, peering out over the rails so much that he doesn't even realize a train is coming.
And yet if I were to confront him with this, I would be met with severe denial. I'd get the "didn't mean to offend" speech. I'd get the "right to diversity of opinion" speech. I'd get the "I can't be anti-gay, I am gay" speech.
And if I have to hear any of these speeches - or speeches like these - one more time...it will not end well for the speaker.
I am not gay, but I feel - deeply feel - for the gay men Sam has voiced his political beliefs to. I can picture the look of horror on their faces when they realize they are talking/dating a liability, someone who could inadvertently get their asses kicked (or even killed) out here in the Bible Belt. I understand how they must feel when listening to one of their own rattle on about not supporting many gay rights, and then calling them f-----s in retaliation when they disagree with him and avoid him altogether. I can practically feel them shudder when they listen to Sam wallow in his blatant denial about the social justice problems of America. Even worse, I can imagine some repulsed exes of his have promptly run after dumping him, and taken long hot baths, complete with steel pads and Clorox. I myself remember how surprised I was when Sam told me the only thing he didn't like about Oliver Stone's Alexander (*retches*) was the portrayal of Alexander's homosexual tendencies.
I'm not gay, but I really want to tell Sam pull his head out of his ass, wake up, and deal with the world beyond the closet. If he doesn't, it will get him hurt, maybe even killed some day. And when that day comes, every right and privilege he thinks he has will go right out the window.
Luckily, however, I have a gay husband in addition to my gay boyfriend. He's older and wiser. I think I should shoot him an email later this evening.
What do y'all think?