I have been incredibly lucky in that in my life since coming out; I have never experienced any form of personal homophobic abuse. Sure I have had snide comments made, but they have never been direct and they have never been anything too serious other than the traditional 'religious' side of it. That was until today, and what surprised me most was that it came from someone who I thought was a very good friend of mine.
I went out with my sister and our mutual friend, who for the purpose of this blog shall be called Sarah. Now Sarah and I have been good friends for many years, I know and get on with her mother very well, in fact I used to spend time sitting in with her mum when Sarah wasn't there and I know her family well. We went out and had a very enjoyable day. The day was turning out to be a very enjoyable day especially seeing as I was not looking forward to it in the first place, for financial reasons. So before we went to the cinema that night we stopped in McDonalds where the laughs and jokes continued.
My sister has been in a relationship with a guy for a while now and I constantly joke about her getting married and having children and basically planning out her whole life for her. I told her she isn't allowed to have a child until she is married and that I would want our children to be about the same age so they can be good friends as cousins. This is what the conversation went like after:
Sarah: 'You want what?'
Me: 'Our children to be the same age so they can grow up together'
Sarah: 'What do you mean?'
Me: 'Well I want to adopt so Kylie's (my sister) child has to be born after she is married so it gives me enough time to find someone to adopt with.
Sarah: 'Well honestly I would rather have Kylie have a child before marriage than have someone like you adopt'
Me: '..... sorry what?'
Sarah: 'Well I just don't think people like you should be allowed to adopt'
Well I wanted to scream, cry and slap her all at the same time! I just couldn't believe what I had just heard and even though I love to cause a scene I just was not in the mood so I just sat there in silence. I constantly got snide comments from my sister and her about how I was in a 'huff' etc. I still just sat there and shrugged. We where supposed to go to the cinema, but the film was sold out so I just said I wanted to go home. They brought me home and drove away. I didn't want to get my parents involved so I never said anything and just let it all slide. When I went up to my room it took every ounce of strength not to cry.
About 20 minutes later I got a BBM saying 'Why you always go on wee huffs when I'm with yous! You just ruined a good wee day'. Again it took everything I had not to bitch back at her but it wasn't worth it so I just dropped it. Until my sister came home. She stormed into my room claiming I ruined the whole day and I didn't have to go into a mood about everything. That was the final straw. I stood up and started screaming at her telling her how dare she side with her and that I was her own brother. She tried to fight her corner but I just slamed my door and started to cry.
My mother and father came upstairs at this point. Well my parents never really had a good relationship with me since I came out and I didn't know what was to happen next. But my mother sat with me and let me cry. Then she went to my sister and started fighting my corner which made me cry even more, this time with happiness. She said Sarah's name wasn't to be spoken in this house again, my sister was free to be friends with her or whatever but she was no longer welcome in this house and will have nothing more to do with her.
I was so proud of my mother. All I could muster to her was a mouthed 'Thank You' after it all.
The thing was if it had have been anyone else I wouldn't have cared. I also don't care if any of my friends have the same opinions but they have no need to voice them and neither did she. I don't agree with some of my friends life choices but I stick by them and support them because that is what friends do. To me it is simple, if the choice that friend makes does not effect your friendship in anyway then there is no need to voice negative opinion. Sarah could have spent the rest of her life disagreeing with my choice of adoption but as long as she supported me when I needed it I honestly would not have cared.
To me homophobia is not the problem. The problem is when a friend decides that you have become a different person because of your sexuality. It is when they decide in their heads that your personality has changed or your humour or your friendship. That is the problem. I have number of friends who I know are uncomfortable and in some cases have a problem with my sexuality, but they don't voice it to me and tell me I should change or that they disapprove of me and in fact some of them are very close friends to me. Sexuality should not effect friendship, just like the colour of your skin, the colour of your hair, your weight, your looks, your shoe size or even if your disabled. It is the person inside that defines friendship. When it comes to me homophobia only becomes a problem when other people make it into a problem.
Whether you are gay, straight, black, white, disabled, ginger or anything that makes you 'different' I will not judge our friendship on that, I will judge it on who you are inside. Is that not the way it is supposed to be?