At Me They Shout "Faggot" - An Enemy Becomes Friend

 "  “Faggot,” the bro yelled. A wave of angst, fear, and isolation washed over my body. I looked at my heterosexist neighbor in the eye. He had no remorse."

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“Faggot,” the bro yelled. A wave of angst, fear, and isolation washed over my body. I looked at my heterosexist neighbor in the eye. He had no remorse."

A couple weeks ago I walked across the sunny street in Hollywood. I had a smile on my face and was surely glowing with happiness.

Finding my spot on the street corner was like finding my spot in an empty corner of my middle school playground. “Faggot,” the bro yelled. A wave of angst, fear, and isolation washed over my body.

I looked at my heterosexist neighbor in the eye. He had no remorse.

I could feel my anger. It rose with a tenacity that kept me preoccupied for some time. The memory of that man’s face flashed in my head like a song on repeat. In self-protection I found every reason to hate him.

I despised his scruff. I despised his ratty t-shirt. I despised the car full of men with whom he associated. I despised men. They left me hurting.

I carried these sentiments with me back to Denver. A young bro-ish type was my elevator companion. He schlepped a six-pack of beer, talked with P. Diddy swagger, and joked with his buddies in a manner that objectified women. And I found myself almost hating him. I had labeled him a familiar homophobic type.

And then I had to check myself. I was using the exact shaming tool of separateness that hurt me on someone else.

In this light, I examine the ways in which the Hispanic community, my community, experiences persecution. I also observe that as Hispanics we turn from our persecutors and continue to promote the very prejudice that left us marginalized. We speak with their hatred on our tongues.

I continuously examine the ways in which the Church demonizes the LGBTQ community. I wish the pope knew that his words perpetuate homophobia. My gay friends and I are incredibly burned by many conservative theologies. And yet I hear us, the LGBTQ community, chastising conservative Christians with the same level of judgment we have endured. We find the most heinous of terms as daggers to through back.

The worst facet is that we, the LGBTQ community, turn towards one another and continue to spread division. Gays derogate bisexuals. Gays and lesbians speak ill of one another in secret sessions. The masculine jocks cheapen the feminine.

We have literally taken the psychological need for superiority [that the heterosexist majority used to denigrate our minority position] and we’ve begun using it on ourselves. We feed our own need for superiority with the same spoon that led poison to our lips.

We’ve too easily become willing to inflict the same hurt we’ve sustained. Can we hear stories like Lance’s and refrain from hating in return?

Where will the cycle end?

It will end when we choose to feel the persecution, protect ourselves, but refrain from the inclination to judge the persecutors. Sounds a lot like the Lord’s Prayer to me.

Minorities are equally responsible in deconstructing the anatomy of prejudice. We may not have started the machine, but many of us sure do help ensure its maintenance.   

Consider: Do you embody the ability to hate another because you were first hated?

Can we, be it sexual or ethnic minorities, respond with maturity and compassion, leaving behind the retaliatory need to judge and hate?

If we can, we will inspire unity. If we can, we will demonstrate freedom from psychological superiority. If we can, we will reverse the emotional mechanisms that drive hatred, homophobia, judgment, racism, and transphobia. If we can, we will protect ourselves from embodying the very anatomy of hatred that through the first punch, that which continuously assaults equality. If we can, we will finally understand love.

Go ahead, you can call me faggot. The pain and anger in your spirit is enough punishment. Next time someone labels me with such hate, I'll try my best to respond with friendship. 

“Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into friend.” – MLK JR 

Posted on September 28, 2015 .