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Bill Roundy

January 1998

INEFFECTIVE GAY-BASHING

What is it with gay-bashers? I mean really, these people are pathetic. If they ever actually meet an articulate, confident gay person they just shrivel up. Sometimes I feel like I should give them lessons on how to harrass me effectively.

Disclaimer: I've been lucky. I know I have. I've never had anyone physically attack me. Partially this is because I'm over six feet tall, I wear a lot of black, and I have an innate capacity for violence -- but it's mostly because gay bashers are pussies. This may seem simplistic if you've had to deal with gangs of rednecks, or family members that you can't just beat the hell out of, but this is the experience I've had.

Homophobes, by and large, are small-minded, cowardly morons who rely on what they think is a world-wide assumption that homosexuality is inherently bad. They try to make your own shame and fear work against you. That's why they think calling us "queers" is such an insult: they expect us to look ashamed or embarrased, think "yeah, I am a fag" -- and then they've won.

If you can stand up to them, they pop like balloons.

An example: I used to live across the street from a fraternity. We usually did not interact. But one night, I left my house, heading for the computer lab on campus, when I heard a drunken voice boom out down the street.

"Gaaaaayyyyy-Boooooyyy!" the voice sing-songed. I paused and looked around. I didn't see anyone.

"Gaaay-maaannnn!" it came again. Then I noticed a party on the fraternity's roof, with someone facing me.

"Hello!" I said, and I waved vigorously.

"Gaaay-booooy!"

"Yes, that's me! What do you want?"

"Gaaay-maannn!"

"Yes? Can I assist you in some manner? Or are you just trying to get my attention?"

"Gaaay-boooy!"

"OK, frat-boy, I'll talk to you later."

And I walked down the street, pausing occasionally to wave to the fellow who was continuing to announce my presence to the street.

A few weeks later, this same guy stumbled up to me at a graduation party. He apologized. He was obviously drunk, and kept making references to how he couldn't "accept, you know, homosexuals, 'cause you know, for myself, I just, couldn't accept it, it's just, you know, I'm a Christian, and..." -- but he said that as soon as he saw me wave to him, he knew that he couldn't bother me. He was trying to harrass me, he was trying to piss me off, but it wasn't going to work. Calling me gay is not an insult. I wanted to tell him "Honey, if you're going to call me names, at least call me a faggot. That I might get riled up about." But even faggot doesn't bother me much. Someone calls me a fag, and I'll say "Yes, and your point is...?"

I had someone write "Fag" on my dorm room door - but they wrote it on my message board! And they put my pen back! How does this harm me? I was more amused at their stupidity than annoyed at the sentiment.

So how should you handle harrassment? I've got the following suggestions:

1. Don't ignore it. If you turn the other cheek, or hope that they will just go away, then it will NEVER STOP. You have to call them on it. Ask what they're trying to do. They're usually so baffled that you're not cowering in fear that they have no idea what to do next. Don't let them mutter something under their breath. Ask them what they said. And don't deny being gay, because they'll just keep at you until you do admit it, and then they can feel superior because they got you to lie.

2. Don't be stupid. I do not advocate going to redneck bars and trying to pick up Bubba's little brother. This will get you killed. I would not have gone into that frat house to confront the guy, because I like having all of my limbs attached. So don't get in those situations. You're smart -- you have survival instincts -- don't go into dark alleys alone.

3. If you're going to argue, know your shit. I don't think arguing with Republicans does any good (see last month's column for more details), but if you want to debate, know what your talking about. Read up on gay history, know the Bible, be aware that gay people have always existed and have done a lot of good. Michaelangelo, Richard the Lion-Heart, Socrates, etc. etc. Hell, I think knowing our history is good just for self-esteem purposes -- everything cool in art and literature has started with queers.

Well, I guess that's pretty much it for this month. I've got a poem in this month on this same theme, go check it out.

About Oasis in general: I usually like Oasis. I skim over the columns, checking in on some people's lives, reading some that I know are usually thought-provoking, or especially juicy. But I'm trying to do something different with my column. I try to write ABOUT something, instead of just telling what's up in my life. Is this working? I know I'm pushing the definition of "gay youth" -- I'm 23 -- so I don't have the same concerns as a lot of the writers here. But my columns with substance seem to get no response, but I get 16 replies when I whine about straight boys (June column). So if anyone still reads this, give me your thoughts, will ya?

reply to roundywc@hotmail.com

later, -bill


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