Asshole Intolerance

Tolerance. I fucking hate that word.

First of all I always spell it wrong and it gives me the squiggly red line and I have to go back and fix it which throws me off my writing. Second, it’s the lowest level of being a good person. Alright no, the lowest level of being a good person is admitting that gay people exist. Alright no, the lowest level of being a good person is admitting that Anne Hathaway is gorgeous. Then gay people need to exist (looking at you Ahmadinejad), then tolerance.

Tolerance (fuck I really do spell it wrong every time) is something you have to do but only because your parents told you to. It’s like, those poor gays can’t help it, so we should be nice to them, I guess. It’s going to be hard to convince everyone to be nice gays, but are we really okay with a recalcitrant “Fine, I guess suppress my disgust with you if I have to.” Can’t we do better?

Sure there will be holdouts but they will fall into one of two categories: assholes and some old people. If we continue to set the bar low at “you can’t fire someone just for being gay or trans” younger people will get the impression that this tolerance bullshit is appropriate. Tolerance (fuck) is when you can barely contain your disgust when I walk down the street with my husband. I get anxious when I walk down the street holding his hand. It doesn’t make me anxious that I’m not being liked, it makes me anxious because I’m still terrified that someone’s tolerance (ha nailed it) will run out. That in a group of drunken idiots one will “slip up” and beat the shit out of me. Or worse, out of the people I care about.

I was reading Hey Notradamus! one day in highschool and I had the realization that if someone started shooting up the cafeteria, I would rather get shot than watch one of my friends die. It’s not noble, it’s practical. At the time, my self-loathing meant I couldn’t picture a happy future for myself. My friends would all graduate, get married, have kids and I was a dead end anyway so hey Mr. Gunman, pick me.

That’s how I grew up thinking that I would die in a world of tolerance. Even though gay marriage was an option and I was out, I still didn’t have the sense of self-worth to acknowledge that “it get’s better”.

It Get’s Better

It get’s better is another kind of tolerance that bugs me. Telling someone it gets better is an important, hopeful sentiment but is also a little condescending. It’s like telling someone not to panic or to calm down while their house burns down. It get’s better might give some people hope but it’s also a trendy way to absolve people of guilt. I’m not guilt’s biggest fan, but it does serve a kind of weird evolutionary role in that it tells people to do something about it. Guilt is what you get when you tolerate a shitty situation.

You didn’t call your mom on her birthday and now you feel guilty? Call her. Your crush wants to hang out but you already made other plans? Reschedule. A bullied kid commits suicide? Get angry and do something about it. Call on politicians to support anti-discrimination measures. Help get anti-bullying measures which explicitly protect sexual identity, perceived sexual identity, gender identity, and gender expression adopted in schools. Better yet have them include LGBT people and issues in the curriculum.

In a tolerant world, gay people exist, but only when you’re older.

I suppose I’m projecting my definition of tolerance a little when it comes to this last point. Gay people should be tolerated because they can’t help it and at the same time they’re written out of society entirely because somehow mentioning gays to children will turn them gay. This Orwellian double-think held by people is probably the worst part of everything ever. Gay’s should exist but we can’t talk about them to kids because of some old-school, asinine belief that gays are depraved deviants and we don’t want to corrupt the children. It’s supremely fucked up. It’s confusing to me. I can only imagine what kids think. Oh no wait, I was once a kid who had to deal with this kind of erasure. It made me suicidal.

So how can we talk about gay people without talking about gay sex, which I think is the icky thorn in most assholes sides. Strangely enough, there’s more to gay people than the super fun sex we have. At a policy level it means that if you don’t want to explain to kids during sex-ed that gay people exist, tell them that gay people exist before sex-ed. There is more to being gay than having sex with men. Reducing it down to it’s most basic meaning, being gay means that I can love another man. That is it and there are a million – or a dozen – picture books on the subject so even if you aren’t comfortable with gays you can let them read about it. Once we get over our societal inability to talk about the gays except for in hushed tones as adults, the kids who actually are gay won’t feel like lepers. In fact they might even be just as happy and healthy as everyone else.

If we’re aiming for a tolerant society, I’m afraid that we’ll all fail and that it’ll suck. Instead, let’s raise the bar a little and aim for a time when I don’t have to ask you to pretend I’m not straight to get the respect I deserve. I don’t know what the word for this is just yet, but we can get there together. Otherwise people are going to have to tolerate more snarky rants.

Also the last few times I spelled tolerance/tolerant I spelled it right. So yay tolerance. Fuck I misspelled it again.

Why are you here?

I’d like to say that I’m here to share my life, but really I haven’t lived. An obedient guy from a farm doesn’t really make for an interesting subject. Sorry. To me, interesting is the safest way to put anything and it doesn’t apply. I’m boring. The whitest of white bread in the buffet of life. I’m not even exhibiting that faux-humble or necessary bleakness which makes for something interesting. I don’t life a very fast or exciting life. More often than not, I’m at home with my husband and cat. If we’re really feeling particularly daring, we’ll play a board game.

So why am I here?

Perhaps I’m here for the possibility of creating something worth writing about. Perhaps this is a cautionary tale to warn younger gays away from being too melancholy or introspective. Or perhaps I’m here because I’m full of shit.

I don’t honestly believe there aren’t stories here. Even if I’ve never been backpacking anywhere interesting, I have things to say. There exist a limited number of scintillating tales of my love life. Dates gone awry. I could talk about the time I got a bj in an Abbey but I figure I’m already too prone to smiting. I could talk about that one time I dated someone with the same name as me, only to find out he thought my name was Steve. I could even write about the 8 years that I’ve been with my now husband. I won’t because I respect our relationship too much.

And I’ve grown accustomed to a certain standard of living which I don’t think I could maintain for too long on half of our (his) stuff.

Perhaps I’m over thinking it. Maybe I only write these things to get people to like me.

No that can’t be it [insert obligatory joke highlighting necessary bleakness for comedic relief].

I wrote this at a writing workshop that I’m taking part of. I hope to be able to share a little bit of what I write there or what I learned. It was written based off the prompt:

Why have you come to share your life or your stories?

The Big Break

Three years ago I was on the verge of graduating from University. It was something that one part of me knew I would inevitably do, and yet I was entirely unprepared for graduation. My classmates were less worried, engineers are pragmatic people with marketable skills. All of my circle of friends had had impressive stints during their co-op work placements and could easily get a job with their companies. My co-op experience on the other hand hadn’t really prepared me for much. I could’ve possibly found a position in the field, but had grown disenchanted with it after the 60-70 hour work weeks on rotating day/night shifts with homophobic contractors.

“It wouldn’t always be like that.” I said, lying to myself because I’m not the ambitious type who faces his problems head on. Instead of doing the rational thing and coming up with a plan to be gainfully employed, I listened to my heart like a big dumb-dumb and took a temporary job as a part time outreach worker at a non-profit. It was a blissful disappointment to my parents I’m sure, who assumed that I would be steadily employed building bridges and not handing out condoms at gay bars. To be clear, working in gay men’s health isn’t exactly like working in engineering, despite both having similar gender ratios.

It worked out well for me though, except that my contract end date drew near and I really didn’t have a new plan just yet. Instead, I dusted off my  finely honed undergraduate level procrastination skills and did some writing. It was nothing of importance, but I mentioned it to my boss and he asked me if I’d be interested in doing some writing. The website needed some new content for when it relaunched and I didn’t seem, totally bad at it.

I suppose this was the first real shot I had at being a writer and it happened mostly by chance. I guess I’m really fortunate for the opportunity. I don’t have any formal creative writing training. I didn’t have to apply, and would’ve likely been rejected if I had, which would’ve devastated me. Instead, by some happy coincidence, my boss took a chance on me.

And I proved myself, I suppose. Despite some turds throughout the years, I wrote some things that I was really proud of.  Three years later, I’m still there and while I’m doing less writing than I’d like sometimes it has lead to other fantastic opportunities.

This week’s craft Wednesday isn’t  really a link to some fantastic resource, instead it’s that we all need someone that believes in us (especially when we don’t believe in ourselves).

Pussy Riot!

Now before you gays start hissing about the word pussy (see things gay guys need to stop doing), the remaining members of Pussy Riot were released from jail in Russia. They’d been charged with hooliganism, which might just be my newest favourite reason for arrest, and were supposed to serve 2 years. It’s not just the punk-rockers that are being pardoned, it turns out the Greenpeace 30 are also having their hooliganism charge dropped. If you’ll remember these hooligans were out protesting an arctic oil rig, when they were arrested. Looks like someone is trying to make Russia seem a little more endearing and not a clusterfuck of human rights violations leading up to the Sochi Olympics.

Looks like Utah’s same-sex marriages will go ahead as emergency stays and appeals haven’t worked. I believe all counties are now allowing issuing licenses as there were a few hold-outs.

I kind of did a shitty job of this round of news because of the Holidays. To make it up to you, here is proof that reading is sexy… and a NSFW blog in case the first link doesn’t work.

Reading is fundamental