"Can you walk with me to class? I'm sure they won't jump me if we all walk together."
"Maybe they'll let us eat in the classroom..."
"Do we have enough money to get him a bus ticket out of town?"
"Just ignore them. They're stupid rednecks."
"I'm scared to walk home by myself."
"My family performed an exorcism on me to try and cast out the demons of transgenderism and homosexuality."
"It isn't safe for me any more."
"If I stay they'll set me up to have a fatal 'accident' and never mention my truth."
"I've been told every day for years that I'm going to hell, I'm starting to believe it."
"Why am I such a mistake?"
"Why won't my parents love me?"
"Why do they hate us so much?"
"I'm just tired of living."
"The pain is too much."
"I just want it all to stop."
Each one of these statements have been said by either me, my friend Angel, or my friend Justin. Statements made by us either in high school or between Angel and myself or Cherie and myself or me with my friend Richard.
Today is the International Day Against Homophobia & Transphobia and I struggled to decide what to write about long before I found out about the Hop Against Homophobia blog hop (http://hopagainsthomophobia.blogspot.com/). Once I signed up to be one of the many people to write a blog post for the hop I had to figure out what gift to give away and then how to go about it, all of this in addition to figuring out what I was going to write about.
Should I post up an excerpt from one of my books dealing with homophobia or transphobia? Should I talk about the homophobia/transphobia that I've experienced just recently? Should I detail the ways that I struggle to get through every day because of being who I am and living my truth? Should I talk about the way that my own biological family and old friends reacted when I came out?
Then it came to me with sudden clarity. Not just what to write but the prizes/giveaways as well. Everyone who comments and leaves their email address will be entered into the drawing. I will choose three winners. The third place winner will get one book of mine that has been released or will be released this year before GRL (October 18th). The second place winner will get two books of mine and the first place winner will get three books of mine along with a $20 gift card from All Romance Ebooks. You have to leave a comment and your email address (even if I already have it). Yes, I know, I'm uber generous, but there's a reason for that.
My freshman year I met Angel, Justin and Ryan along with Lisa, Carrie, Corrie, Tabitha, Matthew and Shawn. We were all a close group of friends, all of is were different, unique. Before all of us hit our 30s we'd all come out. Either as gay, transgender, lesbian, bisexual, polyamorous, gender fluid, asexual, dom, sub, pansexual or....*gasp* as the only straight person in a group full of GLBTQ people (sorry Ryan). Even more than that we'd all experienced homophobia or transphobia to a certain degree and while hearing someone call me "fag" in the middle of the VA lobby was distressing and being disowned was devastating...even though Angel, Justin and I spent many a day fighting and protecting each other within the hallways of our high school, there was one thing that we had, that many of the other rainbow kids and other rainbow adults didn't have. Each other. Support.
You see, that's the thing about homophobes and transphobes, they don't realize that while they are discriminating against us, telling us that who we love and how we live is morally wrong according to them; that while they are using an improperly translated version of ancient religious text that they don't even follow properly and to the full letter of that text, that we still have support. We have parents that don't disown their kids, parents who adopt kids who have been disowned. We have straights who stand with us. We have people who understand and realize that homophobia and transphobia is wrong. That just like hating and discriminating against someone because of their race, age, religion or educational/social status is wrong, so is discriminating against them because of who they love. Because religion is a choice. Ultimately so is education and social status, but race, age and yes sexuality is not a choice. Neither is being transgender.
So I'm actively taking a stand against homophobia/transphobia today. Not just for myself, but for my friends who were bullied right alongside me. For the teens who lost their lives through suicide because of bullies and homophobia/transphobia. For the members of the GLBTQ community and our supporters. I am saying that enough is enough! It's time for it to end all of it. I don't want to hear another story about a teen losing their life because of someone else's misguided, fanatic, religious beliefs.
It does get better. I know that it's hard to believe sometimes, I know that if anyone had told me when I was in high school, depressed, fighting against my truth, trying to drink and get high to get through the pain that it would get better, that I would be better one day, I wouldn't have believed them. However, I wish that I could go back and tell 17 year old me that it does get better and that one day I'd be a best-selling author of gay erotic romance. That I'd be going to author conventions, that I'd have a real family who supported me. That I'd be transitioning to become the man that I was born to be, that people would accept me and that I'd be smiling and happy in spite of everything else. I can't tell 17 year old me to ignore the homophobes and to keep his head up, but I can tell others, I can tell you.
This is my stand against homophobia and transphobia. What's yours?
Don't forget to go and check out the other blog posts for the Hop Against Homophobia blog hop (http://hopagainsthomophobia.blogspot.com/ or http://www.facebook.com/HAHMay17 or http://www.facebook.com/events/314662868611180/314834891927311/?notif_t=plan_mall_activity)