I May be Gay But At Least I’m Not a Lawyer
“He hates gays, lesbians, anyone like that”, my friend said.
So that’s why Joe* hates me. Now I finally know.
I’d been introduced to Joe some time ago through an acquaintance. Joe, who never sports a smile and seems perpetually angry at life, isn’t the kind of person I would generally keep as a friend. Nonetheless, when we first met I engaged in casual chit chat with Joe as I did whenever we met in the days thereafter.
“How’s it going Joe?” I’d greet him whenever we ran into each other. Then I’d listen to Joe for the next few minutes as he complained or ranted about life. He isn’t one to live on the bright side of life but that’s just how Joe is.
I think that sometimes the best that we can offer someone is to simply listen, accept and let them be. So I listened to Joe, accepted him and let him be.
Then something suddenly changed between Joe and I. Without explanation, without warning and without discussion he stopped speaking to me whenever we ran into each other. Had I done something to upset him? Had I said something wrong? I couldn’t think of what it might be.
Joe would turn the other way when he saw me coming. He would speak to other friends in my company yet keep his back turned to me. He flatly ignored me when I said hello. I was confused because Joe didn’t seem angry at me. Instead, it seemed that for some reason he had developed a strong dislike for me. I knew it because I could feel it. It was uncomfortably palpable whenever I was near him. He really disliked me and I had no idea why, until yesterday.
I was speaking to my friend George* about Joe. I’d just passed Joe on the street. He glanced quickly at me before turning his head, but not quickly enough that I didn’t notice the dislike in his eyes and feel it in his body language.
“I don’t know what his problem is with me”, I casually mentioned to George, not because I was grieving the loss of a friend. I simply couldn’t understand Joe’s sudden and obvious dislike for me which was becoming rather awkward and uncomfortable.
“He hates anyone who’s gay, that’s why.” said George, glancing at me knowingly, with a quiet, compassionate smile.
So that’s why Joe hates me. Because I’m gay. Now I finally know.
It’s the first time in my life that I’ve come face to face with anyone who hates me just because I’m gay.
At first I felt uneasy with the news. I’ve never known anyone who hated me before. Then my discomfort turned to sadness. I know I’m not alone. Each and every one of us, gay or otherwise, is unfairly judged in our lifetime for one reason or another.
And that truly sucks.
Shortly after my conversation with George, I bumped into my friend Dave*, a lawyer. Life must have known that I needed a dose of humour at the time. Unwittingly, Dave started chatting about a recent case he’d won.
“You know, when you’re a lawyer you have to get used to that fact that 50% of the world is going to hate you. When you win a case, 50% of people love you and the other 50% hate you.”
Well, I may be gay but at least I’m not a lawyer. As far as I know, only one person hates me. There’s always a bright side to every situation.
I’ve never been overly public about being gay nor have I ever made a big deal about it because I don’t think it’s a big deal. It’s a very small part of what makes up a much bigger picture of who I am and what my life is about.
Hate, on the other hand, is a big deal.
For Joe and anyone who may wish to cast hate, judgement or opinion my way (or anyone’s way), I would like you to consider a few other facts about me that I think you should know.
I recycle, live simply and try to be good to the planet. I think that driving the speed limit is important, as is being courteous and respectful to other people on the road. And anywhere else for that matter. I try to be as happy as I can be because I figure that if I’m happy then maybe that will help other people be happy too. My dog thinks I’m awesome. I volunteer my time because I think it’s important to give back to the community that I’m a part of. I make a macaroni and cheese that is so good it would leave Gordon Ramsay speechless. I believe in a higher power but I’m not any one religion. I’m a mix of things, a bit of a spiritual smoothie. I don’t mind if my friends call me at 3 a.m. and if you’re a really good friend, I might even share my nanaimo bar with you. I don’t hold grudges, I have much better things to hold on to. Like my nanaimo bar. And other things that I love. I painted my car simply because I wanted to put a smile on people’s faces. Sometimes I’ll deliver a cinnamon bun to a friend at their work just for fun. I live a relatively healthy lifestyle and wear sensible shoes because that’s my way of saying thank you for the gift of life I’ve been given. I think that life is meant to be fun, I only wish that more people felt the same way. I am always on time because I think that’s the responsible way to be. Like everyone, I make mitsakes. I may even make the same mitsake twice. I always say a big thank you to anyone who’s willing to make dinner for me. I vote. I’m passionate about good spelling. I wish that there were more bike paths in the world. Someday I will learn how to hula hoop.
That’s just a bit about who I am. There’s far too much more to list here.
Most importantly though, I’m striving to become the best person that I can be and to do my small part to make the world a better place. I think that’s what I’m here for. In fact, I think that’s what we’re all here for. And I think that’s what really matters.
If that’s not good enough for you and you still wish to hate me, then I’m more than happy to tell you where to go.
Go to a field of daisies and sit down amongst them. Make yourself comfortable. Get quiet. Take a few deep breaths. Feel the sun warm your body. Gaze at the clouds and the blue sky. Feel the breeze on your skin. Enjoy the daisies. Stay there for at least 30 minutes and take the time to think about what really matters.
Be careful though. You might thank me for telling you where to go. And you might just love me for it too.
*The names in this post have been changed.