Time to Remember
You don't know me yet you wish me dead. My very existence fills you with disgust and hatred. Disapproval for my "lifestyle" provokes random violence and bitter indifference. Even your fake smiles hide your true disdain as you secretly think I will go to hell for my perceived "transgressions". You don't represent the majority, but your like minded comrades are legion.
In my early 20's I was attacked outside a gay bar in Birmingham,AL by a group of guys when walking to my car with a girl friend. We had spent the evening dancing our asses off. I saw them approaching but paid no heed, caught up in the revelry and joy of the moment, walking hand in hand with my friend. They circled behind us as we passed and without warning I was knocked to the ground. I fell to my knees, stars dancing before my eyes, severe pain pulsing from my head, I didn't understand what had happened but knew something was dreadfully wrong when I reached up to my head and felt the warm blood trickling down my face. One of the men had hit me with a beer bottle. My girlfriend screamed at them, "WHY?????" Another man pulled a gun and pointed it at us. "You just came out of a gay bar, bitch!" he said and began to laugh. Then they sauntered away. laughing and talking among themselves.
I realize I was lucky. It could have gone way south, we both could have been killed. I sat there dazed and bleeding on the asphalt , not really comprehending what just happened, wiping the blood out of my eyes. Eventually my friend helped me up and we went back into the bar and asked for help. The doorman got me a wet rag and I went into the bathroom to clean myself up. I was Halloween scary, blood covered my face and soaked my scalp. After shakily trying to regain composure and wiping myself down, I went back out to the doorman.
My friend was livid as she told me, "They said it won't do any good to call the police." She was shaking.
I looked at the doorman who just hours before greeted us cheerfully as we paid our cover to get in, now he just shook his head ruefully and said, "They just won't come. "
In my 48 years I have been bashed, harassed, called Fag, told by a girl I had just met at a straight club and danced with for hours , "You're pretty cool, even tough you're going to hell." (she was a good Christian girl who just happened to be drunk and on ecstasy- I wasn't judging.), disrespected by straight men who thought I was an uppity queer, discriminated against at work( ignored by the owner when I brought it to his attention who then with the management team turned the tables on me and victimized me by calling my skills and work ethic into question), and basically told to keep quiet. Be a man.
Or more, "Nobody cares.
You don't know me, but I'm tired. I'm tired of being second class. I'm tired of your hate rhetoric because of who I love. I'm tired of your indifference at my plight, my brethren's plight.
I'm also angry. Angry that what is one of the most horrific hate crimes in our country has been parlayed into political fear mongering and divisiveness, taking away from the fact 49 GLBT AMERICANS lost their lives. Their transgression? Loving. Dancing. Celebrating life.
I used to be quiet, as I was told to do. I just can't do that anymore. People are dying. This has got to stop.
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