Homophobia Get's Me Angry

I "came out" to my family about 21 years ago and it all went well. I felt privileged that it went so well. I wished for everyone to be so accepted as I felt I was. I've met people who feel they can never tell their family or their friends, so they live double lives, for fear of rejection. So often I've asked myself, how can one person receive so much support and others are given none? I've never known how hard it is for them, what they felt. Sure living in a closet until your 37 can be confusing and emotional sometimes but I chose to do it.

I've never known how those people felt until now. Recently, I got a very large dose of homophobia from one of my brothers, a brother I grew up to respect. We grew up in a fatherless home, my younger siblings and I looked up to our two older brothers. Just over 4 years ago, the oldest brother passed away from leukemia, this was a huge loss to my immediate family. My mother told me he often wondered what would happen to me and my youngest brother having to deal with the health issues we have. He didn't understand HIV, we never talked about it - well he never asked either. I always felt that sometimes they may have discussed certain things about me, without me, maybe they were uncomfortable, I have no idea.

A couple weeks ago, I found myself in a very heated argument over the phone with the second oldest brother. He was angry at the care we were getting for our mother who isn't very well right now. He condemned everything we had done. He told me he had talked to our mother and from what he was hearing; she should be put in a home. I tried to assure him that we were working with her healthcare team and doing whatever we could to keep her in her home, she didn't want to go into a facility. He attacked me, said that I should know better, I worked with people like our mother, I should see what he sees, but I couldn't.

The longer I listened to him, because I couldn't get a word in, he got more upset, and then the homophobic slurs came pouring out of him. I won't post all of them here, some are very graphic, but he used up the "list of slurs" that most haters will use. I just sat and listened for a time, and then I lost it. I shouted back, "I've heard all of those, come on, give me something original".

I had made a choice last year to not get angry, there was never going to be a place for it in my life anymore, it never gets me anywhere. This day I became weak, I let down my guard and I got angry, very angry, I yelled, I yelled loud, I was shaking. For the first time I was feeling the effects of homophobia, it was being poured over me like a tsunami. If it had been from a stranger on the street, I can't say if it would be less of feeling but coming from a family member, one that I grew up respecting, it hurt, it still hurts.

Then he told me that when all three of my brothers got together, (when I wasn't present) they would make all kinds of comments back and forth. The comments were many and uttered in front of other family members. My mother just informed that it happened and no one really put a stop to it. I'm not saying everyone joined in or laughed along with their jokes, I wasn't there so I can't comment too much on what actually happened. So for 21 years, I've been the joke of the family and I guess this is why we don't talk about it.

I believe there will be some changes in my family dynamic but I know I will get past this; I still have a very large support and care team. Anything I might need, I know where to find it. I also believe things happen for a reason, it’s probably no surprise it happened at this point in my life and what I'm doing with my life.

Presently ACG has a program dealing with homophobia that I am getting very involved in. I think I have something to bring to the table now. I knew what it was; I just hadn't experienced it before. I see how it can shape your life, how it changes you. Now I wish for us all to have the strength to fight this disease, homophobia, it can be cured.

Check out ACG's homepage for more information and how you can get involved.

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