Radio personality and all-around good gay/guy Michelangelo Signorile found himself in the middle of a pit-sweat inducing situation the other day. When he and his partner pecked one another goodbye on the street in Chelsea, NYC, a passerby called the pair “disgusting.”
I heard about it by reading Huffington Post’s Gay Voices. At first, I was outraged, then felt a little sick, then wanted to punch something, and eventually I settled on an emotion that would be surprising to many; I said “Yeah, that’s about right.”
Signorile points it all out in his article. And he does it better than I could. But I still feel like there is a lot to be said, and the majority of people
feign ignorance are complacent about the subject.
One day this summer, my roommate (also gay) and I were walking in our New York City neighborhood: Astoria. A Chevrolet Beretta (only the best) drove by, with a window down, and a wiffle-headed young man peeked his head out and asked us so eloquently “which one of you takes it in the ass?”
In a perfect world, I would have tied this manchild up and smacked him around a few times in a dark room somewhere beneath the ground and explained to him 1) the merits of washing his face and hair and, 2) that were something to be inserted into his rectum he would need to first man up through the tears, then take some delight in it since science proves that a man’s prostate is his erogenous zone, after all.
And it would have been easy enough to inflict physical harm onto this twig of a lad. My roommate and I are both 6’2″, both have a thing for lifting weights, and both grew up needing to defend ourselves. We both have the physiques of people depicted as bullies in 1980’s ABC after school specials, yet because someone was coasting by in a heavy vehicle, he thought it would be fine to yell an elongated epithet out the window. He wasn’t at risk, because he could make an easy getaway. And the remark didn’t shatter either my roommate or me. It just made us think about the ignorance that lingers.
People are surprised to hear that this sort of thing happens in New York City. Especially in a neighborhood like Chelsea or Astoria (which is coined “Actoria” for the heavy amount of performers who live there). But it happens. People are still bigoted. Whether they exist in the form of a luke warm turd coasting by in a Chevy or the guys back home who prefer with a coy smirk that I censor my stories so that they can feel more comfortable in an aged “no-homo” sort of way. Bigotry comes in all shapes and sizes, just as the people do who are on the receiving end.
So, what do we do? Well, like Signorile did, we can chase the bastards down. The bastards who try to make us feel less than them. We can humiliate them in return, and let the record show that I applaud him and his partner for doing that. Just understand that it happens everywhere. The tide is turning, but we’re still going to go through more years of people making ignorant remarks like calling a couple who love each other “disguting.” I think the best solace is knowing that in the end, we can brush it off. We don’t need to beat anyone up (though we could). And when they round the corner, get a chuckle out of whatever they said that they think is funny, and drive on, that their sheltered lives probably still lack character and frankly…suck.