“Ew! You’re gross!” (a.k.a. My first encounter with bigotry….)

I’m not one to publicly voice my opinions about social issues or throw my lifestyle and ideals in other peoples’ faces, but an incident occurred a couple days ago that has really been bothering me, and I have to release my feelings. I’m not sure how I feel exactly, but I know something is going on inside me and I need to talk this out.

Since I came out, back in 2011, I have not really experience any blatant instances of homophobia or have been in a situation where I felt uncomfortable or targeted because of my sexuality. I have been relatively blessed in that area of my life. While I have not gone through it, I am fully aware of the young kids, adults, and even elderly individuals who have to handle ignorance, threats, and even violence, on a daily basis because of who they are. This incident that I will recount is very VERY small when it involves the degree of its influence. Almost insignificant. But it has really affected me in a way that I never would have expected.

Last Monday, a friend gave me a shirt from DC Pride, which took place last weekend. It was one size too big for him, so he gave it to me. It was a super cute tee that read “I <3 Nice Jewish Boys.” Granted, neither my friend nor I practice Judaism, but it was an adorable shade of creamsicle (one of my FAV colors), so I couldn’t resist the gift! Later that afternoon, he asked if I wanted to go to the grocery store with him. Harris Teeter is just a couple blocks away, and it was a beautiful day outside, so I quickly changed out of my work clothes, threw on my new, cute tee, and tagged along for the walk.

We had only gotten as far as one block and had to stop and wait at a crosswalk until we had the signal to cross the street (DAMN DC TRAFFIC!). After a few seconds, the red-stop-hand turned into a walking-go-man, so we began to cross the street. About 15 feet ahead of us, I noticed an approaching bicyclist. He looked to be about mid-thirties, in khakis and a polo, probably biking home after work. Nothing out of the ordinary, except that his eyes were locked-in on my tee. I was a bit flattered at first! I can be narcissistic at times, so I automatically enjoyed the attention I was getting for my super adorable tee! After he passed us, he immediately turned around and yelled, “Ew! You’re gross!”

I. Was. Stunned. My narcissism immediately dissolved into embarrassment and mortification. Then I turned into “Defensive Dayne” and laughed it off as if it was nothing. Then I was “Angry Dayne” and wanted to teach him a lesson. Then I transitioned into “Sad Dayne” and wanted someone to comfort me. All of this was occurring within five seconds of the ignorant comment. To quote Ron Burgandy, I felt like I was in a glass case of emotion!

I have to admit, my exposure to real bigotry has been really limited so far in my life. Let me remind you that I’m aware this incident is extremely petty and small when compared to actual hate crimes that are committed against members of the LGBTQ and other minority communities. But still, for a brief moment, that coward on the bike made me feel lesser than. Out of nowhere he took control and power over my self-worth, my pride, my feelings, and my security, and he squashed them. I was outraged! This is going to sound so cliché and over simplistic, but how dare he feels that he has a right to make me feel lesser! What makes him think he’s better than me?

I’m still processing this.

This small act committed against me has so many huge and enormous implications. I’m sure I will continue to revisit my feelings about this encounter in future posts to come. I’m just scratching the surface, and I want to explore it further. For now, I guess all I can say is that as a society, we have our work cut out for us. Life is not all rainbows and roses. Just be aware and supportive. If you know someone who’s a part of the LGBTQ community, a minority, or ANYONE who is the target of bullying, bigotry, or hate, be as supportive as you can to them. Stick up for them. Let them know you are there for them and will fight for them no matter. If this small instance can affect me as much as it has, imagine how serious occasions of hatred can affect someone. Just keep that in mind. 

-Dayne

PS: On a HAPPIER note, I will be posting a pic of me in my SUPER CUTE shirt later this afternoon on my Twitter and Instagram! Make sure to check it when you get a chance. Did I mention that it’s CUTE?!?!

15 comments

  1. THE IGNORANCE, of people. My best friend is also out & the stares and nasty snarky comments people made, were ridiculous. I wish some people would keep the "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say it at all" concept! I am sorry you encountered that!

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  2. Aw lame, sorry you had to go through that even if small in the grander scale, a big thing in your life still matters. There's always going to be someone who rudely responds to things they don't understand.

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  3. First, I am so sorry you had to go through that. People are so ignorant! However this is a great post and really insightful. I can't wait to see the t-shirt, it sounds AWESOME!!!!

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  4. Sorry this happened, people can be s hateful! I'm glad you were able to write about this, every bit of media helps to shed more light on the issues! I hope writing about it helped because that rude man does not deserve another second of your thoughts! I hope the next time you get a look like that, it is because they are loving how awesome your shirt is :)

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  5. My cousin is gay and it really pisses me off that people are so ignorant and disgusting. I will never understand why people can't just get with the program that we have to accept people for who they are. Sorry you had to go through that.

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  6. Isn't it sad that this is the world that we live in? Whether you agree with ones lifestyle or not I strongly believe that if you have nothing nice to say you should keep your lips sealed...sorry about this experience, I hope that this individual changes at some point

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  7. Ugh. People are so ignorant. This world we live in is a crazy, crazy place! I'm sorry you had to experience this. My blog tomorrow is all about "where is the love" because in today's world, we really have to find it.

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  8. That is so intolerant, immature, and ignorant. People are ridiculous. My best friend since high school was gay and got picked on all the time. Luckily, it's toned down now that he's older but still. No one should have to deal with that.

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  9. Even if this is "small" in comparison to other acts of bigotry, it still is a big deal. I'm sorry you had to go through that, and I feel sorry for him that he thinks it's appropriate to act that way.

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  10. Such a great post. You just have to do what makes you happy until other people realize that you are nothing to mess with and their opinions are not going to change who are you! Keep being strong!

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  11. People are just so stupid! I'm irritated and feeling emotions for you right now! Ugh! Hold your head high and know that your life is full of love and cute tees while he may have a life of sadness and unflattering itchy flannels.

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  12. Thank you ladies! Your encouraging words mean so much!

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  13. I wish more people were educated on human sensitivity. I mean really who has time for that nonsense. What does anyone get out of it? A small sense of control? A brief moment of feeling larger than another? Every time someone does something filled will bigotry I can't help but think, "Can't take the trash out of the trailer park". So keep your head up. At the end of the day you're not the one who felt the need to degrade someone for some silly sense of moral high ground. You're better than that.

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  14. No matter how big or small the incident it is completely unnecessary and ignorant. I often write on my blog about acceptance of others. As it turns out THREE of my closest, best friends in my life are gay men. I have stuck by their side for years and seen struggles due to the ignorance of others. I am sorry you experienced this (but glad for your new cute shirt) :-)

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  15. This is horrible, and your shirt is presh. Growing up in the South meant hearing things way worse said to or about people that I love.

    Chin up. The world is getting better!

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