Your Word Goddess

The way is love

Tolerance requires strength: Being gay in this world

gay parade

What is it about gayness that creates such a reaction in some people?

When I was in elementary school we had a gay male librarian. It was known that he was gay, even by us kids who really didn’t have much understanding of what that meant. I don’t remember anyone having any particular problem with his being gay or with him.

When I was 15 and working in a local ice cream shop one of my classmates from elementary school came in and told me the librarian had been bludgeoned to death by two straight men in a park. The park was known for its gay meetups, but he’d been walking through it to go shopping for birthday supplies for his party. On his way back through he ran into two young skinheads with a baseball bat who were out on the prowl for gay men. They beat him so badly he was found dead in his car having bled to death from the wounds they inflicted.

This was in the late 80s. I’m sure nothing much has changed unfortunately.

Men seem to be targeted more aggressively than women for being gay. I get the impression men always figure gay women are just playing around and some even find the idea of women being together sexy, but two men together for some straight men is just too beyond their tolerance level.


Is it the anal sex? Lots of men have anal sex with women so what’s the big difference? No, I don’t believe it’s that. I think they fear being raped by other men. And that’s a real fear as so many girls, boys, women and men know. Some men just feel they have the right to take what they want when they want it.

And so some men fear being overpowered and forced to take part in something they think is abhorrent. Or worse that they might actually kinda like. Let’s face it being forced to do anything you don’t want to do sexually is abhorrent, no matter what it is. Just look at the #MeToo world out there. But what if those men who are so 100% straight have a hidden fear of not being 100% straight, where would that leave them?

That leaves them fearful, and that breeds hate.

I have known men who’ve been sexually abused by other men. It happens all the time. It doesn’t just happen to women of course. We all know that. And it affects men the same way as women, it can really screw up their heads and their sex lives. I dated one guy who’d been sexually abused by a man I’m not sure how and then be couldn’t come from a blow job. I always imagined he’d been given a blow job against his will and come so he couldn’t later with me, but he never told me specifically what happened, and I never asked.

I was sexually abused by a woman so I know how weird it can be to be a victim, especially as a child. You have such a limited understanding of what sex is and then someone turns you into a sexual object against your will or level of comprehension, it’s very bizarre.

I believe what people do in the privacy of their own room with other people, when it’s consensual, is none of anyone else’s business. Whether people are straight or gay or somewhere in between, no one has any right to judge or interfere in people’s healthy sexual lives.

Fear is no excuse to take out your insecurities about your own sexual orientation on anyone else through violence or verbal abuse.

And that’s what violence and verbal abuse is, it’s fear plain and simple. Only weak people resort to that kind of behaviour.

Tolerance requires strength.


From the series, Write On! by Jacqueline Snider, writer and editor

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