Thursday, May 21, 2009


Listen to guest blogger Lacey Banis. She's one wise woman:

What's Not OK

I heard about this story on Sam Ronson’s Twitter page:

"I'm A Lesbian. Would You Like to Punch Me?"

To say I was aghast, fearful, and angry would be an understatement, but sadly, I was also not surprised.

Since coming out almost exactly one year ago, everything that I once knew is no longer the same; something as routine as walking my dog in my own neighborhood now invites comments like “Guy or girl?” or “Are you fucking kidding me?” to be hurled at me by passersby. Drive-by bigotry. Awesome.

I’m no stranger to ignorance. Having grown up in a town that was about as diverse as a pint of vanilla ice cream, I can still almost tear up if I think just a little too long about the comments that were sneered at me in my classrooms, on the bus and in hallways. Add to the fact that I’m adopted by white parents pre-Angelina, and I may as well have been wearing a “Kick Me” sign.

But I grew up and left my hometown, met people who weren’t dumbasses, and learned to joke about the ignorance. Even to this day, though, I will encounter the random racial epithet. One guy I had held a CVS door open for looked at me and said, “Aaahhh! Eggroll!” It’s amazing how 3 seconds of your life can bring you back twelve years. My upstairs neighbor likes to alternate between calling me a chink and a dyke, depending on how many gas fumes he’s inhaled in any particular week. And I’ve even had a grown (albeit, stupid) woman tell me to “go back to where I came from.” Well, bitch, here I am.

I’d like to say I’m probably stronger as a result of this, but each comment still chips away — if only slightly — at my ego nonetheless. I’ve wearing the proverbial armor, but by now you can imagine the chinks it has.

I do realize my hair plays a HUUUUGE role in the comments I seem to attract. [Lacey has one killer fauxhawk and she's had it for YEARS. -Ed.] Even my own mother seems to think I resemble a woodpecker, and chooses to remind me of this on a regular basis. The difference is, though, that her comments stem from love, whereas people who ask me what’s up with my hair in an unfriendly manner (holla to Doschbag for asking what’s up with their face in response) do not.

The truth is I can deal with the hair comments. My hair is my choice, and, hey, I know it’s not everyone’s favorite flavor, but that’s OK. Opinions are like assholes and everybody’s got one.

What’s not OK, however, is being made to feel afraid or hurt or humiliated for being who you really are, whether your identity is based in your race, religion, gender, sexual orientation or whatever makes you, you.

What’s not OK is beating the shit out of someone because you don’t like how they look, dress, act, or who they go home with.

I’m not gonna lie. You wanna know why I work the speed bag so hard these days or why I’m weightlifting like it’s my second job? Read the story above. Look at the pictures on Shirley's Twitpic's page. For me and so many others, being able to be ourselves requires as much physical effort as it does mental and emotional fortitude. This is not OK.

You can’t live your life in fear of what might happen, however, if I can make myself a little stronger, a little faster then if, God forbid, something were to happen, maybe I’d have a shot in hell of defending myself. How fucked up is it that I have to think about this? But that doesn’t mean I’m crawling back into the closet. That doesn’t mean I’m going to stop dressing as I do, walking as I do, loving whom I do. I can no more change the slant of my eyes than the fact that I am gay. It took me 30 years to get here, and I’ll be damned if I’m packing it in now. In fact, I’m just getting started.

So to the supremely ignorant dumbasses of the world, to the asshole who thought it was OK to blacken both of Shirley Spears’ eyes and fatten her lip, you don’t get my anger. Anger in these types of situations comes from fear, and I. am. not. afraid. You won’t get my tears. You’re not worth them. No, the worst thing I can do is pity you, live my life and refuse to let you dictate anything about me. Karma will handle the rest.

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