Thursday, May 17, 2012
Hop Against Homophobia Blog Tour
On May 17th thru the 20th there are over 240 authors, reviewers and publishers participating in Hop Against Homophobia blog hop. The purpose of this blog hop is to bring homophobic discrimination to an end and talk about this topic and give away some prizes on our blogs. When I first heard about this blog hop, I immediately contacted one of the founders of the blog hop, Erica Pike, and asked to be part of it. To be part of this blog hop we must talk about what homophobic discrimination we have witnesses first hand and how things have changed or how it's changed us.
I was born in 1969, so as a teenager of the 80's I have to point out that things were a lot different then. As a naive girl from Little Rock, at sixteen, I really didn't understand what homosexuality was. Yes, I heard some fellow classmates call certain boys in school 'Fag' or 'Homo' but I never really put much thought into it. I admit High School was a difficult time for a quiet, overweight girl like me, so I usually kept to myself and my small circle of friends I hung around.
At the beginning of my junior year I met this short, blond male named, Todd, and I was immediately captivated by him. He was sweet and funny and when he started paying attention to me, I was both shocked and thrilled that he noticed me at all. As time went by, Todd and I started dating and I was introduced to his friends from his neighborhood. There were three males he hung around, and all three of them were interesting, cute and they all loved Madonna (yes, I was a Madonna fanatic) so we all hit it off immediately. Since Todd and I were always together, we were also with his friends every weekend. When I think back on these times, I remember feeling accepted and loved by my new group of friends more than I had ever felt before. These boys made me feel safe, loved and important and there wasn't anything I wouldn't have done for them.
After Todd and I dated for two years, he asked me to marry him. Of course, since my dream was to have many children and a good life with Todd, I said yes. We were happy...at least I thought we were, but soon after he proposed, Todd started becoming more aloof and I could tell there was something going on with him. I became very troubled by his behavior and although I kept asking him over and over what was wrong, he kept reassuring me that everything was alright, so I tried to chalk up his strange behavior as having a case of the cold feet and went on. This went on for several weeks until finally I couldn't ignore Todd's aloofness any more. One night, I sat down with him and pleaded for him to tell me what was up. After several minutes of me begging and trying to coax him into talking, Todd jumped up and ran into his room and locked the door. I was frantic because I could hear him sobbing from the other side and since I couldn't get to him, I was afraid he might do something drastic or hurt himself.
Finally, after what seemed like hours I managed to get him to open the door and let me in. I'll never forget how devastated he looked and how much he literally shook all over as he grabbed my hand and led me to his bed and sat down beside me. As he held my hands he quietly told me that he loved me and would always love me, but there was no way he could ever marry me. Confused and hurt, my mind raced with questions and reasons why he didn't want to marry me...was I not pretty enough? Was I too demanding? Was I not smart enough? Was I not funny enough? After I questioned him about these things, he just shook his head and sobbed. After a long silence he finally looked at me and told me that although he loved me, it unfortunately wasn't enough because he was gay.
He told me he had been going to a local park and hooking up with other men like him, and that he realized that no matter how much he loved me, it would never be enough. He wanted to be who he was and not live a lie. He wanted to be free to explore these homosexual feelings even though he knew he would lose me and our dreams of having a family in the process. To say the least, I was both hurt and flabbergasted by his confession. I remember all I could think about was that I possibly did something to make him gay and I didn't know what to do to change it or Todd's mind so that everything would go back to the way it was before.
We sat there for HOURS talking. I cried, he cried. I yelled, he stayed patient. I begged for him to ignore these feelings and to fight to be with me, but Todd stayed firm. He asked me to still be in his life as his friend and to support him during this time of his life. I remember storming out of his house, thinking that I would never get over the pain I felt and being angry at anything to do with homosexuality. I was bitter, hurt and embarrassed. It took me several weeks to come to terms with both my break-up with Todd and what it really meant for Todd to live as a homosexual male.
After much persistence from Todd, I agreed to meet him alone again. But when I went to his house we were not alone. I was met with all of his friends, who were now my friends, and one by one they all told me they were gay. I felt numb and I didn't understand how ALL of my male friends could end up gay. I remember crying and asking them what I had done wrong? Why were they this way?
Each and every one of them told me they were born this way. They had always been attracted to other males, but were afraid to be honest about it to their friends and family. They had made a pact that they were no longer going to hide their sexuality and live the life they wanted to live. After hours of talking, I began to understand that it wasn't something they chose, but who they were. They were no different than I was, they were just attracted to men instead of women. As I sat with them, the bitterness and resentment I felt for Todd and homosexuality in general started to ease. When I left that afternoon, I had a better understanding of homosexuality and although I was still confused and hurt, I vowed to do what I could to stand by my friends and former boyfriend the best I could.
Through the years, I've watched those friends become successful individuals. Todd has been in a happily committed relationship for years, as well as my other friends. Todd and his partner are foster parents and open their homes to children in need. I've watched him grow from a confused and sad boy to a happy and contented man. It's because of Todd and our friends that I've learned that love is love, regardless of gender or race. I've watched them strive to overcome obstacles that many of my straight friends, me included, take to granted, but they've never given up on being true to themselves and fighting for their right for equality. Through all of my ups and downs, my four friends have supported me. When I told them I was writing a M/M book, they were the first to encourage me and they are some of my biggest fans. Now, their fight for equality has become my fight, too. I love them dearly and I will always be thankful to each and every one of them. It's because of them that I began to understand that love has no boundaries, and it's because of them I'm a better person today. So I want to thank Todd and my three other friends. I love you!
As part of the fight against homophobia, I'm giving away a copy of any of my books to three lucky winners. All you have to do to enter the contest is either leave a comment below or you can shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with the word contest in the subject line and you'll be entered.
Thanks for visiting my blog:)