I’ve always abhorred bullying, as I was a victim in both grade school and junior high. With me it was mostly about my weight, then as in junior and into high school, the barbs were more pointed at my personality. I’m quiet and introverted by nature, prefer reading and “high brow” pursuits to the latest pop culture sensation. Then there has always been the question about my sexual orientation. I’m bisexual but prefer to be with women. I know they whispered behind my back, but I was listening. Sadly, it didn’t stop with my peers; my own family picked on me relentlessly on everything from my weight to my tendency to be “too quiet” to “why don’t you have a boyfriend? Oh yeah, you’re too fat and square.” Yes, there were times when I wanted to do myself in, remove myself from the presence of my tormentors. I was sure I wouldn’t be missed, so why stick around to face more of their insidious, hateful words. Somehow I’ve managed to survive but it still hurts when the people who supposedly “love” me carry on as if they don’t give a damn. Too bad with some folks the light is never realized until it is too late.
Now, after decades of striving for acceptance, the LGBT community reels again in wake of several high profile gay teen suicides. Then there was a recent drama in Indianapolis concerning a college gay youth group wanting to order custom cookies for National Coming Out Day. The bakery refused, citing a clash of ideology. This is a family business, the owner told the group, and we don’t believe in what you stand for, therefore we can’t fill your order. Gee, wonder what would happen if I, some time in February, walked in Just Cookies and wanted a custom order. Assorted cookies decorated with black, green, and red sprinkles. For Black History Month. Wonder what the answer would be? “We don’t do custom orders” or “We don’t want our business attached to something we don’t believe in”?
Anyway. the LGBT youth group filed discrimination charges. The bakery, located in the City Market (owned by the city of Indianapolis), was in danger of losing its lease. Wouldn’t you know that in the heart of Hoosier Hospitality, Just Cookies saw a huge surge in business. Seems there are more homophobes in this town than previously known. No wonder some gay workers, transferred here from more open and affirming environs, are reluctant to relocate. They think everyone here hates LGBT’s. This, dear readers, does not show off our city’s best to the rest of the world. Yes, the world knows our business, thanks to the Internet and WWW. No longer is Indianapolis sleepy little “NapTown” as back in the day when very few knew we were here, and Hoosiers preferred it that way. Thanks to God, those days are gone!
You know something, I wouldn’t be surprised if those gay bashers work for gays, or that some of their employers’ most lucrative contracts come from the LGBT community. Maybe someone who’s LGBT signs their paychecks, cleans their offices, delivers their mail, drives their kids’ school bus…You get the picture.
For once I’d like to encounter a shy, quiet kid not being bullied and teased for being “different.” Apparently being introverted, creative, artistic, quiet, even a bit bookish earns the “fag” or “dyke” label. Oh, I get it. Just because those who don’t party hearty and immerse themselves in books (fantasy & sci-fi are my faves) and music (classical, punk, jazz, blues, folk, alternative. Never rap, hip-hop, anything commercial), are instantly labeled. It’s got to stop. Already we have several children dead because of people’s tremendous thoughtlessness and gross disrespect.
Kids aren’t born bullies. They aren’t born to hate or to drive a kid to suicide. Such nasty traits are learned from the adults in charge. A serious attitude adjustment is in order for the hard-headed, hard-hearted, self-righteous lot who could care less. They don’t realize their actions and sentiments hurt far more than the targets of their hate and misguided “goodness.” Such affects an entire city, much to its detriment.