I was walking down the street in NY holding a friend’s hand. We walked by a bunch of young men, just finished playing ball at a local church. Next thing I know, an egg is whizzing past my adam’s apple. One tiny bit to the sice, with the force of that egg, I might have been dead. It was thrown that hard.
Because we were holding hands. I was in relationship with this woman. But I’m a mostly hetersexual woman and operate from that privilege. It’s ok for me to hold my partner’s hand. It makes me confident. It perhaps also made me foolhardy. I continued to hold her hand, to insist on my right to do so… but depending where we were, it may have been a stupid thing.
These were young kids in a group. They were frightening… groups are always frightening. But I kept thinking… what if I’d been hit. They’d have scattered, and V. would have been able to identify them. We lived next door to that church. Their lives would have been ruined, because someone told them that queers were an ok target.
Nothing happened to me. I was just sobered. But I have friends who have been beaten and left for dead in a city. Just for “walking” gay. You read stories about women and men who are assaulted. You hear stories about people whose lives are just dogged by ugliness for looking like they look or for loving whom they love.
How are we allies to our GLBTQ friends? We say we are. Do we “tolerate” their relationship? Do we accept it? Do we celebrate it?
How do we make life easier in the world for them? How do we take some of the risk-taking on us? How do we create a safer world?
I’m wondering if part of it isn’t leaning in… becoming more intimate with our dinner partners. Becoming more demonstrative with one another.
We can also be aware and speak up. When we see something hateful happen… step in. It’s not always a good idea to confront, but it’s always a good idea to comfort and to stand by.
But if the downtown of a small village suddenly broke out into hand-holding and intimate conversation… how could that be anything but good?