Wednesday, June 15, 2016

I Am So Very Sorry

I love you, you know that, right?

My sister, my sister-in-law, my friends from church, my writing buddies, my friends from the old days in NOW, my former clients, my neighbors, my friends from law school, my friends from college, my friends from high school and elementary school, friends of my friends who became my own friends - I'm picturing your faces, each of you, as I last saw you in person or as I see you on Facebook or Instagram or Twitter.

And I am sorry. So sorry.

Because I don't see you as "other" in your gayness, and because you choose not to dwell on the awful things that are said to you and about you, and because I see you smiling with your partners, husbands and wives and children and pets as you go about your everyday lives, I assumed, wrongly, that the hate out there in the world was more trivial than it truly is. That it was annoying, but not life-threatening. Because of the way you live your lives, I assumed that it didn't touch you.

I was wrong. I was myopic.

And I am sorry. So sorry.

I am sorry that it never occurred to me that you have to decide, on any given day, if you are willing to withstand comments, stares and rudeness by simply holding your partner's hand in public. An act of love and affection has greater weight for you, and I never realized just how much. Even simple, personal choices like your clothes, your hairstyle, your make-up (or not) are loaded with the amount and type of attention they might draw.

And I am sorry. So sorry.

I see you as my friends, my family, my colleagues: witty, smart, handsome, and beautiful; loving, compassionate, and generous, and all those other amazing things that you are.  I don't see you as victims.

I always saw the Kim Davises and the Pat Roberstsons and the Westboro Baptist Church folks as outliers, kooks, and fanatics; well outside the mainstream. And then a hate-filled man with a gun invaded a space where you could be free from the weight of the hate in the world, for just a little while. He killed and injured innocent people: human beings who just wanted to relax and have a good time in a safe place. I never saw it coming.

And I am sorry. So sorry. For the loss of lives, for the pain of the injured survivors, for the terror everyone in that club went through. For the pain and sorrow of their families and friends and the entire community. And I am sorry for how this affects you personally, because I know that it does, in ways that are different than the horror I feel.

I am sorry for being so clueless. I should have known better.

The good news is that, at 52, I am still learning. The bad news is that, at 52, I still have so much to learn.

Photo credit: Therese Fanta

1 comment:

  1. Dear Meg,

    A friend of mine shared your blog with me on my FB wall. As a member of the lesbian community I really, really appreciate it. I'm not sure that personally I need a statement of apology, e.g. "I am sorry," considering you are not personally responsible for any of the above mentioned horrors. However, what I do appreciate in your piece is the recognition and validation of what members of the LGBTQ community do live and grapple with on a daily level. Even though I have been out of the closet for over 30 years and happily married to my wife for close to 20 years I cannot openly show any signs of affection for fear of being attacked in public. Yes, you are correct, I have never been able to take the Westboro Baptist Church or the Kim Davies' of the world as the extreme fringe. That is a luxury I do not possess. Thank you for acknowledging that. Thank you for taking the time to thoughtfully sit down and express your self, too.