2013 2

Update: Congrats to my 5 winners! Random.org picked KJ Charles, H.B., Lena Grey, Judi P, and Penumbra’s comments. I’ve already contacted the winners, so if you haven’t heard from me, check your spam folder! Thanks to everyone who commented – you’re all winners to me!

Today, May 17, is the International Day Against Homophobia & Transphobia. As some of you know, I live in the US state of North Carolina. In this state:

  • A parent’s sexual orientation can been used to deny custody and visitation rights
  • Assaults based on sexual orientation or gender identity are not considered to be hate crimes
  • You can be fired from your job for no other reason than being gay or trans
  • A little over a year ago, an amendment to the state constitution was passed outlawing marriage equality, because the original amendment one worked out so well (our state motto: “We Don’t Learn from History!”)

It makes me angry–furious–but I don’t want to write an angry screed. So instead I’m going to write about someone I almost never talk about: my dad.

My dad was casually homophobic (and racist) in the manner of most southern white men who came of age in the 40’s and 50’s. I remember him being concerned about the length of my nephew’s hair – what if people thought he was queer? I was only slightly older than my nephew at the time, and young enough to ask what that meant. What I got in return was a vaguely disgusted rant that answered nothing, least of all the next obvious question in my mind, which was “so what?”

Fast-forward to the 1990s. Gaps of years went by where I never heard from the man (which was the way I preferred it), so I can’t say exactly what happened to him, other than he bounced around to my sisters’ houses, getting thrown out one at a time, until he ended up running one of those little diner/convenience store combos that pop up near colleges. He was telling me about it during one of his unexpected, unannounced appearances on my doorstep, and in the course of things threw out: “We were mentioned in The Advocate not too long ago.”

Me: “Um, what? Why?”

Him: “Oh, you know, it was in an article about places gay people could hang out and not get hassled for holding hands or kissing or whatever.”

At this point, my eyes were about to pop out of my head, because I would never have expected this from him in a million years. “And you’re okay with that?”

Him: “Well, they’re just people like everyone else, aren’t they?” And then he went on talking about other things, and that was the whole of the conversation.

I relate this as a counterpoint to the list at the top of the blog. People can–and do–change their minds. Even crotchety old men. And if people can change, society can change. Some day history will look back on this time and wonder what the hell was wrong with people, just as we look back on the Jim Crow era and wonder the same thing.

As Dr. King said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

To thank you all for coming, I am giving away not one but five ARCs of Threshold (Whyborne & Griffin 2). Or, if you win but haven’t read the first book yet, I will substitute a copy of any of my backlist. To enter, please comment below. You must include your email so I have some way of contacting you. Winners will be chosen via random.org on May 28.

To read the other blogs participating in the hop, please go to the Hop Against Homophobia and Transphobia main site.


Comments

Hop Against Homophobia and Transphobia — 48 Comments

  1. This generation will be the turning point ! I definitely think we can change the social norms and we’ve made great strides with LGBT rights and will continue to and our fight against bigotry and hatred will prevail despite the up hill battle that it is. Our passion and drive for equality will turn the tides as long as we continue support it 🙂

  2. Well said. It’s really easy to see only the hate-filled shouters – because the people who’ve realised they don’t care are so much less visible – but these are the everyday stories that make it possible to *not* see the world as a seething mass of bigotry. Which is nice.

  3. My ex-father in-law used to think homosexuality was a disease that someone just hasn’t found a cure for yet. By my ex and I looked at him as if he was joking. He meant it. Today, however, he thinks differently. Yes, people can change 🙂

  4. I loved reading this post! Its a fact that people can change, we just need to educate them on the misconceptions. With my family they’re always thinking about gay men and how they have sex and as I tell them “you’re going about it the wrong way”. Just regular ole folks looking for love like most people and sex isn’t at the forefront. It still remains that people have a single story of what “being gay” is and in time I think minds can be changed.

  5. My country still has not reached the point where homophobia and transphobia are considered wrong, if you know what I mean. Even now, there are a lot of psychologists who still think any other spectrum of sexuality except hetero is a mental disorder.

    However, I’d like to think that there is progress. There are dialogues and workshops to help people understand better, there are also communities and groups to help GLBTQ friends although some must work underground to avoid threats. And the more people is being educated, the more they understand that GLBTQ people are just that, people. They are not threat, they are not sick, and they are not criminals. I hope, there will come a time where being GLBTQ stop being such a big deal…..

    • Thanks for sharing this, Theo. I think you’re right – education is the key. People fear what they don’t understand, but when it becomes ordinary they are no longer afraid.

      • Well, as a country we still have a lot to learn, but I’m optimistic that we’ll be able to catch up with the rest of the world eventually. Especially seeing that more people from younger generation are willing to open their mind instead of only following the older generation’s footsteps.

        Btw, my email address is nemo_amarcord@hotmail.com. I’m not sure if I still have to write it in my reply or writing it in the form with my name and website is enough 🙂

  6. As a fellow North Carolinian, I understand your frustrations over our state. I often look at some of the narrow-mindedness that still exists around us and wonder why some people cannot move forward and join the 21st century, leaving their hatred behind.

    Thank you for taking part in the hop!

    kimberlyFDR@yahoo.com

    • Thank you for commenting! I was crushed when Amendment One passed, but we’re still here and still fighting the good fight. 🙂

  7. I like to think younger people are more acepting so it was nice to see your dad had an about face!

  8. People can change, and I’m sure that many older people have changed their attitude once they realise that what they were taught was wrong is no longer seen as such.

  9. I love this post, Jordan! I live in the south too…born and raised. And it’s the little things that mean the most. Our families can surprise us…my mom and aunt certainly have.

    morris.crissy@gmail.com

  10. Thank you for taking part in the hop! one of the reasons i left my church was because i didn’t like the idea that being gay was wrong…as far as i am concerned some of the nicest people are gay

    parisfan_ca@yahoo.com

  11. Oooh, that gave me goosebumps, Jordan. Thanks for sharing such a hope-inspiring moment. I moved here last summer, just a few months before the election and I was so disappointed I didn’t get to vote in Maryland on the marriage equality issue. But we’ll have our day here, too—soon, I hope!

  12. What a great story! I was raised by active feminist parents and grew up hanging out with gay adults. It wasn’t until middle school that I encountered openly anti-gay assholes. Lucky for me that was in the Bay Area and so the same people out numbered the assholes and I could call them on their stupidity without fear.

    • My mom was one of the original flower children and was always “justice for everyone, yay!” My grandmother just thought “people should mind their own damn business” although she did give me the evil eye when I had a crush on an African American boy in middle school.

  13. That was an awesome post. Change really is possible. Thanks for doing the hop!

    Beth

  14. A great post! It is nice to hear of someone changing for the better. Too often we concentrate on only the negative. Thank you for sharing with us.

    your newest fan,
    jo

  15. My mum’s views have changed over the years (dad has always been pretty broadminded) – when I first came out as bi she was a bit shocked. When a few years later she said she just wanted me to be happy, I was surprised and delighted. And it’s always nice when you see that someone’s views have changed like that 🙂

    I love your books – read Hainted earlier this year, then the first couple of Master of Ghouls books. Looking forward to the next one 🙂

    • That’s wonderful, Sarah – I’m glad your mum came around. 🙂

      And thank you!

  16. Thank you for joining in on the hop. I didn’t know the views of homosexuality in N.C. so I found this interesting and informative.

    humhumbum AT yahoo DOT com

  17. Wow, what a terrific post!
    Here’s to the day that we no longer have a need for a Hop Against Homophobia and Transphobia!
    ~Cody

  18. Hi Jordan! Thanks for your great article and for participating in general. I have read Widdershins and really enjoyed it. It would be great to win the whole set! That’s very generous of you.

    lena.grey.iam@gmail.com

  19. I love that story – a dose of optimism is always good. (To counterbalance the first part – the worst IMO is that sexual orientation can be used to deny custody and visitation with your own children. I HATE when homophobic attitudes take stable, loving parents away from kids.)

    And I really would love to win that ARC 😉

  20. Do you think there might be hope for my idiot son-in-law? Following a comment I made about current news he said that he didn’t believe that “gay existed”. Gay men are just too lazy to try to find a woman and gay women are too ugly to get a man. I nearly had a stroke and fell off the couch, I was so gobsmacked. He is 54 and should know better; may have to give his mom the stinkeye the next time I see her. I have had a few “casual” conversations with my grandsons and hope against hope they have not contracted their father’s idiocy. Glad to hear yours has come around.

    ocanana@gmail.com

  21. I’m so lucky that I grew up with parents that let us decided what we thought of any kind of relationship on our own.
    They were never homophobic, they never said anything negative or looked disgustingly to any kind of sign that a couple wasn’t “normal” or a “straight” couple. they all just were in love.
    Thank you for being a part of this blog hop.

    Judi
    arella3173_loveless@yahoo(dot)com

  22. I love this personal story. I also experienced change in my family regarding homophobia. On the positive side, my parents were never rampantly homophobic but I recall that the only time the topic of LGBTs came up was in a mildly joking fashion. That changed when I came out to them and they are now proud supporters of LGBT rights. On the negative side, my older brother was accepting and supportive of me for a few years after I came out. Then he became a born again Christian and changed his position and attitude toward wanting to “bring me back” to Christian righteousness. But I do believe that’s not the norm. When people are faced with LGBTs in their families, among their friends, their co-workers, neighbors, etc., they tend to rethink their assumptions and attitudes.

    • Thank you for sharing your story, Andrew. Sorry about your brother, but I agree – I think that switch is the exception rather than the rule. Here’s hoping he changes his mind yet again. *hugs*

  23. This is a really great post. I always love hearing about people changing for the better. My father did, too, though not quite this dramatically.

    (Super excited about Threshold, by the way.)

    lelekia@gmail.com

  24. Wonderful post! The Dr. King quote is my favorite quote of all time! We’re traveling on the art towards justice right now, but we’re still on the uphill,slope. I’m so excited about the Supreme Court deciding on the issue of marriage equality. That is a shockingly effective way to get the information out into the public,sphere, to educate and inform people. It’s on now!!
    Urb
    brendurbanist @gmail. com

  25. Thank you for participating in the Hop, great post!!

    peggy1984 (at) live (dot) com

  26. I’m a little behind on my blog subscriptions, so this is late, but I wanted to say thanks for sharing the story about your Dad. It’s nice to hear something positive. I’m lucky – my wife tells me her parents were pretty thoroughly homophobic when she was going out with her first girlfriend, but they’ve come around. They participated in our wedding five years ago, and just last year her Dad volunteered that he had been proud to vote in favor of Maine’s marriage equality bill. We’ll probably never change the attitude completely, but we’ve already come further than I ever really expected to when my wife and I first moved in together almost 14 years ago.

  27. Life would be so much better if everyone could realize that out LGBT brothers and sisters are just people like everyone else. Thank you for participating in the hop and sharing your wonderful story.

  28. I think it’s great that people are capable of change, even years later. It shows great possibility for worldwide change for the better. Thanks so much for participating!

    tiger-chick-1(at)hotmail(dot)com

  29. I’m both a transwoman and a Lesbian, and I’ve run into almost no hostility at all since I began living in my gender of choice in 2010. It will require a lot of work and struggle to finish the job, but we’re getting there. Great blog post, Jordan. I hope to see you at ConCarolinas.

  30. I’m glad that your father (whatever his faults) came around to accepting people as people. After reading the description, I just bought Widdershins and would love to win its sequel!

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