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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Say No To Hate: How my cousin survived


It’s amazing to me the number of people who say that young kids can’t know if they are gay. That it’s the media’s fault when a child as young as seven comes out. In part that statement might be true. Back when I was younger there were no positive gay role models. People my age and older only saw the negatives of being gay. There were no openly gay cool people on TV. There were no shows that dealt with homophobia and the damaging effects. There weren’t books that showed gay characters could make it in life, finding happiness. Now the media has changed. I’m proud to be an author of gay fiction. I want my gay readers to know that it’s okay to be gay. I want their families to know there is nothing wrong with being gay. That loving another person of the same sex is fine. The way I show that it’s okay to be gay is to write about people in fictional situations making a difference in this world, and in the case that I put out a scifi book, making that difference in the universe somewhere out there.

You see, when I was growing up gay was not okay. Gay, homo, Nancy boy, butch girl, and lesbian were all words used to mark others in a hateful way. I heard those words used to describe many people, some of those people I loved.

My aunt and uncle moved to my hometown when I was about nine. I loved my uncle and aunt. When I was very young, a baby, we lived with my uncle and aunt for about nine months. Then each summer and every winter I went to spend a few weeks to a few months with them. I remember my uncle was the first man to take me into the ocean even though I was terrified. My uncle would lift me up on his shoulders and carry me into the water because I was the youngest in the family. His children were teens or near teens and I was treated special when I went to visit their family. I loved my cousins; especially my cousin D. Yes, even though D is out now, I’m hiding his name.

Because of all the time I spent with my cousins, I almost felt like they were brothers and sisters to me. I felt closest to the youngest two and D was the youngest therefore the one cousin I was very close too. When my cousins moved to our town there were a lot of family get-togethers. We lived about four miles apart and my aunt and uncle were common fixtures around the kitchen table at my house and we were frequent guests at their house. I guess the adults didn’t realize how much of a listener or that I understood what they were talking about when they would have a big powwow at our house. There were whispers and hushed discussions. Words said and crying. You see, D was gay and my aunt and uncle wouldn’t stand for it. They’d already had to deal with one child who married outside of the Caucasian color wheel and they couldn’t stand for D to be gay.

A date was arranged because 30 years ago people thought you could just put a gay guy together with a girl and he’d be cured. My next-door neighbor had a daughter. I’m not sure how my cousin worked it all out, or what was said, or how they got around the complexities, but my favorite cousin and my next-door neighbor dated through high school. They both had a dangerous secret and they found a way to keep their parents off their backs and survive through the difficult high school years. She was a lesbian and he was gay. I love her for protecting my cousin. I haven’t spoken to her since she graduated high school. Her family moved and she was so much older than I, however, I’m grateful that she provided a safety net for my cousin who was trapped in a time when it was NOT okay to be gay. Now days it would be different. He may still have to remain in the closet if he was a teen now, but it wouldn’t be as bad. It’s sad that he had to go to such extreme measures to hide who he really was, but through out history people have found ways to keep their secret.

I know gay men and women still feel that pressure to hide. Words like “At least I’m not gay,” or “You know, he’s gay,” whispered in tones that suggest it’s a bad thing to be gay hurt others. Those words not only hurt those who are gay, but they also hurt everyone who hears them. There is nothing wrong with being gay. It’s not a disease, a problem to be fixed, and dare I say it, being gay in not a sin. I know the bible thumpers will scream and shout about that one, but I’ve read enough to know that homosexuality isn’t a sin. Do some investigating and figure it out, don’t rely on what your pastors tell you.

I don’t know what would have happened to D if he came out back when he was in high school. I shudder to think of him being the target of hatred. He’s out now and I couldn’t be prouder of him. It’s taken him a while even though he has lived with his partner for a very long time. I’m happy he’s happy, that he has someone who loves him. I’m also thrilled that he never fell victim to an attack that left him maimed, or worse, dead. But all too often people think hurting a gay person is excusable. It is not. Purposely hurting others is never excusable.

I’ve said it before, gay men and women are the bravest people I know. It takes guts to live out loud, not denying who you are and embracing the real you. Damaging another soul is wrong. Be uplifting to others, because as the old saying goes, if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.

Yes, I’m doing a giveaway associated with this hop. Just comment and you’ll be entered to win a copy of Selling It.

Visit the Hop page for more links. http://hopagainsthomophobia.blogspot.com/

And remember homophobia damages, so say no to hate.

36 comments:

Scarlett Knight said...

NOH8! Thanks for sharing this! Keep spreading the message of love :)

N.J. Nielsen said...

I agree, thank you for sharing. And thank you for taking part in this blog hop.

KimberlyFDR said...

Wonderful post! And thanks for taking part in the hop :)

kimberlyFDR@yahoo.com

Cherie Noel said...

Thanks for sharing this. This blog hop is pretty awesome.

Emiliana25 said...

Thank you for sharing, I'm glad your cousin had someone to help him.

emiliana25ATwebDOTde

Robin Saxon and Alex Kidwell said...

Such a beautiful story, Sara. It's amazing how universal that fear of discovery is; I found myself nodding along a few times, totally empathizing with your cousin. Thank you for sharing. It's always great to hear a story about someone making it through.

-Alex

Andrea said...

Thanks for sharing and for participating.

andreagrendahl AT gmail DOT com

Dannyfiredragon said...

Wonderful post. Thanks for sharing

dannyfiredragon@aol.com

Anonymous said...

Hey Sara,

Thanks for your sharing and for being part of this blog hop. I loved your post.

yinyang1062 at yahoo dot com

jayhjay said...

Great post, thanks!

Joyfullyjay at gmail dot com

Rissa said...

Wonderful post...thanks so much for sharing :)

raynman1979 at yahoo dot com

Crissy said...

Your cousin sounds like a good man. He endured hate in order to be himself. :)

morris.crissy@gmail.com

DarienMoya said...

Thanks for sharing, you cousin sounds awesmazing!
pantsoffreviews@livedotca

kerry said...

Thank you for sharing this with us today

musings-of-a-bookworm@hotmail.co.uk

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your post. I think for lots of people, school/teenage years is just about surviving one day to the next - it shouldn 't be this way. We are taking steps - tiny ones to start with, but we're on the path!
How many more cliches can i get in!
Suze
Littlesuze@hotmail.com

StacieD said...

I'm sorry D had to pretend to be straight in order to survive High School. I'm glad he was able to find a partner that lets him be his true self.

geishasmom73 AT yahoo DOT com

Yvette said...

Thanks for sharing!
Yvette
yratpatrol@aol.com

Dawn Flemington said...

What a cool story... do you know if your cousin and the next door neighbor remained friends after high school? I loved reading this and thank you for sharing... romancewiththeflemingtons.blogspot.com

Tami B said...

So glad you cousin has found happiness. Let's hope that in years to come finding happiness is the norm and hiding who you are just because of who you love is not necessary. tb-kindle@hotmail.com

Leaundra said...

Great great story and glad your cousin had his friend. Glad he's doing well and that he has you as a cousin:-)

melita332002@yahoo.com

B said...

Wonderful! Such a great story and its awesome your cousin is thriving. I wish all kids get that love and don't have to hide.
Thank you for participating in the hop!
Bella
bellaleone4 at gmail dot com
www.bellaleonebooks.com

nancy said...

I guess it shouldn't amaze me that so many of my favorite authors have such stories in their personal histories. Thanks for sharing.

Foretta said...

Thanks for participating in the hop. This is a great cause that I pray one day will not be needed.

forettarose@yahoo.com

Gabby-Lily Raines said...

Thank you for the wonderful post.

shadowlord28 @ gmail.com

~Ley said...

It's wonderful that your cousin had someone there for him. Thanks so much for sharing with us, Sara.

ashley.vanburen[at]gmail[dot]com

gigi said...

Great post. Thanks for participating in the HOP.

gisu29(at)gmail(dot)com

Layladawna said...

Thanks for sharing! All the stories I am hearing today because of the hop are amazing.

burchills AT gmail DOT com

Emily said...

Thanks for sharing. I'm glad things worked out for your cousin. And thanks for participating!

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

L.M. Brown said...

Thank you for sharing your story in the blog hop. Very uplifting post!

Erica Pike said...

I already have the story, so please exclude me from the giveaway ^.^

I'm so glad your cousin and your neighbor were able to be there for one another. My eyes nearly bugged out when I saw that, because coincidentally, it's the story of the main character in my LiAW story. Not the exact same circumstances, but a boy and a girl playing boyfriend and girlfriend to protect one another.

Anyway, thanks for taking part and for sharing this :)

Juliana said...

Thanks so much for being part of this blog hop!
OceanAkers@aol.com

JoAnna said...

Thanks for sharing. I like to think many of us are teaching our children that you should judge people. My daughter has even took a stand in support of one here friends when they were called names. I couldn't be prouder. Thanks for the giveaway!

Beckerjo at verizon dot net

Peggy said...

Thanks for the post it was great, I love the hop.

peggy1984@live.com

Tabatha Hansen said...

Thank you for your post! This blog hop has been very inspiring and hopeful for equal rights.

Thank you again!
Tabatha Hansen
mmparanormalromance@gmail.com
www.mmparanormalromance.wordpress.com

PaParanormalFan Renee said...

Hello Sara,

Thank you for sharing such a Wonderful, personal story with Us & for participating in the Hop Against Homophobia.

I believe everyone deserves to be Openly Happy in Life, to be with the Person who Loves & Completes Them, without having to be subjected to the ignorance of some close-minded people. True Love does not see Race, Gender, Socio-Economic Status, etc….if people understood that, there would be so much more Happiness in this World….We Could Hope, Right???

I would very much appreciate the opportunity to be considered in your very generous giveaway of a copy of "Selling It". Thank You.

Take Care Sara & Wishing You Well,
PaParanormalFan Renee
paranormalromancefan at yahoo dot com

Yto said...

thanks for this post - it made me think a lot.

witchvela at web dot de