I wrote this two years ago, on the third anniversary of my Nan’s death. I want to share it with you all, because much as I would like to say I feel healed, I can’t. It’s been five years. I don’t think I can ever forgive that church for forcing so many things to be unsaid.
You see, when I think of my gran, I imagine sharing all the things I do with her and I know how proud she would be. I can imagine exactly how everyone in her town would know hopelessly-exaggerated versions of every achievement I’d made, and I can feel that secretly-delighted mortification of hearing them back after a few rounds through the grapevine. I know that she’d have been up at the Galas talking David Norris’s ears off whether he liked it or not, and that every newspaper article about derby or demonstrations where you could kind-of see the side of my face would be saved and shared with half the town. I know that, and despite the everpresent ache of missing, that knowledge buoys me up and leaves me feeling so loved. Even though she’s gone for so many years.
I think about my nan, though? I miss her so much. I think about how much I love her. How close I always felt to her. How I idolised her when I was a kid, and how I grew up and.. well, that never really changed. I never thought of her with anything other than love. But right in the middle of that love? Is the knowledge that even if she was still alive, I’d have to keep so much from her. I can’t imagine how she’d feel about the things that I do. I’d still keep so many of them from her.
Because I was afraid. I was afraid that words would leave my mouth meaning “here is how my heart is wired and where I find joy” and reach her ears as “I am broken and my heart is bent towards evil”.
I hesitate to describe any one moment as the worst. Grief is always different, and to say this one is the worst feels like a denial of all the rest of it. Like it implies that I loved the others less.
When my gran- my maternal grandmother- died, the loss was profound but we knew it was going to happen. Dementia is almost incomprehensibly cruel, but the one thing it does give you is a long time to say goodbye. A decade of being present as this woman I loved changed into someone I loved no less fiercely, but differently, time and again. And a few days I’ll be grateful for forever, when we knew this was the end, we gathered together, sat vigil by her side and said goodbye over and over. And when she was gone we all piled onto her bed and hugged her goodbye and talked for hours and slept and ate apple cake and made horrible jokes. And she stayed in her front room for the rest of the week while hundreds of people came to say goodbye. We ate more apple cake and my cousin said a mass in the kitchen and the Catholics passed around communion wine while the assorted nonbelievers sat on the floor behind the counter drinking Coronas.
In a small, secret part of my mind I’ve always wanted to be an advice columnist. I mean, don’t we all? In the absence of any actual people asking me actual advice, I’m going to take the next best thing. That’s right! It’s time to respond to the search terms.
1. How to not be a douchecanoe
I find that it helps to take a mental step aside from my own perspective to try to see a situation from someone else’s point of view. Don’t assume everything’s about you. Be considerate and kind and understand that people don’t owe you more than consideration and kindness in return. Be clear about your own boundaries and gracious about the boundaries of others.
If you’re having a specifically pronoun-related attack of asshattery, try my detailed advice. For simply being more excellent all-round, spend a few days reading through Captain Awkward. Pay close attention to the comments.
Please refer to question one. Repeat frequently until you understand the reasons why it is truly terrible. Then promise to do better next time.
3. ah women unicorn bisexual
You wouldn’t want to hurt the unicorn, would you? Would you?
But seriously: if by ‘unicorn’ you mean ‘a hot bi babe who will sex up me and my girlfriend/boyfriend’, then I’d recommend starting with a couple of understandings:
The amount of ‘unicorns’ in the world is far outweighed by the amount of m/f couples who are looking for them. You gotta impress, y’know?
Despite the name, they are people. Not mythical creatures. People with feelings and desires and boundaries all of their own, which are going to be every bit as important as yours are.
The world doesn’t owe you a unicorn.
With these 3 facts, you’re now better informed than 99% of people out there looking for unicorns! Go forth and be lovely and have fun!
Oh, I hope not. As far as I know, though, she was far more afraid of a long and painful end then death itself. According to her partner, her dearest wish was to die peacefully in her own home. She got that wish, at least, and I hope that she was loved and not afraid. What more can any of us hope for?
feminists shame men by calling them homosexual
Who are these ‘feminists’? Because they’re asshats of the highest degree and homophobes to boot, and I would like to have a word with them. Several words.
i am a lesbian dating a man
I hope you are very happy! A present for you: check out Erika Moen’s DAR. I just read it this week on the recommendation of my housemate. It’s a lovely comic about a woman who is, among other things, someone who identified as a lesbian until she met her husband. It’s super cute and full of <3
what sauce is chicken wings cooked in in ireland
Potato. Just potato.
need people to talk to about being closet
Oh, honey. The closet is a scary place to be, isn’t it? I don’t know where you are or what you’re in the closet as, so I can’t offer specific advice- although do try googling your location and LGBT, if you feel brave enough. There might be an LGBTQ switchboard or community centre who you can talk to in person?
If not.. well, there’s the internet, and there are plenty of supports and advice online.
If I could only give you one piece of advice? It would be to care for yourself. Being in the closet is scary. So is coming out and being out. Both of these are things you can do from a place of harming yourself or a place of caring for yourself. Ask yourself- is being in the closet stifling who I am as a human? Is it keeping me from flourishing and feeling connected to others? But also ask yourself- Would coming out be safe for me? How can I protect myself through that process?
If you do decide to come out, think carefully about who to talk to first. That first coming out? It’s going to be the most vulnerable moment of all. If things go well, then for every moment after that you’ll have at least one person who’s on your side and who’s got your back. Do you know someone who you think is supportive of LGBTQ people? Better still, is there anyone you know who is already out? Are any of these people who you think could be trusted, both to keep your confidence as long as you need it, and to be kind to you through the process?
It’s okay if you find people online first. It’s okay to take your time. It’s okay to come out to only some people, to one or two, or to everyone. Remember: care for yourself.
do you put cumin on vegetables
I sure do! One of my favourite comfort foods is potato wedges made by chopping up some spuds (skin ‘n’ all, natch) and then roasting them with loads of cumin, garlic, salt, pepper, and paprika. Then I nom them up with BBQ sauce mixed with mayo. Yum!
lesbians in my soup
Oh dear. Are they burnt? You probably want to take them out and cool them down. Maybe a nice cold shower? Unless they’re in gazpacho, in which case a nice hot bath would be in order.
Also, how did they get there?
why dont gay men date lesbians
Why don’t gay men date lesbians. Why don’t gay men date lesbians? Why don’t gay men date lesbians?
p.s. Yes some gay men are dating lesbians I am sure because sexuality isn’t always black and white and people find love in all sorts of unexpected places and I hope that they are all very happy indeed.
Homophobia is often a symptom of latent homosexuality. Homophobes need to be encouraged to accept their orientation.
I quote it because it’s so common. We hear this all the time. Someone expresses wildly homophobic views, and the response is that they must be closeted themselves. They’ve got some issues to deal with, amirite? Some personal stuff they need to work out. Wink. Nudge. Know what I mean?
Yeah. I know what you mean.
Sometimes you’re right. Lots of people do respond to internal conflicts by acting out. Loads of vehemently homophobic people are closeted. But I’ve got a few issues with ‘homophobes are all queers’ being our go-to explanation.
You’re a straight ally or a happy out queer. You don’t go around using homophobic slurs- except maybe with your BFFs in private, because that’s different. Until, that is, someone starts loudly proclaiming that queers are evil sodomites who’re bound to hell and should be kept far, far away from children. Against them, all bets are off, and you just know that the best way to get under their skin is to call them the thing that they hate the most. And y’know what? I’ll bet you also do it because it’s fun. We don’t get many chances to make gleeful insinuations about someone’s orientation. That’s normally considered impolite, isn’t it? But when it comes to loud homophobes, we can gleefully let out our gossipy sides and speculate to our heart’s content.
It’s a pity that by doing that, we’re throwing queers under the bus. We’re perpetuating the idea that there’s something salacious about queerness. That it’s okay- even in very particular circumstances- to mock someone’s internal struggles with a homophobic society.
Closet cases’ orientations shouldn’t matter. You advocate homophobia? I’ll come down like a ton of bricks on your views. What goes on inside your head is irrelevant to me, in all but one instance.
You see, to be honest, homophobic closet cases are one of the few kinds of homophobes I’d have genuine sympathy for. I get that coming out is terrifying. I get that internalised homophobia can mess you up. Those things damage us all, and closeted homophobes have been damaged even more than most of them. I oppose their views utterly- and at the same time I wish them the best and hope that they’ll learn to accept and love who they are. But I know that’s one hell of a tough road.
Which brings me to straight people.
Straight people are off the hook.
A hell of a lot of the speculation about loud homophobes’ orientations seems to come, not from queers, but from straight people. The straight people who we know and love, who call themselves allies and love us right back. Lots of the time, it comes from straight folks who walk the ally walk as well as talking the talk- the people who march beside us, defend us even when we’re not around, listen when we tell t hem how it is, support us. I love you guys to pieces, by the way!
But when you say that the loudest homophobes are closeted LGBT folks, you erase the fact that the vast, vast majority of homophobia doesn’t come from closeted people. It comes from straight people. Casual, everyday homophobia overwhelmingly comes from straight people (and yes, by the way, I know that all of you aren’t like that). The vast majority of people who vote against marriage equality are straight. The vast majority of the people who draft gender recognition legislation that enshrines gatekeeping, divorce, diagnoses and compulsory surgery are cis. The people who think that knowing we even exist should be kept from kids, because we’re too ‘confusing’? Mostly straight and cis. The people who treat us ever-so-slightly differently, who tokenise us, who judge us by how closely we conform to stereotypes? Mostly straight and cis. And, yeah, most of the people who brainwash, reject and demonise us are straight and cis too.
But if we joke that homophobes are all homos, we let straight people rest easy. Homophobia becomes something that isn’t just targeted at LGBTQ people. It’s something perpetuated by us too. Homophobia stops being straight people’s problem.
It erases the structures that make closet cases into homophobes.
Do homophobic closeted queers exist? Hell yeah! Is it a disproportionate thing? I think it is! Do closeted homophobes come from nowhere? No.
Every closeted homophobe is themself a victim of decades of oppression. They’re not demons. They’re seriously, horribly damaged people who have been twisted into caricatures of the antithesis of what they should be. They’ve been so profoundly distorted by the communities they grew up and live in that It’s gotta be horrible, and they didn’t start it. Our society is riddled with homophobic structures both overt and subtle. Homophobic queers are the crowning glory of a society that tells us that who we are is shameful and disgusting. If we want to fix that? We have to look a little deeper. We have to quit looking at the weeds and dig out the roots.
Isn’t that just letting closeted homophobes off the hook?
I hope not!
There’s a huge difference between the responses that we have to homophobes who’ve been outed, and the idea that every single homophobe gets tarred the the queer label. If we know that a particular person is a hypocritical, lying piece of shit who’s, say, using their massive public influence to turn people against LGBT folks while secretly messing around with people of a distinctly similar gender to their own? They’re fair game. Homophobes in general, though? Let’s remember that they’re far more likely to just be garden variety hetero bigots.