I wrote a blog post several months ago about moving to Alberta and why. Conveniently, I used the word “fiancée” to hide the fact that I am a woman engaged to a woman.
Why would I do that? Because homophobia exists and I worry about losing a client because they’re not comfortable working with me as a result. Which is pretty sad – why would I want to work with that client if that’s the case?
Almost everyone on my Facebook feed today is wearing purple today. It’s a lovely thought – wear purple to show your support for gay folks – but it can also be slacktivism at its finest.
My friend Robyn put it well – “I’ll know we’re better when gay friends stop reflexively fudging their pronouns in unknown company.”
Wearing purple isn’t going to stop bullying. I feel like we’re missing the point in what’s going on. Important points like the fact that it’s all boys that are killing themselves, that gay taunts are so destructive to a young boy’s sense of manhood that he feels that the only recourse is suicide.
Wearing purple does show that you care, but there’s deeper issues afoot that I feel are being overlooked. You can say that these problems are only happening in small communities where social change takes a long time, but that isn’t true, either. How many times have you heard “that’s so gay” in Toronto, a supposed bastion of queer liberation?
I don’t want people to wear purple and then forget about what brought us here – the consistent, pervasive, ongoing assumption that somehow being gay is less than being straight.
And now, to end off with a nice, heartwarming tale from my friend Donna.
This morning in Tim Hortons in Burlington a girl I would guess to be around 15 was ahead of me in line and she kept looking back at me. When I went out to go to my car she was standing there and she said I like your purple shirt and she showed me she had one on too. I said…today is purple shirt day! She very suddenly blurted out that she is gay and she picked today to say that out loud for the first time. So while this does not fix everything…I feel like purple shirt day can still do some good…for that girl I think it did anyway.
That is awesome. I love that purple shirt day made a difference for that girl.