Monday, May 13, 2013

Fear and Loathing in Real Life: Hop Against Homophobia and Transphobia 2013 by Cardeno C.



"I'm sick of the word homophobia. You're not scared; you're just an asshole." 

I've seen a few versions of this saying floating around the internet, most recently in video form. It's funny and catchy and gives us the "Yeah!" feeling. But is it true? 

My personal opinion is that there are some people who hate because of malice or evil or a blind devotion to a particular faith leader's interpretation of their religious text. But I want to believe, need to believe, do believe, that those people are the minority. I think most people make bigoted comments or say they are opposed to equal rights under the law not because of fear or loathing, but rather because of ignorance. 

For example, I recently had a dialogue with a person who said he was opposed to marriage equality because people shouldn't be able to call themselves married "just because they love someone." In his opinion, marriage has had a very specific definition for many generations and that definition shouldn't be changed. 

Now, I'm not going to say this view didn't elevate my blood pressure, because that would be a lie. But what I will tell you is that when I tried to stay as patient as possible and really engage in the discussion, what I realized was that this person didn't know about the legal impacts of marriage. I hope that maybe after we were done talking and I provided him with resources about the more than 1,100 federal rights provided by marriage, he realized that legally recognized marriage is about more than what he considers to be an amorphous concept of love and has real impacts on people's lives. I doubt he now wants his church to sanction marriages of same sex couples, but I hope he believes his government should.

I had a similar discussion about discrimination in the workplace where someone insisted that a person cannot be fired for being gay. Of course, this is patently false. The truth is that in 29 states a person can be fired simply for being gay and in 34 states a person can be fired for being transgender. Again, I provided information about this and the person softened his stance about the "noise" surrounding gay rights. 

Did my conversations make a difference? Did they change the hearts and minds of these two people? Maybe not. But maybe, just maybe, learning the truth about the laws in our country and about the lack of protections and benefits offered to real people made a difference not only to the people who heard the information from me, but also to their wives or siblings or friends or coworkers. 

While I may never know what impact, if any, I had, statistics tell us that the conversations being had by people every day are making a difference. Hearts and minds are changing. Equality is winning. So I will continue to try to hold my temper (and fail sometimes) and have the conversations that need to be had. I hope you'll join me.

May 17th is International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia and this post is my contribution to the Hop Against Homophobia and Transphobia. You can read more about the hop and find other participants here. And as part of the hop, I'm giving away the winner's choice of an ebook from my backlist to a (randomly chosen) person who comments. I'd love to hear from you. 

Speaking of giveaways, I'm giving away a copy of Until Forever Comesmy upcoming release at Stumbling Over Chaos and at Joyfully Jay (there's an excerpt there for you to read too).
UPDATE: The giveaways above are complete but there is a new giveaway active until 05/25 at Mrs. Condit Reads Books

CC
www.cardenoc.com

45 comments:

  1. Count me in.

    Christopher Hammel
    christopherhammel@yahoo.com

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  2. Whoa, I thought I was running late because I hadn't even thought of my post yet. Fortunately it's not due until later this week :)

    Always love your writing! Would love to add more of your novels to my collection.

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    1. Thank you. I only post on Mondays so that got my butt in gear to post early.

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  3. You're doing a great job ^.^ I try to inform people whenever I can and people in my family are probably starting to wonder if I'm lesbian (I'm seriously wondering if my parents do, because they keep talking about how it's okay to be lesbian, lol). I don't care if anyone thinks I am, though, because there's no shame in loving someone of the same sex ^.^ They'll just have to go "huh..." once I find myself ready enough to see about a boyfriend (if that'll ever happen!).

    Erica
    eripike at gmail dot com

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    1. Thanks, Erica. I bet those conversations are having more of an impact than we can guess. :)

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  4. I don’t believe that ignorance is an excuse for hurting someone, and especially nowadays with all of the resources available. A lack of knowledge is not an excuse when it comes to injustice.
    That said, I think that we lose perspective when we start talking about an issue and stop remembering that these issues have names and faces attached to them. Real people, everyday are being impacted. And as fellow human beings we need to strive for justice and fight for those whose very lives are being impacted.
    The pursuit of justice, mercy, and love are greater. If I strive to love people well, to talk with them, to open up and listen to what they are saying, then I can be a part of the conversation of their life. What are their hopes and dreams? What are their struggles? What is important to them?
    I can see and be moved to impact those things.
    When it comes to the issue of homophobia, I think there is a lot of shouting going on. I would love to see people sit down and introduce each other by name, talk more, shout less, share a cup of coffee. Lasting change happens when hearts change. And hearts change only when we understand the humanity behind the issue.

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    1. Thanks, Rach. Your congregants are lucky to have someone with your wisdom helping them.

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  5. I would love to join the contest. Great post by the way.

    Beth
    JPadawan11@gmail.com

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  6. You don't need to count me in :) I just wanted to say how much I love this post. It's true equality is winning. Finally. Patience and persistence are the keys. I live in a very closed minded state, raised in a fairly bigoted family and I have to believe that those people, the outspokenly bigoted and hate-filled ranters are the minority. I do believe it, strongly. I've seen proof of it in my family, people who were raised to hate people because there different now love and accept those people they always thought they were supposed to hate. It's a slow moving process...a lot slower than most of us want...but it is progress...What's that saying? Reach one, teach one. That's what we're meant for. That's why I stand up for what I believe in, for equality for all people. Because if I reach and teach one person or twenty, maybe, just maybe they will also reach and teach as well.

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    1. Thanks, Crissy. Inspirational and well said, as always. :)

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  7. You made some very wonderful points in your blog. I can only hope that those people, and so many other, are willing to open their ears and listen.

    Oh, and I would love to be entered in the contest. Thank you.

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  8. Oh, duh. My email is sophiebonaste@gmail.com.

    Thanks again.

    Sophie

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  9. Thank you for the lovely post and I must say I agree with you wholeheartedly based on my own personal experience. I used to be prejudiced against homosexuality as a teenager because I simply didn't understand it. Fortunately for me, a wiser friend pointed out that love is love and introduced me to M/M fiction. I was so moved by the first couple of stories I read that it changed my whole perspective until I started to take part in discussions on the societal issues as well, rather than seeing it as just a fantasy. Someone was patient with me and I'm a better person for it.

    You get so much further by engaging in conversation than through confrontation. That only leads to defensiveness. If you try not to judge or write them off as a bigot, you might just find that the person you thought was a homophobe is actually just misguided but willing to hear you out. If you're in the right – and we are – surely they'll come around.

    So thanks again for all you're doing! Oh and if the contest is still on, count me in!

    -Rosa
    rosanna146@hotmail.com

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    1. Rosa,

      I can't tell you how much your comment means to me. I started writing because I wanted to portray happy, positive gay relationships (instead of the death and despair I saw in movies and mainstream books). Hearing that people are reading these books and growing from them makes me feel like we're having a positive impact. I know it wasn't easy to share that personal information, thank you.

      CC
      (And the contest is open until the Hop ends on the 27th.)

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  10. I think I pretty much own your backlist, but I just thought I'd pop in to say great post. It's hard for me to care about people's motivations for hatred, when it's just as easy to get over yourself and let others live their own lives. I'll refrain from jumping on my soapbox. Awesome post, keep 'em coming!

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    1. Hi, JK. It's hard for me too, believe me. But I think the results can be worthwhile. Sort of like putting together a lovely gif - ;)

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  11. Please include me in the contest!! Thanks =D

    I have to admit I wasn't aware so many states would fire someone based on their sexual orientation and/or sex. I know it does happen but wasn't aware that there were this many states that would. I, mean how hard is it to allow someone live their life as they choose? No ones getting hurt and if a individual is offended by PDA they should just walk the heck away. Ughh... this is bringing to mind the terrible tragedy at Rutger's involving Tyler Clementi *runs away before getting too fired up about it*

    humhumbum AT yahoo DOT com

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    1. Thanks for the comment. Yes, that was terrible as were the wave of suicides at that time (and before and since). I hope we're making strides in that area too and that the progress we're making on the legislative side is showing the younger generation that they "fit" in this world.

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  12. No need to count me in, CC! I just wanted to say that although the road has been a hard one, now that things are starting to change there have been some positives in my little corner of the world. Be it because of what's been happening in the US or because the citizens of PR/people in the media are finally accepting change, we (supporters of the community and the community itself) are finally starting to be heard. There have been more publicity and more actions taken to reach equality. Hopefully it will lead to more change.

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    1. Hi, Shirley! I agree, we're seeing great changes and they're coming closer and closer together. It's no longer a matter of if, but a matter of when and the when seems like it's right around the corner.

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  13. I keep learning new things as I go from site to site on the hop. I didn't know about the employment laws in some states that are discriminatory in this way. I guess I've never worked for a place that had those rules.

    Thanks for your post and for the giveaway opportunity.
    sophiarose1816 at gmail dot com

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    1. Thanks for the comment, Sophia Rose.

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  14. It's been such an informative hop!

    vitajex(at)aol(dot)com

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  15. Thank you for the opportunity to win and for participating in the hop. It is such a great cause.

    Cheers
    Karl
    slats5663(at)shaw(dot)ca

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  16. If more conversations took place, our world would be in a better place currently. So please keep the conversations going. I try each time I hear a member of my family being a bigot or saying something they think is funny. I am not sure I am heard, but I can at least stop the words at the time. I would like to take this opportunity at this time to say thanks for your books. Your books have brought me to tears and have made me laugh. Thanks for supporting a more than worthy cause.
    wcyndy@rocketmail.com

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    1. Thank you so much for your comment. I'm sure that, at least on some level, you're being heard and your words are making a difference. I think it's wonderful that you keep trying. :) And I'm really glad you've enjoyed my books.

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  17. Great post! I guess you are right that many people do simply not know/acknowledge what "marriage" all entails. One of the scariest things is, that when you are not married and your partner is in hospital, their family can cut you off from seeing your loved one or having any input on medical treatments! It's really important to inform people that "marriage" is not just the ring, the party and the financial equality!

    Love your books and have your complete backlist :-)

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    1. That is a terrifying prospect, you're right, and I read about something like that recently.

      Thanks for being such a loyal reader!

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  18. Its slow, but even if we make one person change their stance, that is good - though I dont think I'm as patient as you!

    littlesuze at hotmail dot com

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    1. Oh, I'm not always patient. I strive to be, but sometimes I fail and throw my arms up and grumble and all that. And even when I'm being patient on the outside, during many of those conversations, I'm grumbling on the inside. :)

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  19. Thanks for hopping and sharing. One brick at a time, aimed carefully at a bigot's head. No no can't sink to their level but I can imagine beating some sense into their thick heads.

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    1. Thanks for participating in the hop.

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  20. I'm glad you spoke up, Cardeno, only because I do believe ignorance (and not the evilness) is what's behind that fear(phobia) we're trying to overcome. The more people know, the more they can be comfortable, which will open their minds. I have to and do believe things are getting better, but yes, there are still terrible for too many people. I hope as many people who have visited the hop will be inspired by all they've read to donate, stand up, and speak out, because I know it's been a wonderfully inspiring experience for me to be even more proactive in being part of the changes we need.

    Thank you so much for sharing with all of us!

    caroaz [at] ymail [dot] com

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  21. I've really enjoyed the hop. Thank you for taking part in the hop!
    sstrode at scrtc dot com

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  22. we have to plant the seed. whether or not it grows is beyond our control.

    lena.grey.iam@gmail.com

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  23. Thanks for participating in this great hop!

    penumbrareads(at)gmail(dot)com

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  24. Thanks to everyone who participated in the hop. Sophia Rose - you won! Please contact me with your choice of book.

    CC

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  25. Thank you for the post.

    peggy1984 at live dot com

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  26. Thanks a bunch for sharing and participating!

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

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