HOBITs and Homophobia

Timor-Leste pride march, 2019

Timor-Leste pride march, 2019. Author photo.

Tackled, sprawled on the ground, being punched as the assailant shouted “fucking cocksuckers.”

Seeing  gay and bi kids excluded and marginalized in high school. Seeing trans people forced to justify their humanity on a daily basis.

Sitting in a cafe having lunch and the man at the next table looks over and says coldly and deliberately: “Wipe your boyfriend’s cum off your face and shut the fuck up, you fucking faggot.”

Treated by some friends and relatives as lesser, not worth treating equally. Losing some friends who couldn’t accept me.

Just a typical growing up gay in Canada story.

May 17 is the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (it rejoices in the acronym IDAHOBIT). Seems especially important this year. ILGA writes:

COVID-19 has imposed on LGBTI people an unprecedented dual reality – the need for community clashing with the imposed necessity for social distancing – when in fact LGBTI people have been victims of the most extreme forms of social, legal and religious distancing known to humane societies for millennia.

A lifetime of being pushed away is a pretty common experience.

Seeing homophobia’s past and present is important.

Marking the day internationally is important.

Homophobia crosses borders. It’s terrific to see more and more international solidarity crossing borders too. This is an area here Canada has been helpful recently – a welcome change from when many of us were growing up.

There’s still lots of work to do. Transphobia is still everywhere from North Carolina bathrooms to Timorese homes to Canadian public libraries. Governments like mine merrily sell weapons to countries that have state-authorized murders of gay people, like Saudi Arabia. But IDAHOBIT is a source of so much hope and coming together across borders.

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