I support gays, but I’m deathly afraid of themBy Xavier Burgin | 01/23/2012 11:10pm
Did my title grab your attention? Awesome. Now, let’s clear some misinformation up before we move further: I am comfortable around my gay friends and colleagues. They do not randomly break out in choreographed bouts of dancing while glitter descends from the sky. Contrary to Cartman’s advice to Butters, gay girls do not start “lezzing” out when they spend the night with one another. And gay people do not have a walking aura that automatically forces you to question your sexuality and buy a copy of Cosmopolitan.
Most of us know this, and our lives go on normally when a gay individual interacts with us. Still, we all know that certain person who goes into an uncontrollable fit of awkward looks and uneasy greetings when they meet someone gay. This article is not about them. This article isn’t even about the individuals who vehemently oppose homosexuality and incite violence when faced with it.
This is about the person who sits in between. A former aide to Ron Paul recently came out and spoke on his former boss’s aversion to gay individuals. Ron Paul had a significant supporter named Jim Peron who has influential connections in San Francisco. Jim was also flamboyantly gay. Ron considered Jim a good friend but was noticeably uncomfortable with his sexuality.
Ron used Peron’s home as a base to campaign. The former aide has denied any allegations Ron Paul is homophobic but did admit that Ron Paul asked him to find a restroom outside of Peron’s house. Apparently, he was uncomfortable with using the same bathroom as a gay man. The aide laughed it off, until he realized the request was not a request, but a serious demand.
Of course, the Ron Paul campaign has dismissed the aide’s confessions. They have labeled him as a disgruntled worker, but this incident is interesting and speaks to a lot of Paul’s philosophy and actions. Ron Paul supports gay’s rights to do whatever they want in their private lives but is undeniably uncomfortable when in their vicinity.
I know a lot of individuals at this half-way point. They support gay rights, but they are deathly afraid of being around gay people. They want equality for these individuals but couldn’t sit in a room with one if notified of the person’s sexuality.
This is a conundrum. It is the equivalent of a white person supporting civil rights but retaining an aversion to being around black people, or an individual condemning people who label Muslims as terrorists but who also feels uncomfortable in the vicinity of them.
Is this bad? Is this hypocritical? On one side, their support may seem hollow, but on the other side, this may be seen as progress. They may feel uncomfortable, but at least they actively try to fight against the prejudice or unease they retain. It’s a weird situation to balance, one many people do not experience until it happens.
I don’t think that makes them bad at all, but just as they’ve made an active pursuit to support gay rights, they should actively ask themselves why a person’s sexuality scares them.
Xavier Burgin is a senior in New College studying Film Production.