Um, pardon ...
I was chatting with someone, that I don't know very well, about the controversy over Rex Reed's comments about Melisssa McCarthy's weight. During the conversation she referred to Mr. Reed as "just an old fag."
Before I continue let me tell you something. I hate that word. When growing up, feeling like the only gay kid in the world, I heard the words ... fag, gear box, homo are but a few. Those words terrified me more than they hurt me. I desperately didn't want to be someone who had a whole 'nother set word weapons that could be used against me. I already had 'fatty fatty two by four' and 'lardass' and 'pig face.' To this day I don't like "fag" or "fatty" or any similar words that have come along, and, ultimately I don't like name calling. I'm not even very comfortable with the "I'm X so I can use the word." You use it, I hear it, the context may matter to you, it kinda doesn't to me. So. I don't like the word. Back to what happened.
When the word "fag" was used, I said, politely but firmly, "You do realize that I'm gay don't you." Recognition dawned on her face that she'd used a derogatory word and, after a second's fluster, she said, "Oh, that's OK, I don't think of you as gay."
Um, I do.
This has happened to me a number of times as a disabled dude too. People thinking they are giving me the bestest and biggest compliment when they say, "I don't think of you as disabled, not really."
Um, I do.
I think that some of us in minority communities play the "we're just like you," tune far too often. I'm not "just like" anyone. Further the fact that I 'm gay, I'm fat, I'm disabled, affects my perception of myself, my world and my experiences in the world. I have a whole different set of "truths" than you may have. I think that one of the best aspects of DIVERSITY doesn't come from any struggle for sameness but from the celebration of differences. Gay people are different from straight people in some fundamental ways. Disabled people are different from non-disabled people in some equally fundamental ways. That's a GOOD thing. What we bring to the table, when the world holds a pot luck, are dishes created from ingredients that grow in the furthest regions of our world - and they'd be missed.
The fact that those in the "norm" (and don't tell me there's no such thing as "normal" - you may want to believe that but none of them do) feel that they are somehow elevating me when they "don't consider me different" is insulting. I don't feel "elevated" I feel discounted, I feel erased, I feel that someone just spit in my potluck casserole.
I've said it before.
That isn't all of who I am, but it IS who I am.