I should have published this on Tuesday.*
My nickname is gender-neutral. The name that the Rocket Scientist goes by with his friends is gender-neutral. The license plate on Vincent, the black Mustang, has both those names joined by “N”. It could be the license plate of a couple composed of two men, two women, or one of each. We also have a prominent “NO on 8” bumper sticker.
I live in Northern California. Of anywhere in the country, I would think that this area has the lowest level of homophobic bigots looking to inflict violence. Small numbers or not, they’re still here.
All the vandalism started around the time the Proposition 8 fight hit high gear a couple of years ago and has continued. The tires of the Mustang have been slashed at least twice. (Not only while it was sitting in front of our house, either.) The tires on another of our cars have also been slashed. Acid has been poured on Vincent’s bumper. The car has been keyed twice. As far as I knew, nothing had occurred while anyone was around to see it happening…
Wednesday, I found out that The Rocket Scientist had been confronted with the homophobia that exists even here. He was driving around town a couple of weeks ago, and pulled up to a light. Two people in the car next to him screamed “Faggot!!!” and tried to spit into his window. RS laughed at them and drove off. Fortunately, they were only armed with words and spit, not rocks or guns.
We have no intention of either changing license plates or removing the sticker.
I’m lucky. Because of my life circumstances, I am spared a lot of crap that other LGBT people deal with on a regular basis. When you are a bisexual woman with kids, married to a member of the opposite sex, the default assumption is that you’re straight. So, yes, for a long time I have been coasting along on heteronormative privilege, telling myself and others that my orientation was only the business of the people I had sex with. I still believe that to be true, for each and every one of us…
… in an ideal world.
We don’t live in an ideal world. And it is not enough anymore simply to indicate I stand in solidarity with those seeking human rights for all. As though I were simply a dedicated but removed bystander. As though it were not my skin on the line as well as so many of my friends. Silence is complicity. Just because I am married to a man does not mean that I always will be. Just because I live in an area where I am relatively safe (although, as mentioned above, not nearly as safe as I would have thought) does not mean I always will.
Silence = death.
I choose life.
*October 11 is National Coming Out Day.