Gay people are walking around scared, and they have been walking around scared their whole lives.
How do I know? When I asked four gay couples in my community to lend their voices to a story on Washington’s marriage equality bill, SB6239, only one pair agreed to be featured in the story - and those two agreed with fear and trepidation.
Marge and Pat, John and Carl, Sunny and June, (names changed) each went home to their partner, discussed the interview seriously, and opted out. John and Carl initially agreed - we even had set a day and time to meet - and then they backed out.
Carl said he had read the comments to a thread on the Methownet.com bulletin board and “got nervous.” He said, “We own a business, and we are not comfortable putting ourselves out there for scrutiny.”
The bulletin board thread he referred to started as a positive remark - someone posted that they were proud to live in this state. Subsequent comments were mostly supportive until it got to the guy who basically said, “Next they’ll want to marry their dogs.”
Sunny said, “We've only been met with kindness in this valley, and it would be very sad for us to read any hateful backlash letters pointed at us as a couple and parents in the following week (or even worse, have [our son] read the letters).”
Pat is in seminary and said it would be “complicated.”
So, I get it. We all just want to live our lives, not stick our necks out too far - god knows gays and lesbians already stick their necks out just by being themselves - and continue to live in this welcoming community. We don’t want hate directed at us.
But who is going to tell this story? And how long must people walk around in fear?