glad that’s over…

i think i could have guessed, deep in my unconscious, that two days in the car with my older sister might prove to be a less-than-optimal combination…..

my visit to DC was what i would call ‘trying’.

my older sister was in a funk, which manifested itself in an absolute absorption in the book she was reading.  as in, when it got to be the time the three of us had agreed on for leaving, she was still lying on the couch, unshowered, reading her book.  when reminded that it was time to go, she would sigh heavily and say ‘i know, i know, i’m getting there’.  then continue reading.

it honestly went beyond frustrating and into funny.

then the fourth of july pool party happened, at my little sister’s straight ex-mormon friends’ house.  latent homophobia lurked just underneath the surface of the conversation, in ways that it would be impossible to explain to my sister without enrolling her in a six-week consciousness-raising endeavor.  she is very close to this couple, and with good reason.  they have been steadfast, loyal friends to her.

and homophobia, especially when people know to hide it, doesn’t really come up when you’re straight people hanging out in straight contexts.  it lurks subtly in conversations, when a former roommate is pronounced ‘…creepy…and probably gay.’  right?  that’s an ‘and’ there, not a ‘because’.  and yet, do you think that word would have been so frequently used if the former roommate hadn’t been presumed gay?  if the roommate had been a straight woman, and had had an unfortunate crush on the husband of this couple, would that have been creepy?  or would the wife of this couple have been jealous, or angry, or pitying, or any number of other reactions that wouldn’t have involved disgust and revulsion?

and it didn’t help me feel more comfortable when my sister chimed in with, ‘and [husband] is the straightest man alive!’

well, probably not, all things considered.  most men aren’t 100% straight, as anyone who knows anything about men who have sex with men knows.  vastly high percentages of straight men are perfectly willing to be sucked off by another man.  and why the protestations and affirmations?  my entire family uses this kind of language; one friend is ‘so straight’, another is ‘straight as an arrow’, another is ‘the straightest person alive’.  even my sisters are ‘really, really straight’.

that’s fine, i refer to myself as ‘really gay’, or ‘super queer’.  but i think when this kind of affirmation is used over and over, it reveals a certain panic that is underlying.  my family didn’t use that language before i came out.  why?  because they weren’t worried about it.  they didn’t think about gay people.  the more it comes up, the more they have to assert how straight they are, and their friends.  it’s not about gay-bashing; i don’t think my little sister would tolerate outright hate speech.  although, i don’t know.  i don’t think she would bring me into contact with friends of hers that participated in it, but she might continue hanging out with them.

another priceless moment was when my older sister said that she is annoyed by people using foreign languages to communicate with each other here in the US.  she thinks if you are here to live you are obliged to learn english with no delay.  you ‘can’t be part of society’ if you don’t speak english, also it inconveniences her if she’s trying to communicate with someone and they don’t speak good english.

at this point the top of my head almost blew off, and i had trouble remaining in my seat and not throttling her.  i wonder how long it would take her to learn a new language if she endured massive privation and danger to cross a border, landed in an extremely marginalized community that spoke her language when she got there, and had absolutely zero resources to ‘learn the language’ once there.  also once there facing massive discrimination and economic hardship, and [since this is the norm] managing to put some of her meagre earnings aside for her family back home.

gee, i wonder why so many immigrants don’t speak english so well?

and, obviously, if you really feel that strongly about it, the ONLY WAY to respond and save your self-respect is to 1. volunteer as an esl teacher and 2. donate money to organizations who teach esl.

but, instead, she’s enjoying her $8000 tax credit for buying a yuppie condo and is happily planning a two-week, several thousand dollar trip to hawaii.

ok, i will stop ranting now.

so glad you stopped by for your weekly dose of invective…sunnier FG times coming soon, in which i will introduce you to my amazing porch garden.



8 responses to “glad that’s over…

  1. I adore your rants. Also, I have no idea how I can read “sucked off” and not for a moment think of it as vulgar simply because it was you who wrote it. Why is that?

    I’m surprised you held your tongue throughout that trip and I’m proud of you for not breaking bottles over people’s heads. You show great restraint, sweet one.

    I look forward to getting to know your porch garden. I am very much looking forward to my very own $8,000 tax credit. In my defense, I have been teaching proper English to my foreign language speaking parents for 30 + years now. 🙂

  2. What I find interesting with some of my friends post coming out and their language is more that they feel they now have to preface certain comments with “I mean no offense….” when they want to ask me something about my personal life. Like “Please don’t take offense, but how do you refer to your … partner?” Why I would be offended I have no idea. I think it just marks a certain discomfort on their parts that they at least seem to be trying to address.

    As for the people who come to the US and don’t speak english. That made me LOL. Since I have just recently moved to Switzerland and I’m trying to learn German, I have no idea how anyone learns English when they arrive in the US. Although I do think people should at least attempt, but perfect english. Maybe when mine is perfect I’ll expect everyone else’s to be as well 😉

  3. oh, dear, i’m glad you made it through =)

    and i can’t help but wonder to what extent such ideas about non local-language speakers transfers to americans abroad.

    i suppose it’s a prejudiced assumption, but i always feel like that woman i saw in mexico who thought that maybe speaking english *louder* would make spanish-speakers understand her better probably complains about “them” not speaking english in the u.s.

  4. Oh damn girl… don’t know how you did it… but I’m glad it’s over for ya! 🙂

  5. Well hello there!

    I’m behind the curve, as per usual, because I didn’t know you were back until just now. I also squealed at the breakfast bar when I saw you were “home” so Rhett knows now, too.

    We both say “Excellent! Awesome!” to all of your news. And congrats on surviving the straights AND on having the fortitude to continue “trying” with your family.

  6. I know that lurking homophobia so well … it’s not outright hate speech, but it’s just as bad, in my opinion. Couching it with tolerable words doesn’t make it any less offensive.

    I’m glad you made it through … a family vacation is the stuff of nightmares for me!

  7. psst.. I love the “Super Queer” ! Have I told you a million times yet that I am glad you’re back.. well consider this one million and one !

  8. Good for you, for not strangling anyone. Whew! Makes you appreciate your chosen family all the more, doesn’t it?

    What made me laugh was when my sister in law actually referred to me as T’s girlfriend for the first time. She had her hipster friends over and for once was pleased to have lesbo relatives. We increased her coolness! Which wasn’t hard, believe me.

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