Today is National End Homophobia Day. This is my story of being gay bashed twice since moving to Portland. Yes, homophobia exists everywhere even here in this liberal, gay-friendly city.
I went into a coffeeshop today, and everyone working there had on bright spring colors. It was obviously intentional. I said something about it to the guy ringing me up. He didn't really respond to my comment. Then I asked him if it was some kind of special day. He quietly and awkwardly said to me, "I guess it's National End Homophobia Day." It struck me that he was a little hesitant to say it out loud like someone might be offended or that a customer might then know that he was gay. I exclaimed how wonderful and necessary it is to bring homophobia to the light.
Sometimes, it's easy for me to forget that homophobia still exists because of the friends I have, the people who I have surrounded myself with, and because I live gay friendly city. But since being in Portland I have had two very disturbing experiences with intense homophobia.
I was riding my bike home late one night on 21st St. in the NW district of Portland where I live. About 4 blocks from my apartment there were 3 young jock-type men standing on the corner. The second I saw them my intuition told me that something was about to happen, and sure enough, as soon as I started to pass them, one of them jumped at me swinging his fist and just missed hitting me in the face. The 3 of them then started screaming "Faggot. You fucking faggot!!" I continued on. I was a bit rattled and distrubed. How could this happen in Portland?
The very next week I was riding my bike to Muu Muu's, a funky neighbor restaurant and bar, to visit with Doug who waits tables there. I was walking my bike to lock it up on the bike rack. Again, three guys (not the same guys) straddled the sidewalk. It became obvious that they were creating a barricade, and they weren't going to budge. I gathered my courage, and I barreled through their barricade determined not to back down. Again, I was immediately met with them yelling, "Faggot!"
Homophobia real. People get verbally and physcially abused daily just for being gay. We must rally together embracing, acknowledging and loving each other for our diversity. We must stand up with courage and with wholeheartedness.