Bet I threw you off with my title didn’t I? Well, let me start back at the beginning.
As a child, my mother and I were best friends. It seems to be a common story among gay male children (or at least that’s been my experience so far). I would go grocery shopping with her, she introduced me to the symphony (I later learned to play the violin and upright bass), she took me to the theatre, to dance recitals, and introduced me to a world where I finally felt like I belonged. Prior to that, the only world I really knew was at school where I was just the “smart” one. People didn’t know my name, but they knew I answered the most questions.
I also had mostly female teachers in grade school up through high school. Most of my friends were girls. They got me.
I felt like my female friends, mentors and caregivers understood my heart. I was teased a lot about being “overly sensitive” or “too artistic” or whatever. But that didn’t come from the females in my life, it came from the males. I did not feel emotionally comfortable or safe with the men in my life. To me they represented pain, rejection, and cruelty.
But something happened after I came out. My friend balance took a huge shift from predominantly female to predominantly gay men. Which is kinda understandable given I had just come out and wanted to connect with my people.
And that is also when my misogyny began to grow. I began to participate in the, “Ew that’s a vagina,” conversations and many other awful conversations like them. I no longer viewed the females I interacted with in my life as some of the people who helped shape me. I viewed them as something I didn’t want.
So rather than concentrating on that, I would like to focus on what I’m doing now to move forward. Thank you to the kind woman who let me cry on her shoulder one night at Cell Block and pour out my soul to her. I hope you read this and it does you proud.
The first thing I’ve done, and now I’m doing it rather publicly, is admitting that I am (and was) wrong in my actions. I was wrong to treat people negatively. And it doesn’t even matter if no female ever heard those conversations because even having those conversations could’ve influenced my behavior. Or one of them could’ve overheard what I said, and may never have come back to a gay bar.
I’ve stopped having those conversations. And as kindly and gently as I can, I encourage friends that I come in contact with to stop having those conversations. I have a lot of privilege when it comes to being a white male, and I am comfortable using my power in this area to dissuade those from more misogyny and push more for acceptance, love and open inclusion.
That’s all I can do at this time. I’m owning where I’m at and acknowledging that there’s a lot of work ahead for me. I’m willing to take on that work and move forward. I hope that others will join me in allowing pups of all sexes and genders to join our family. Females helped me immensely in my growth as a person, and now it’s my turn to help them. Our community would be lost without their contributions.
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