Simon Williamson, columnist with Georgia Voice

Simon Williamson: Left outside alone

Back when I was in my early twenties, I was thrown out of my friend’s house by his father, who had undergone the experience of finding out I was gay while a trickle of blood simultaneously permeated his alcohol stream. I walked in to see four of my friends sitting with this, at the time, respectable man, and he looked at me with contempt and began to bully me in the way so many of us know all too well. I got up and left while my friends sat there silently.

He wasn’t the first or the last person to be a total shit just because I was gay. It was the first time, however, that my friends had left me in the lurch, and that made me sadder than the day I realized the chickens we ate and the chickens in the farmyard were the same thing.

It was easy enough, in my circumstances, to just go and make some new friends in whose company I felt safer. So that’s what I did. But even 12 years later, it still annoys me worse than a fuck on fiberglass that no one else got involved. It also happened to be the one time ever I chose an avenue other than confrontation, a regret I still seek to put right, all over everybody else’s Facebook pages.

Obviously, throwing a gay person out of your house is no longer the fashionable thing to do, and almost no matter where you live, doing so would invite some sort of pushback, ranging in severity from “barely noticeable” (Iggy Azalea for example), to “Taylor Swift sang a song about it.” But the same cannot be said for the people we proffer as part of our community, whose concerns we have dropped faster than a case against a murderous policeman.

An article caught my eye over the weekend: Lance Berkman, a former St. Louis Cardinal, waded into a battle in Houston, Texas over an equal rights ordinance that would provide citywide anti-discrimination protections, including for gender identity. Naturally, this means we have to have another round about fucking bathrooms and which ones transgender people are forced to use. This ordinance, says Berkman (whose specialty, I repeat, is BASEBALL), is bad because it permits “troubled men to enter women’s bathrooms.”

This fear, being whipped up like some Lee Atwater-inspired nightmare, is the usual first line of offense when it comes to the societal horror of equality. And the entire ordinance gets defeated if enough people are frenzied into outrage by this falseness. There is as much proof that cisgender women are safer in a cisgender female-only restroom as there is that gay marriages end straight marriages. There is much evidence that it is in the best interest of transgender individuals to live their lives truthfully. But this gets hidden behind most “save the _______” defenses because the tactic is so damn effective.

Which is why pushback against such garbage is as important as ensuring they keep wearing tight pants in the NFL. If we’ve learned anything from our community’s most contemporary battle, the marriage fight, it is that we can win when we try. It is really up to us to fight back against the nonsense fired at members of our community, by bigots of the highest order.

If we don’t get involved, my friends, we’re sitting at a table, watching a mate getting beaten up on and not doing shit about it.