What are you, some kind of faggot?

Roughly 18 years ago, I was asked this question. It was while I worked as an editor at the University of Delaware student newspaper, The Review. I’d written a column earlier in the week about gay rights. In it, I “came out of the closet”—before admitting, toward the end, that I was straight and merely trying to make a point.

Some readers missed that part.

I laughed, of course. I’m not gay. No way—just being supportive. But gay? Noooo. Not me. No, nope, nah.

That’s how it was not so long ago. If you were straight, and supported gay rights, people questioned your sexuality. As in, why would someone who likes the opposite sex wanna back a bunch of queers and fags and dykes? To them, it made no sense. Gays stood up for gays, and that was about all.

Man, times have changed.

In case you missed it, tonight the New York State Senate—my state senate—legalized gay marriage. It’s a wonderful, fantastic, important move, and though it might take time to completely go through, the country has taken a huge step forward. Not merely with the literal legalization of gay marriage, but in the mentality of gay acceptance and embracement. In 2011, it’s cool to be straight and supportive of gay rights. It doesn’t make you iffy—it makes you righteous. It doesn’t make you strange—it makes you noble. In fact, the tables have completely shifted. Those dolts who continue to deny gays and lesbians their fair rights are the ones who look outdated; antiquated; George Wallace-esque. People no longer fears catching “The Gay”; no longer believes gay men are looking to sexually convert young boys to the dark side.

Gays are people, straights are people—that’s where we’re at.

It’s about friggin’ time.

My name is Jeff Pearlman. I’m married, with two kids.

And I support gay rights.

7 thoughts on “What are you, some kind of faggot?”

  1. I lived in Colorado in 1992 when Amendment 2 was passed which outlawed any laws that protected gays from discrimination (3 cities then had anti-gay discrimination laws). I was outspoken against Amendment 2 before it passed and then fully supportive of the lawsuits that ultimately overturned it (and ultimately moved back to California in part because I tired of the conservative, discriminatory attitudes there). I experienced some of the same thing Jeff, where people couldn’t understand how a straight person could support gay rights and assumed you must be gay. I always told them that plenty of white people supported civil rights for African-Americans back in the 1950’s and 1960’s, but while other whites may have questioned why they would do it, nobody assumed they were black. So why should it be any different with the gay civil rights movement? To me, any form of discrimination is repugnant and everyone should have the same rights.

    My name is Arnold Woods. I’m single with no kids and straight.

    And I support gay rights.

  2. People like you are the reason tonight was possible. I’m from the heartland but know it’s only a matter of time before marriage rights reach my state. Thank you for being such an unwavering supporter over the years.

  3. As our country continues to take steps backwards in most of their decisions, it is inspiring that NY State can get it right and take a big step forward. Sometimes it’s just a matter of doing what’s RIGHT.

    Straight and married.

  4. 2011 version: id question your heterosexuality if you railed against it on your blog everyday and supported legislation against marriage equality.

  5. There is still a long way to go. All of the changes in society’s perception have really only reached half the population. While we will view the opponents of gay rights as the Bull Connors of the early 2000s, we will view most of the “civil unions” proponents as the separate-but-equal crowd that were too spineless to speak out against separate drinking fountains in the Jim Crow era.

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