When Hop Against Homophobia was first announced, I had to put it aside in my head to let it simmer. There’s a lot of emotional stuff that is attached to that idea and to be honest, overwhelmed with sorting wheat from chaff made it necessary to let it sit.
And now the time is upon us and I still struggled with what to say…what to share…what to point to and say “stop this”.
So, I thought I’d start with something personal.
My father is homophobic. Actually, coming from Hawai’i, there’s a pervasive homophobia that’s tied up with what’s acceptable homosexual behaviour and what isn’t but I’m not going to get into that here. There are cultural components, yes but my father, whom I estranged from, is just plain mean.
And I’ll leave it at that.
When I was almost thirteen, most of my friends were boys. There weren’t any girls in the neighbourhood my age and to be fair, I had no interest in frilly things. Catching lizards, climbing the mountain in Waianae to look for rose crystals and riding a skateboard was much more interesting. I had friends who liked doing those things with me. Those friends were boys but I didn’t really pay much attention to their sex. They were friends.
But ah, these were boys who were quickly learning about girls and I had a father who had a stash of Penthouse. So one day, while we were at my house, they went into my parents’ bathroom and took one, smuggling it out with them. I had no idea they’d done that.
Not until they tried returning it the next day and instead of putting it back, shoved it under my mattress. Also without me knowing. I wasn’t paying attention to them. We were probably playing Atari at the time. Big thing then, Atari and I had one.
I said they were my friends. I didn’t say they were smart. They were boys. Teenaged boys at that.
My father discovered his wallet was missing a few days later.
The man tore the house apart and found the magazine under my mattress. And went fucking donkey ass nuts. Murderous through the house nuts. If you ask why, don’t bother. Man’s psychotic and a sadist. It’s what he did. He found his wallet in the kitchen, in the pantry where he’d left it with his keys. But oh, the magazine was the tipping point. Because now he had proof I was a lesbian.
I came home from school and came up the stairs to the living room of our split level house where he then proceeded to beat the shit out of me.
And I literally mean beat the shit out of.
I have bone chips along my jaw line on the inside of my mouth from that beating and I pissed blood for about a week. I couldn’t walk the next day so my mother called the school to tell them I was sick. She had to do that for the next couple of days because I couldn’t see out of one eye and the other was red from a popped blood vessel. It was difficult to move my right arm and I was dizzy sick from what was probably a mild concussion. When I had a CAT scan later in my life, I discovered he’d fractured my shoulder blades.
All because of a girlie magazine a couple of friends stole and shoved under my mattress.
We’d already clashed over things…my father and I have very different ideas about people. Even when I was very young, I heard him say things about someone’s skin and sexuality and I disagreed with him. Sometimes, ruinously so but it was important. What he was saying was hatred and hurtful. It made no fucking sense. Why hate someone because of the colour of their skin or who they loved?
It still doesn’t make any sense to me. And while I may not be a lesbian, it shouldn’t have mattered. I’m his kid. He’s supposed to love and protect me, not shatter my bones beneath his fists.
Something occurred to me that day…and well in the days that followed. It’s a philosophy that I’ve stood by and will continue to stand by until I draw my last breath.
It doesn’t matter who you love,
so long as you love.
Raise your voice to that cause when you can. Let people hear you. Let people know it’s okay to love because we need more love in our world and less blood and pain. Head over to Hop Against Homophobia and let your voice be heard.
Much love and haato.