Monday, 12 August 2013

Love-Filled Weekend


So, I didn't post about it yesterday, but I had a fantastic weekend. I went camping with my old roommate, her girlfriend and a bunch of their friends. We went to a gay campground that they had been to before and it was a lot of fun. We definitely weren't "roughing it", they had a pool, store and flush toilets that were pretty close by. It was more like glamping ;)

The site is advertised as LGBT friendly, and they have camping fields, a bar and restaurant, as well as cottage and trailer areas where people can set up more permanent dwellings to come back to year after year. Our group was in the "Dike Fields" and "Gay Man's Land" was on the other side of the property. I don't know if those are the official names, but that's what everyone called them! I was the "token straight girl" in the group, but all the girls were so welcoming, they didn't make me feel like I was different.

Pretty much everyone had cooler hair than me.

I had such a fun time. I didn't even worry about what I was eating, or how little exercise I was getting. I ate hot dogs, cinnamon toast crunch, marshmallows, oreos and all of the meals that we cooked together. Toasted marshmallows could be my favourite food, but I only get them a few times a year so I may have gone a little overboard...

I roasted those babies 2 at a time

Note: I barely took any photos because I was too focused on having fun, but hopefully my words can paint a good enough picture!

I am normally the kind of person who needs to be doing something "productive" or I feel like a failure, but I was totally happy to chill out this weekend. I sat around reading, went for walks with the girls to explore the park, played games and sat by the fire. We even went to a killer drag show that was going on at the on-site bar on the Saturday night. There really is nothing like watching men in drag belting out my favourite show tunes :)

Oh yeah, this happened...

Our group always seemed to have a killer fire going, so we invited the girls one site over to join us for most of the weekend. I got to meet some really interesting ladies and we had some great talks. There is nothing like talking to people who can give you another perspective on the world.

I also got the opportunity this weekend to be in the minority. As a straight, white, middle class girl, I tend to blend in nicely, that is a fact. However, this weekend there were times when I wondered if people were looking at me and labeling me as the "straight girl". They probably weren't; it was a very loving, accepting environment. Even if they had been looking at me, it wouldn't have bothered me, but I jokingly said to my friend that everyone could tell I wasn't "gay enough" to be there. She said that that was how she felt all the time, and most of the other girls agreed. They said that when they were out and about with their significant others or even alone, they felt that they were being judged because they were lesbians, and that upsets me. It reminds me that even in this day and age, true equality still doesn't exist.

I have always considered myself a queer ally; I really see no difference between gay/straight/trans/bisexual/intersex/asexual people. I think that there has been a lot of progress in LGBT acceptance in the last decade, but we still have SO far to go.

Western society has made more improvements than places like Russia and the middle east, where extremely violent hate crimes are still being committed towards homosexuals (the situation in Russia with the Olympics breaks my heart), but there are still so many problems. Many US states still have not yet legalized same-sex marriage, negative gay stereotypes are still prevalent and kids are still being harassed in schools because of their sexual orientations.

I still hear words like "fag", "dike", "lesbo", "gay" and "homo" being used in a derogatory context. I recently had to call out one of my roommate's friends for calling someone a fag in our house. In response to my scolding, he explained that he didn't mean "gay", he meant "stupid" (CLEARLY, he was missing the point). It just goes to show that some people are either very uneducated about these issues, or very prejudiced. I also repeatedly hear things like, "Of course I support same-sex marriage... but I'm not gay!" It's as though people are desperate to show that they support something that is "different", but being "different" themselves would be a horrible fate. Why would it matter if someone thought you were gay? Would that make you any less of a person?

Even in places where homophobia is decreasing, transphobia is still extremely prevalent. It is largely socially unacceptable to say anything derogatory about homosexuals, but for some reason many people think it is alright to ostracize transgendered people and openly refer to them as "trannies", "he-shes" or "she-males" (just watch a primetime sitcom and you will see). There is a big difference between sex, gender and sexuality and no way of identifying oneself is any less legitimate than another.

I could preach for hours about this topic, but I don't think this is the right forum. Today, I just wanted to express my sadness about the hateful, anti-gay things that are still going on all over the world, and also my hope that things will start to change soon. What the LGBT community needs most is love, acceptance and support for their rights to marry, express themselves and live their lives free from discrimination and violence.

If you got to the end of this post, thank you so much for reading!

Have a terrific Tuesday!!