It’s all personal

So the news the last few weeks has been kind of bad. Between the bigot who blasted my family on Facebook and trans kids being bullied to death and Indiana going bat shit crazy, it’s easy to get caught up in our national back swing.  Never mind that rapid social progress is always followed by conservative blowback. Never mind that any seasoned activist will tell you it’s always two steps forward and one step back.  Never mind that for every crazy politician spouting hate there’s two more moving closer to full inclusion. It still hurts.

I’ve been out for fourteen years. You’d think I’d be used to it by now, but I still feel the burn of shame in my cheeks when I hear a pastor rail against my family. My stomach clenches when I have to explain to my son why he’s not a boy scout. My shoulders still tighten in anticipation every time someone I don’t know asks me what kind of books I write.  It’s not that I think these people are right.  It’s not that I’ve bought into the bigotry.  It’s not that I lack the courage of my convictions.  It’s the opposite. It still hurts because it’s personal.

To the man who railed against queers on my uncle’s Facebook wall and then said he wasn’t talking about anyone personally, yes, yes you were.  To the governor of Indiana who says he wasn’t motivated by a desire to hurt anyone specifically, yes, yes you were.  To people who say, “that’s so gay,” then say they didn’t mean “gay,” yes, yes you did.  Your pretending like you didn’t mean anything personal doesn’t change the fact that those things are personal.  We are people.  I am a person.  My wife is a person. My son is a person. My uncle is a person. Our church members are people. Your words, your laws, your discrimination are all personal to each and every person who is gay, or questioning, or loves someone who is gay or questioning. We are real people with real feelings (and real dollars to spend) and real families to care for.  Every hurtful thing you say about gays and lesbians is about real people.

But you know what?  The responses are personal, too. From my uncle, Mr. Blue-collar-union-electrician and all his blue-collar union friends who verbally beat down the Facebook bigot, they are real people, too. The CEOs who pulled their companies out of Indiana, they are people. The people who  pull their own kids from scouting, or create alternative activities that our family is welcome to join, those are real people too. The students who march and hold candles for trans kids they never met, they are people. The straight man who read Heart of the Game because he likes books about baseball, lesbian characters or not, he’s a real person. The women at my church who clipped out an article about my book in the local paper, they are people.  They are good people. Honorable people. Loving people.  They aren’t gay, or necessarily liberal, or highly educated.  They don’t live in trendy neighborhoods or always know the pc terms. But they are people who take our feelings, our rights, our lives seriously.  They take issues that aren’t their own and they make them personal.

That’s why we’re going to win this fight, why we’re already winning it. To us, the big tent collective of not only queers but also anyone who’s ever loved a queer, this time it really is personal.

Published by rachelspangler

Rachel Spangler never set out to be an award winning author. She was just so poor and so easily bored during her college years that she had to come up with creative ways to entertain herself, and her first novel, Learning Curve, was born out of one such attempt. She was sincerely surprised when it was accepted for publication and even more shocked when it won the Golden Crown Literary Award for Debut Author. Since writing was turning out to be a real blast, Rachel decided to combine it with another passion and set her next romance on the ski slopes, and was absolutely stunned when her second novel, Trails Merge, won a Goldie in the category of Contemporary Romance. However, no amount of book signing or award winning can really change a Midwestern boi, and her third novel, the Goldie finalist The Long Way Home is just that, a return to the themes and settings that mean the most in Rachel’s life and writing. Her forthcoming novels include LoveLife (April 2011) and Spanish Heart (October 2011), both from Bold Strokes Books. Rachel and her partner, Susan, are raising their young son in small-town western New York, where during the winter they all make the most of the lake effect snow on local ski slopes, and in summer they love to travel and watch their beloved St. Louis Cardinals. Regardless of the season, Rachel always makes time for a good romance, whether she’s reading it, writing it, or living it. Rachel can be found online at www.RachelSpangler.com as well as on Facebook.

25 thoughts on “It’s all personal

  1. You did an awesome job of putting into words what so many of us are feeling right now. I’m so sorry that times have been tough for you lately. It’ll get better.

  2. Reblogged this on Red Crested Chatter and commented:
    This is a post from a best-selling lesbian author who writes from her heart. She’s a young, butch, Christian mom. We don’t have a lot in common. But we are all one. All. One.

  3. Reblogged this on Romance and Chocolate and commented:
    Rachel Spangler: “That’s why we’re going to win this fight, why we’re already winning it. To us, the big tent collective of not only queers but also anyone who’s ever loved a queer, this time it really is personal.”

    Just as today on that “news” network I won’t name, the drumbeat is that gays and their allies ought to care more about injustice … elsewhere. We’re supposed to ignore what is, as Rachel Spangler so eloquently explains, VERY personal to us. That someone suggests we don’t take this personally means they don’t see us as persons.

    Go to Rachel’s blog and share the love for her wonderful, eloquent post there.

  4. I could not agree more, Rachel ! I already respect you for soooo many reasons and now I have another !!
    I love this blog !!!
    People need to know, the majority of (us) give (them) the benefit of the doubt, that it hurts.
    I know I’m guilty of trying to be overly respectful of some one else’s beliefs that actually are disrespecting mine. This is something I’ve been trying to be cognizant of for some time now. People in our lives as well as strangers need to know… It is personal !!!

  5. Reblogged this on The Other Side and commented:
    Rachel Spangler is a queer author who writes much more beautifully than I have been able to about what has been going on lately, in her world and in our larger world. I share her words of pain and promise because she is right, it is personal. If you enjoy her writing, you can find her books at Bold Stroke Books and her blog at Wonder Boi Writes, rachelspangler.wordpress.com

  6. I reblogged this to my site because your words are so powerful, Rachel. Thank you for sharing them. Ona

  7. Thank you Rachel. I think a lot of us are feeling the same way right now. Well said. It IS personal, and always will be.

  8. You’re an amazing writer and have a true talent for translating thoughts into words everyone can understand and relate to. Don’t let the negative people get to you – we need more people like you If we’re ever going to get anywhere as a society. Thank you!!

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