A meme went up on Scary Mommy’s Instagram recently that said, “If your husband or boyfriend is homophobic, you’re not an ally.”
Hoooooboy did that comment section blow up with a whole lotta “Um, my husband’s/boyfriend’s opinions/views have nothing to do with me.” (I’m assuming there was some indignant hair flipping involved too.)
I don’t even know where to start breaking down this barf-worthy defense. I guess we can start by pointing out that everyone who left a comment like this just outed their partner as a bigot. Gross.
Also, homophobia isn’t an “opinion.” It’s not a “view,” either. It’s bigotry, plain and simple. Denying an entire group of people’s basic human rights, or thinking they’re weird or sinful or wrong or gross, or even just being kinda squeaked out by the things you assume they do in the privacy of their own bedrooms—is BIGOTRY. It’s all fucking bigotry, people, and if you live with it and sleep by it and cook dinner for it and raise kids with it and have sex with it, but don’t say shit else about it, then you’re guilty by association.
Some of you never had your mama tell you that you are the company you keep, and it shows.
I get it, though, I do. You married young. You met during college where you had two super gay friends that your husband always seemed cool with and sometimes even pretend-flirted with when he was drunk. So you thought your husband was open-minded about this stuff. It wasn’t until later when he refused to watch Will and Grace with you because Jack was “too much” that you wondered if maybe he wasn’t as open-minded as you thought. And so you watched Will and Grace alone. And also Broke Back Mountain. Boys Don’t Cry you watched together though, because two vaginas. That scene from Black Swan was pretty hot too, amiright?
I know how this goes because I was you. I was in a marriage with a man who, though he wasn’t openly hateful toward the gay community, he was clearly uncomfortable whenever a conversation took a turn for the queer. I have always spoken openly and honestly about queer topics around our kids and our friends, and my ex used to get real squirmy and awkward whenever I did this.
The kicker? I’m gay. For years, because I didn’t want to break up my family, I tried to convince myself I was bisexual. I kept telling myself, If my husband can be okay with my being bisexual, if I believe he supports me, I can stay in this life.
So I would test him in little ways. Telling him I was pretty sure I was bisexual went… not so great. He acted like he was fine with it but then avoided the topic after that. Still, I needed to feel I belonged in the LGBTQ community. I needed to feel seen. I invited my husband to marches and parades and other LGBTQ-supportive events. He came to some, but always reluctantly. It was as if he knew he was being tested, and if he didn’t pass, he would lose me.
Ultimately, it wouldn’t have mattered because I am gay, not bisexual. There wasn’t any way I could carry on pretending I was happy living a life that wasn’t mine.
But what I never did, and what I should have done, was ask my husband point-blank how he felt about gay people. I should have asked whether he believed in equal rights, whether he was against all forms of discrimination against the LGBTQ community. Asking that question put so much on the line for me though. I was terrified. Even back when I hoped I was bisexual, when I so desperately wanted to be seen, if he had answered those questions wrong, it would have meant the end for us. It would have meant tearing apart our family.
All over an “opinion.”
Except, it’s not an opinion. It’s a harmful belief system, and it’s fucking wrong. Since coming out to my ex, he has clearly stated that he feels being gay is wrong. He has said there is something wrong with the world “these days” and asked what the world is coming to. He has threatened not to allow my daughters around me when I find a partner. He says he doesn’t want them to be exposed to my “lifestyle.” He says it could be confusing for them.
I hate myself for not seeing this in him sooner. I hate myself for not having the courage to ask him point-blank. I know he is angry, he feels like homosexuality is the enemy now because it broke up his family, but I don’t think any of the hateful things he’s said were things he said only out of anger. I think he means this stuff.
And so, even if I were 100% straight, I could never have stayed with this man. I will have to share parenting duties with him, but I’ll be damned if he infects my children with his hateful rhetoric. I may not have stood up to him during our marriage, but I sure as shit will stand up to him now. Funny how, when you become the target of discrimination, you suddenly get a hell of a lot fucking stronger. Because there isn’t any other choice.
So, for all you women who claim your husband’s opinions aren’t a reflection on you, think about what would happen if one of your children came out to you. Are you okay with being married to someone who is capable of rejecting their own child? Are you okay with being married to someone who would rather lose their child than accept them for who they are?
I’m not saying all of these women should immediately dump their husbands and boyfriends. I’m saying they need to have a frank discussion with their men. Call them out for their homophobic bullshit. Because I know from personal experience that what may seem like a harmless personally held belief really is a deep, festering sore. It may lie dormant and half-forgotten for years, but I promise you it will one day make itself known. It will spread its infection, and when it does, it will cause catastrophic damage.
Because, odds are, someone you love is gay or transgender. Odds are, someday you will have to choose between the one you’ve exchanged vows with and someone else you love. The choice will be between one person who is trying to live their life as authentically as possible because if they don’t, they will die, and your husband who has an “opinion” on how people are supposed to fall in love.
This isn’t a choice anyone should have to make, and yet here we are because bigotry. So get it together, people. Confront your partners. Get them on board, or get them the fuck out of your life. Otherwise, you are no ally to us.