My Facebook account isn’t private. I mean, I’ve blocked some people who, for various reasons, have demonstrated that they shouldn’t have access to any part of my life, but for the most part? Public. Why? Because I am careful about what I post. It’s the INTERNET, y’all. So if I wouldn’t do/say/whatever it on the street, I doesn’t go on my Facebook account. And since I do post things I would do/say/whatever on the street, there’s no reason for my account to be private. I’m okay with it being open.
This means, of course, that Facebook – like, well, walking down the street – leaves me open for trolls. But, again, so does walking down the street. That doesn’t mean I should never leave the house, and it doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t be who I am on Facebook – or here in this blog, or anywhere else. Because, trolls or no trolls, it should always be safe to be who you are.
Except that sometimes, it isn’t.
I received a friend request a couple of weeks ago from someone I went to high school with – someone I didn’t know very well, but who was a friend of friends and who I sort of know. I accepted the friend request, because I’ve received multiple friend requests from people I knew only casually who have ended up being very good friends indeed. I didn’t think very much of it.
But apparently, he’s been thinking about me. And not fun thoughts, filled with unicorns and rainbows.
No. These were thoughts about whether or not I am a lesbian. And since he’s decided that I AM a lesbian, based on the way I look, act, speak, whatever, he should probably send me messages and posts that are hateful and using speech that I can only describe as obscenely offensive.
I am not going to dignify or validate the message(s) by reposting any of it here. Hate speech is hate speech, and it’s not generally very creative or original. Hate speech directed at someone for his (or her) sexuality includes an indication that someone should be raped straight – a lovely thing to say to someone, no? – and a variety of ill thought out slurs, vulgarities, and obscenities, which are intended for – well, I don’t actually know. To change me? To make me afraid? To make me angry?
Because let’s be clear here, people. I’m not afraid of this asshat. I’m also not interested in being silenced on any level. However, I am BEYOND enraged.
And I want to say this: when you argue against equal rights for all people, when you argue against equal civil rights for everyone regardless of their sexuality, you feed the fire of people like this. I don’t know this man, really, but he thinks he knows something about me, and he’s decided that the thing he thinks he knows is not acceptable, and feels completely justified in sending me hate filled, angry, violent words about what should happen to me and people he thinks are like me.
It doesn’t offend me when people look at me and make decisions about my sexuality based on my appearance, because I don’t see anything shameful about homosexuality. Not a thing.
Hate, though, is shameful. In any manifestation. There is no justification for hate.
I will not allow the hatred of this person – or any person – force me to change who I am. My Facebook account – and this blog – and the way I live my life will remain public. My hope is that someday soon, it will be safe for everyone to live their life honestly and openly and without shame or fear, and that doing so will not feed the trolls.
That’s what I want. It’s what we all deserve.