Recent conversation with person of older generation regarding behavior patterns of the younger generation, as moderated by a middle-aged zombie:
Me: Girl from the West has a gay friend. I think that’s great that kids today can be out and open.
Older: Gay friend? She has a gay girlfriend??? (Subtext: Are you telling me your child is GAY????!!!!)
Me: No. I said: She has a gay friend. It’s a guy.
Older: Ohhh, they’re dating. Do you allow her to date?
Me: No. They are friends. He is gay. That means he is not interested in girls.
Older: Then why are they friends?
Trying a new tack, I steer the conversation toward my middle school days. I say that back then kids were beaten to a bloody pulp in the alley if they were even suspected of being gay. It was one of the ultimate social taboos, next to being poor. I told of a high school classmate who committed suicide when he came out to family and friends and was subsequently rejected. It broke my heart.
I told her I live in a predominantly gay community, have many gay friends and neighbors, although I do not refer to them as that or introduce them as such. I’m merely using the label to make a point. I raise my children to judge people by their actions, not their race, ethnicity or sexual orientation.
I’m met with a long silence.
Older: Oh, so that’s why you don’t send her to school here.
Hear that noise? That’s me bashing my skull against a brick wall.