I live with my youngest son and his wife and another roommate. We have “conversations on the porch.” Last night’s talk was how to confront homophobic remarks with a pithy one-liner. We need help. (More)

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The roommate was with a group of people over the weekend, one of whom was lesbian. Another man in the group started to unload a rant about gays and lesbians. The roommate made an attempt to shut him down which was ignored. Several other people also made an attempt. The lesbian remained silent and no on wanted to “out” her to the ranter.

The roommate, asking for help on the porch said, “So there was this situation over the weekend and I need a better response. I wasn’t up to the task I faced and I feel like I came up short.”

He described the 10- or 15-year friendships between those present and the fact that none of them had any idea that the ranter was so “ignorant.” He also told us that after the rant, the rest of them convened and tried to figure out how they could have handled it better.

The lesbian said, “I’ve dealt with his kind for years and I choose to ignore them and thanks for not outing me.”

There was some discussion of rural Americans and the sense of isolation from major issues they have. I called BS. My Aunt Mary in her 80s had lived for 60 some years in a small Nebraska farmng town. When someone from her Methodist church said, “We don’t have any of those people in Waverly,” she told them that the two men in the third pew had been coming for years and mentioned a couple of lesbian couples. She said, “You have all welcomed them and loved them. Open your eyes women (it was a women’s group) and realize that gay people are your friends and big contributors to our church.”

Here’s what I offered. “At least 10% of the population is gay and lesbian. You know them and have worked with them even if you didn’t know their sexual orientation. If you continue to rant like this, you are offending me and out of line.”

My other piece of advice came from my training as a volunteer for Minnesotans United, formed to advocate for the defeat of the amendment against same sex marriage. We told stories of LGBTQ people in our families and friends. Someone we knew and loved was LGBTQ and in a long term loving relationship. Why should they not be able to marry the person they loved. Simple version but it worked amazingly well.

We are in need of short, pithy responses for progressives who want to embrace and defend our LGBTQ fellow citizens. Suggestions are most welcome. Thanks in advance.

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