A bridge over a beautiful waterfall

A bridge over a beautiful waterfall
Nature brings magic

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Intolerance...or why I HATE hatred

I know that seems a bit hypocritical, to say I hate something when this post is mostly about how bad hatred can be.  But the truth of it is that I simply can't stand intolerance.

According to dictionary.com, intolerance means "lack of toleration; unwillingness or refusal to tolerate orrespect contrary opinions or beliefs, persons of differentraces or backgrounds, etc."  This is the textbook example of what my roommate's mother is.

One of my best friends is gay.  She came out to her family several months ago.  They haven't spoken to her since.  Her girlfriend is a young woman who is currently a tattoo apprentice and a practicing Wiccan, and makes her living as a freelance artist on the side.  Elsie* is a college student studying to become a botanist.  Elsie* is loud, obnoxious, opinionated, rude, and sometimes really over the top.  Mary* is very similar to Elsie, though she's a little less aggressive and manages to think before she runs off her mouth.  But both of them have suffered, to some degree, the intolerance of their families.

Mary* has an older brother who is bisexual.  He understands their pain because the one time he hinted at having a boyfriend, Mary's* family threw an absolute fit.  They swore up and down he was going to hell.  When he finally snapped, he told them that the Bible always taught to "hate the sin but love the sinner", and that "no man is without sin".  They threw him out for using their religion against them.

Mary*, Elsie*, and Rick* live together in a two bedroom townhouse.  They've had their cars broken into, windows smashed, hateful graffiti spray painted all over their stuff, and beloved pets mutilated and left for them to find.  All because they've found love with partners of their own gender.

I know Elsie's* younger sister Kelsey*.  Kelsey* is the perfect daughter.  She's obedient, straight, and follows the plans her parents made for her life.  When it comes to her sister's lifestyle choices, she is loud, rude, obnoxious, and unwilling to go outside her narrow views of the world.  I'm bisexual (though happy in my relationship with my husband...we've been together 11 years & married for 8 as of this coming Halloween), opinionated, and greatly dislike discrimination of any sort.  I spoke up once - only ONCE - against her intolerance.  Now she won't talk to me, or if she does she's very rude and condescending.  

I gave up trying to say anything to her.  When she's here at the house - because Kelsey* is a friend of one of my roommates as well - I just come into the bedroom and plug my ears in.  I don't support or tolerate intolerance of any kind and won't be in the same room with her anymore.  I disappear into the world of Aleran or one of my other WIPs - where intolerance is defeated by the sheer stubborn will power.

My friend Dystophil had this to say on the subject

And she's right.  It does get better.  You just have to learn to go your own way and understand you're always going to find people who disagree with you and your beliefs, your gender perception, your choice in partners, etc.  You aren't going to change very many minds.  So learn to walk away, find others who share what you enjoy, and find joy in those few minds you are able to open up to the possibilities.

I've written before about the friend I made, the cashier at Paul's who was a Muslim woman.  I got an email recently from her.  She unbent enough to tell me she was living in Oregon.  She wouldn't tell me what city, or give me any details of her life, other than to say that they were okay and that the girls love their new school.  She's still scared, after over a year, to tell me any details because she's terrified of the kind of violence she faced here.

It breaks my heart to see that she doesn't trust me.  She doesn't trust anyone.  She lives in a Muslim neighborhood in some city in Oregon, where violence and hate crimes go unpunished for the most part because the cops aren't able to catch anyone doing anything wrong.  Her girls go to school as part of a large group of children so no one can catch one of them alone to beat them up or kidnap them.

It frightens me to think she's being forced to live like that.  I know things have gotten better for her.  Her emails aren't as tense, so I think something's being done to help the people in the neighborhood she lives in.  She says that there are some very nice people like me - non-Muslims who don't feel they have to look down on her just because some fanatics who follow the same religion as her decided to become terrorists.

Again, that intolerance issue.  This is why I think people need to sit down, shut up, and open their damned minds.  Especially here in America.  We're one of the most intolerant countries in the world.  We're rated as one of the rudest, and we have one of the higher suicide rates due to emotional distress and bullying.  Look at all the reports about bully-induced suicides that have been going around lately.

An Irish girl who moved to the U.S. kills herself because of bullying
Tyler Clementi was a victim of a vicious practical joke & took his own life
He was only 13...what harm did he do anyone?
Why does being Welsh matter when you're part of the same island chain?
We need stronger laws...but we also need better parenting to prevent bullying from the start
A desperate crush shouldn't end in death

I could go on and on, but each of these stories is just making me sick to my stomach.  It's time we stepped back and took a look at ourselves, our world, and our children.  It's time to be heard.  It's time to Speak Loudly against the kind of pain intolerance causes others.



  1. So very true and very sad to hear about your Muslim friend, that's just horrible :(

    Quick thought on this, and maybe I should write a separate post on this, but I talked to my mother about this a while ago when I was back in Germany and she asked if I wasn't "making too much of a big deal" of the issue of speaking up and speaking out for tolerance, especially where the LGBT community was concerned. Now let me say that my mother has always been extremely supportive of me and backs me up no matter what. So yeah, that one caught me a bit aback. Turns out that some of my European friends actually think this isn't really a problem, that tolerance is just a given. And well, sad to say, but it's not. Not here, not in Europe and whether or not people accuse me of pushing what they like to call "The Homosexual Agenda" I'd like to ask them, if we don't speak out, who else will?

  2. I'm a new follower and I just became a follower of Dystophil as well because of these wonderful posts you shared today. I think it's important to strong and true to who you are, the pay off in the end will be worth it and those who don't accept or understand are good enough to be your friend.

    I hate to hear about bullies especially when dealing with different races and different belief systems, it's wrong and I hope that with the help of others speaking out it becomes less of a problem and more of a solution.