Thursday, 25 March 2010


I had a class with a woman who was coming back to get her degree in social work. She had a very calming presence and we would talk before class. She would tell me how much social work meant to her, and that she wanted to use her degree to help disadvantaged children. I thought it was so admirable of her to return to university after a disastrous marriage. 13 weeks into the semester I no longer found her admirable. One day before she class, she told me that she was rethinking her career choice because she didn't think she could be in an office alone with a black man. She told me that she feared that black men would harm her in some way.  She looked normal. She was intelligent, thoughtful, and caring. So who was this woman before me spouting racist bullshit? I had wasted three months getting to know this woman, liking this woman (non-sexually), and it was all for nothing. I had befriended a racist. I felt completely betrayed. Had I been completely blind to who she was? Had I missed the signs? I replayed the conversations I could remember, but I saw no hint. Her racism came out of nowhere. The betrayal still stings. I tend not to get over those types of betrayals. I've never been cheated on. I've never cheated, but it's these types of betrayals that sting--when people say or do something that is in complete opposition to your idea of them. Two other betrayals:

--the professor I liked who later said, "Adrienne Rich was a good poet until she decided to become a lesbian." He was serious.
--the friend who told me she was going to vote for a politician even though he spouted anti-gay rhetoric. I thought to myself, "You're going to vote for someone who hates me and would take away all my rights??" I never spoke to her again.

One betrayal where my reaction bothers me: an out, gay friend who told me that he had always been out and he had never been ashamed. I later found out from his mother that he had been closeted and even dated a girl for a year. I thought less of him at the moment. Not only had he lied, but he had dated a girl (girls are wonderful, but I see this as a dilution of homosexuality). Our friendship was never the same after that. I always found an excuse to miss his calls or forget to invite him to go to the movies. I regret my reaction.

I've always disliked it when a gay man has dated or had sex with women. It pisses me off. I like gay men to be gay. Even to this day, I still cringe and grit my teeth when a gay man tells me he dated and/or had sex with a girl or girls. It's one of those things I can not get past. Frankly, I'm not sure I want to get past it. I admit it. I'm very judgmental. I have an idea in my head of how I want someone to be, and when he/she deviates from that idea, I am offended. Instead of comforting my friend and offering support for his painful time as a closeted gay man, I chose to shun him because he had not lived up to my vision of him. He had chosen to be infallible, and I couldn't deal with that. It's not a comfortable feeling knowing that I committed a betrayal by discarding my friend because he had not adhered to the perfect image of a gay man I had created. I sometimes consider calling him and apologizing for my reaction, but I never do. My judgment wins over rekindling an important friendship. Another betrayal.

No comments:

Post a Comment