Several years ago--many, actually--after I moved to Miami, Carlos and I went to Disney World. I'd been to Disneyland but not yet to the World. So, we did the Magic Kingdom and Epcot and had a really great time. Our last night, wee stayed late for the fireworks and found a beautiful spot beside a pond to watch the night sky light up.
As we were leaving, feeling all aglow, I took Carlos' hand in mine as we walked out of the park. Just ahead of us, a Lesbian couple was doing the same. Just ahead of that couple was, well, this guy, who looked back at The Lesbians and The Gays holding hands and said, "What do you think this is? Gay Day?"
To which one of the Lesbians replied, "Every day is gay day."
And the guy smirked, but kept moving. I like that story because it could have gotten ugly, but it just turned into a giggle and a smile.
Joel Diaz and his friend, Ethan, after a night out, decided on getting some people, and headed to a popular spot in their Columbus, Ohio neighborhood. As they stood in line at Mikey's Late Night Slice--apparently the pizza is that good--Joel and Ethan began holding hands.
Gay day, though not so much. At first.
A customer in front of the two men turned around and told the men to, ahem, cut that "gay shit" out.
There weren't a couple of Lesbians standing by to utter the line, "Every day is gay shit" or something, but something else, quite lovely happened that night. Almost every single person in the line that night made it clear to that guy to cut that Homophobic shit out.
And while Joel and Ethan, and another gay friend of theirs, stood up for themselves, and told the man that he couldn't speak to them like that and they wouldn't take his bigoted remarks at all, it was the straight people in line who stood up the loudest.
Of course, as bigots do when they get called on their hate, he continued spewing venom, ignoring the entire crowd. And that was when the people working at Mikey's shouted to the man that they would not serve him because he was spewing hate. They said they support everyone in our community and that he should get out of line because they would not be serving him. He begrudgingly got out of line and walked away escorted by a friend who had been hanging back.
How simple is that? Stand up against hate. Say something, do something, non-violent, and the hate has no place to go, except home.
Joel wrote up his story for a Facebook post and shared it with friends, who, of course, shared it with friends and so on and so on. Suddenly the post had gone viral and people everywhere--even in a small town in South Carolina--began telling the story of standing up against hate.
And the more it’s shared the more people stand up. The more people realize it was just a couple standing in line for pizza and holding hands against the cold. And what's not to like about that?
Stories like this give me hope for the future--especially as more states fall into the Equality Column. People, straight people, are beginning to finally realize that being gay isn't "shit" it's just being gay. And two men, or two women, holding hands in Columbus Ohio or in the Happiest Place On Earth should be treated no differently than any other couple anywhere else.