March 26, 2015

The Silver Lining of LGBT Bigotry

Similar to many Millennials, and the generations before us, my activism kicked into full swing when I began college in 2007.

It was a glorious and interesting year: The Anaheim Ducks clinched their 1st-ever playoff berth and Volcano, starring Tommy Lee Jones and Anne Heche, was released.

Wait, sorry. I think that was 1997.

My Alma mater, Canisius College, is a small, Jesuit-institution fueled with liberal and humanitarian beliefs, so I assumed I’d stumble upon a great relationship. My coming out to friends, family and classmates was relatively seamless, so in my mind, it made sense that a healthy and happy courtship was on the horizon.

Spoiler alert: it wasn’t.

Sure, I had some nice relationships and flings, but the worst people I dated in my life were in college. And that’s a good thing. To be fair, the good people I dated were students at Canisius. And my ________ at Canisius. “Ooooops.”

I was advocating for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights – a lot of my pursuits based upon LGBT acceptance and legalizing gay marriage – when it hit me.

“What the fuck am I fighting for?”

It was a little surreal to fight for marriage equality in New York, and nationally, while I was dating assholes who would make terrible husbands. The more I wrote, and planned, and protested, I thought: What type of man do I want to marry? What type of person represents the ideals of a (generally) happy marriage?

And further, what type of qualities would make me a great husband? I was in my early 20’s, so needless to say, I wasn’t the ideal partner, either. Weren’t we all so awesome as college sophomores?

When I mention LGBT bigotry, I’d never like to suggest that hate crimes have a silver lining attached to them, but I suppose as an undercover minority (I’m white! I’m male! I live in Park Slope!), I’ve seen the juxtapose of initially being accepted by some people, and then ignored or disrespected. I’ve had to see the silver lining in a lot of bad situations; many, or most, outside of my identity in the LGBT community.

As a Millennial, I was raised on the cusp of the of the gay rights movement. In a weird way, I thank the political bigots who are against same-sex marriage in helping me understand what I want out of a husband, a marriage and a family.

That being said, I will never disrespect the gay activists of the past and marry an asshole.