I shouldn't have to defend my views, and I'm not sure any of this matters as the trolls and haters will use any evidence of tolerance as proof of hate. And of course, it doesn't impact the close-minded as they'll just say, "All the racists claim they have black friends". But the facts are that I might sometimes be politically incorrect in what I say or how I say it... but the idea that I have a problem with gays or am homophobic is hysterical.
Here's a few nuggets on my life, going back to my youth and on:
- I had a Gay Communist Uncle (Roger), who would bring his leather-buddy partner (Paul) to our holiday dinners (Christmas, Thanksgiving and sometimes Easter). My Conservative WWII Veteran Grandfather only had problems that he was a card-carrying communist, and that Paul could be a lightweight drunk, but never once complained that they were gay. And my Grandfather was not the kind to hold back if he had a problem with something. Same with the rest of my Italian family -- though the Grandkids once had to explain to Grandma that they were a couple, to Grandma's consternation. (I think she knew, she was just playing dumb to see how much the kids knew, because that's what Italian Grandmothers do).
- I went backpacking through the Sierra's for 3 weeks with Roger, and later he took my wife and me to a couple of classical concerts at the Hollywood Bowl. So I don't think my Parents or Grandparents were exactly freaked out about Roger. My biggest reserves with him were around his political views, where he was pretty unreasonable/irrational, not his gender preference. We fell out of touch when he moved to a Cabin in the Sierra's. But I'll have some fun memories of my childhood, thanks to him.
- My closest cousin growing up lived about 6 miles away, and our families would drop one of us off at the others house for days or weeks, fairly regularly -- as well as family events. He came out in his teens and later became a gay activist and therapist. No one in the family had problems with it, self-included
- My next door neighbor (Craig) was bi... he was my best friend's brother, who we interacted with regularly (and stole his pot from occasionally)
- I lived near Newport Beach (and would go there regularly), and back in the day, it had a lot of gays. And I was hit on more than a few times. I was a young buff kid that was a bit of a fag magnet... e.g. I broke some gaydar's, or they liked sporting with me because they realized while I might flip them off at their offers to join their sexual escapades, I wasn't really THAT outraged. So while it irritated me because my friends made fun of me, I didn't really care about the gay part.
- I had two different close friends in HS and college that were gay.
- We had a group that used to come up to various Apple conferences (like the first MacWorld Expo's and so on), and a bunch of us would split a room and rotate around on bed or floor. I had no problems when I shared the bed with our gay friend (who was crushing on me, with another friend trying to convince him that he could get me to switch teams: because that's what friends did to each other). This wasn't a big deal at the time. But I can say, I've slept with gay men (though that might not mean what people imagine -- those aren't the words of deeds of homophobic's).
- As a Martial Arts instructor, I had quite a few Gay/Lesbian students over the years: the thing I wanted most for them, was for them to be able to defend themselves if attacked
- Working in the Bay Area (or elsewhere), I've had dozens of coworker/friends and partners I interacted with that are somewhere on the LGBTQ spectrum -- and I want them to be treated exactly like everyone else
- I wrote articles and letters to the editor in support of gay marriage in the '80s, '90s and early 2000's.
So haters gotta hate. But I'll throw my background against theirs. It won't change their minds, heck I don't think most will even believe me because it's easier for them to think everyone who disagrees with them is a hater, than understand the rich nuances of life) -- but it'll make the lurkers and audience laugh at the absurd hypocrisy of those claiming they want to spread love and tolerance, by attacking folks that have a richer and more tolerant history than their own.