Thursday, September 11, 2008

I’m Losing Friends Over This

My friend Monty is old and set in his ways, but that’s no excuse.

For many years now, my friend Monty has been my comrade and confidante, but ever since I started seeing Sweet, his usefulness in those roles has been on the decline. The more I’ve spoken to him about my life with Sweet, the more blatantly homophobic and transphobic Monty has become.

Now, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Hell, I invite people to share their dissenting opinions on LGTBQ topics because once those opinions are out in the open, we can discuss them. We can clear the air. We can talk about how hatred of what’s different, of what’s unknown, is always rooted in fear. We can shine light on ignorance. We can make the subject matter not about "those people," but about this person. It’s about me—I’m queer; it’s about my lovely partner—she’s trans; it’s about our relationship.

I hung up the phone on Monty two days ago.

It made me feel like a moody teenager, but I couldn’t take his ignorance anymore.

Let me tell you about the kind of conversations we’ve been having lately…

Monty (scoffing):
How’s Sweet?

Oh, she’s great. I had lunch with her today.

You had lunch with HIM…

No…I had lunch with HER. When she’s out in the world, dressed as a woman and identifying as female, it’s her.

No, it’s HIM. This guy’s got a dick, doesn’t he?

Me (trying to keep my irritation in check):
How can you base gender on something as arbitrary as genitalia? And you’ve never even met Sweet; what makes you think you’re in a position to select a gender identity for her? That’s a very personal thing.

So it’s been stuff like that in every conversation: Monty challenging my views on gender and transgender issues, and me sharing a lot about my life and relationship in hopes he’ll start to understand. But, you know what? It isn’t working. My tension level has been on the rise. During each new conversation I’m finding myself thinking, “I can’t listen to much more of this.”

Two days ago, Monty made another inflammatory remark about Sweet. He said she doesn't exist; no, "she's" just the product of a warped mind.

Monty was putting down a person I care for, a person I love, my partner, and I just wasn’t having it anymore. I'd given him so many opportunities to shed the ignorance and gain an understanding of trans life. Enough is enough.

I finally had to say to him, “You know, when you say cruel things about Sweet, you’re hurting ME. You’re supposed to be my friend, and here you’re deliberately and consistently upsetting me by insulting my partner and my lifestyle! If you’re going to keep on offending me like this, I’m going to have to hang up.”

You know what he said? “Well, I guess you’d better hang up, then.”

So I did.

I realize how High School all this sounds, dumping the best friend because he isn’t keen on my girl. It parallels that whole mom-doesn’t-like-my-boyfriend-so-I’ll-slam-my-bedroom-door-and-crank-up-the-radio stereotype of the teenage girl. But I made it very clear: saying mean things about someone I care for is hurtful to ME. And my mom would agree that anyone who hurts you on purpose is not a real friend.

So fuck him.