Hop Against Homophobia

Hop against HomophobiaInternational Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia

Welcome, today is the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, and to celebrate hundreds of authors, publishers, and individuals have an extraordinary blog hop going on. There are prizes, information, and many personal stories about what homophobia is and what it does. All of this is a concerted effort to bring awareness to the plague of homophobia and hopefully, to one day bring it to an end. You will find links at the bottom of this post to direct you to other posts from blogs around the world. Enjoy, and help us spread the word. Don’t forget to leave a comment for a chance to win an e-book copy of my JUST released new gay romance novel, Cold.

The Hidden Aspect of Homophobia – A Personal Experience

I remember a young man I was dating from a conservative Christian family who lived in a small town in Alabama. Both his mother and sister knew he was gay. They loved him dearly but…

His father was supposedly unknowing, at least in my boyfriend’s mind. But as you can guess, there came a point when his dad unexpectedly informed everyone that he was not as ignorant as the family assumed. Let’s say he was less than cordial about his son, or the young man whom he claimed ‘made his son gay.’ (Not me.)

What my boyfriend carried from his family wounded people. The almost-love he got from his sister and mother and the half-buried hostility which sat between him and his father tainted every relationship he had. Every communication with his friends, with his co-workers, and those moments he spent with me had an underlying subtext of unworthiness, of loss.

Cold - gay romance novelI recall we were sitting on the grass in the park at some LGBT event and I sat behind him and put my arms around him. He tensed immediately, his eyes flashing around gauging reactions and voicing more of his concerns about public affection than he could have spoken aloud. He didn’t say anything at that moment, and I can’t say I wasn’t a little hurt, but when I asked him about it later it was his parent’s voice I heard — his father’s anger and his mother who loved him but…

The specific words are unimportant, the internal rationalizing and self-condemnation he carried are. This is what homophobia does; this is how it seeps under the skin and makes a person feel less than, even by those who claim to care. But has no place in a parent-child relationship.  And while we often talk about homophobia as something external and from the fringe level of lunacy, there is a part of it which is carried along inside of each of us, even when we are not the original person subjected to it.

For him, his feelings were a shame that fragmented each life experience (no matter how small) into something that was worthy of questioning, worthy of embarrassment and derision. He was loved but… He was gay but… He had a boyfriend but… He loved to cuddle but…

To this day, from that one incident, I still hesitate in showing affection in public. It’s certainly not out of the fear of what will happen if an idiot happens to be loitering around me. It’s the fear of loving someone but

Leave a comment to *win a copy of COLD (must be 18 to enter)

*Contest ends Monday May 27, 8 AM EST. Winner will be chosen at random and contacted directly (if you leave your email). A separate post will announce the winner.

Blog Hop Links

Main Blog Hop Page: Hop Against Homophobia

Links to other blog posts (below):

  • http://sharinglinksandwisdom.blogspot.com/ Emily

    Thanks so much for your moving post. But is one of the most dangerous words in the English language, because it has the ability to be so hurtful. And you’re right, there shouldn’t be buts when it comes to parents and their kids. Thanks so much for sharing and participating.

  • Peggy Clark

    Thank you for the post.

    peggy1984 at live dot com

  • http://brandonshire.com/ Brandon Shire

    Thanks for all the wonderful comments and congratulations to H.B, the winner of my new romance novel COLD.

  • Penumbra

    If only parents could experience the immediate pain they put a child through when they do what they do and say what they say.

    Thanks for participating in this great hop.


  • Juliana

    Thanks so much for your post in this blog hop and for sharing your own story. Such an important subject.
    OceanAkers @ aol.com

  • Crissy Morris

    I love this post, Brandon. It breaks my heart for you. People don’t realize that the words they speak can cause lasting damage.

  • ocanana

    I’m finding I can only read a few of these heartrending posts at a time and must take a break to center myself. But, small word big consequences.

  • Barbara G

    wow. If only we could get rid of all those “but”…

  • Beth

    That was a wonderful post. Thank you for doing the hop

  • Carrie Ann Murphy

    Love the post Brandon, if not the content. It’s hard to be loved, but… Sometimes I feel like that as members of the LGBT community we are all so damaged that each instance of love, compassion, and charity (and there are so many) is a testament to how loving and enduring the human spirit can be.

  • DarienMoya

    Oh man this post T_T thanks for sharing Brandon *hugs*

  • Karl Stals

    Thank you for sharing your story and participating in the hop.



  • DebraG

    How sad

  • Andrew J. Peters

    Thanks for sharing this important story. (Pardon me if this is a duplicate; I thought I posted it before but it seemed to disappear).

    Sadly, I can relate to the situation you describe too well. Though my family was never rejecting or disapproving, I think the homophobia from peers, the media, etc. seeped deep inside of me growing up. It’s gotten much easier to be affectionate with my partner in public, but I still feel a little tug of self-consciousness and fear when we hold hands walking down the street or give each other a kiss on the cheek. My hope is that younger LGBTs are growing up without those constrictions.

  • H.B.

    This post is making me tear up a bit and I thank you for sharing this personal story. I don’t think anyone ever really sits down and really thinks hard and long about the effect their behavior has over another persons life and how in turn that can spread from one another.

    humhumbum AT yahoo DOT com

  • Kim Lowe

    I wish all love could be unconditional and unfettered.

  • Ciaran Dwynvil

    It’s a very sad personal story. True love is unconditional, it doesn’t contain the word “but”. I wonder if his parents knew how much grief they caused their son. I hope he met someone who put the “buts” to sleep.

  • NJ Nielsen

    that was agreat but sad post to think that his family’s reaction had an rolling effect which trickled out into the wider world of everyone he was with… I am a great believer that parents should be unconditional in their love for their children. her’s hoping one day the world will be a better place.

  • Urb Anism

    This brought tears to my eyes. A dear friend of mine, self-identified as my “gay, Jewish little brother,” had to constantly remind me that he was not out at work–and we worked in the same place. He was selective in who knew, and he said his criteria was “they don’t care, and I can tell they don’t care.” So he couldn’t bring his man to our lavish open bar retirement parties. Or anywhere else where coworkers might be. This. In the 21st Century. In Southern Cal. Makes me sad. Thanks for sharing your personal experience. Very generous of you.
    brendurbanist @gmail .com

  • Shirley Frances

    great post Brandon. It is that ‘but’ that must be eradicated. As parents, there should be no condition for the love and acceptance for our children and as a society the only way to get rid of the fear that rules the hate is to educate others of the harm actions and words inflict on people. Thank you for the post, like other in this blog hop, it helps my determination to raise my kids to love and accept themselves and others, unconditionally.

  • trix23

    Absolutely heartbreaking…I wish everyone could read this.


  • Verena

    That was such a heartfelt post. Thank you for sharing this.

  • http://twitter.com/hawthornetaylor Katey

    Brandon, what a perfect illustration of just how much damage this can do–in ways people who don’t experience it don’t even have to consider. Thanks for the wonderful post. <3

  • http://www.attentionisarbitrary.com/ LisaT131 – Attention Is Arbitr

    That tiny, insidious thread of self-doubt rules everything. If that man’s parents had supported him he could have withstood all other naysayers (especially the ones in his own head). Instead that thread wove its way through many lives. Parents really have no idea of the power they wield.

  • http://www.KimberlyFDR.com/ KimberlyFDR

    Thank you for taking part in the hop!


  • http://madisonparklove.tumblr.com/ Madison Parker

    Such a thoughtful and moving post. Those internal voices can be the most hurtful. Thank you for sharing. madisonparklove@gmail.com

  • http://twitter.com/deirdre1991 deirdre

    thank you for sharing your most personal story . . . it never ceases to amaze me how damaging ‘loving’ parents can be . . .

  • syleegurl

    BRANDON…I am bawling at this post! Thank you so much for sharing. Let’s keep on to do away with the “but”…