Chick-fil-A, and A Million Little Paper Cuts

The night before I left for my cruise, I briefly checked the internet. I did it for a friend. Then, I saw this.

Chick-fil-A lost a lot of respect points on August 1. Actually, no. They lost all of them. Image via dailykos.com

Like I’ve said before, I dislike anger. Like every emotion, it has its pros and its cons, its uses and its pitfalls. But anger, because of my life experiences, I have come to abhor.

Chick-fil-A made me so angry. For a good hour, I sat in my hotel room and tried to tame the typhoon of rage roaring inside my head – but to no avail. So, on the night of August 1, 2012, I wrote this.

I wonder if this is how my mother feels, when her anger entrenches her entirely, and blows her reasoning to bits.

Everyone has the right to express their opinion. It’s in the Constitution. I could say I’m against blacks, even though I’m not. Chick-fil-A can say it’s against gays, even though it shouldn’t.

I’m tempted to utilize logic right now. But everyone knows the logic behind this issue. Having gay parents has absolutely no effect on a child. Gay marriage clearly doesn’t hurt the institution, when straight couples are getting divorced faster than you can say “hypocrisy.” Even Christianity, a religion I am not too familiar with, preaches compassion for all human beings (for more on that, read this post).

The facts have been noted. Now here’s how I really feel.

“It’s not like a stab wound you can protect me from,” Alec Lightwood says to his sister, Isabelle,” it’s a million little paper cuts every day.”

He’s talking about how it feels like to be gay in contemporary society. And he’s right. As I told one of my friends, when I read that passage, I sat down and stared into space for a solid five minutes, reflecting on its truth.

A common phrase people use is “I know how you feel.” While it i a kind thing to say, and I have nothing against it, in some scenarios it can be seen as a shortsighted and overly vague term.

Let’s say your dog passed away. And someone said “I know how you feel” to you. Sure, their pet may have passed away in the past – perhaps it was a dog as well. But do they really know how you feel? Do they share every good memory that you shared with your dog, every memory that you will cherish as you count your days without him?

It’s like that with being gay. Yes, people may sympathize with us – empathize, even – but no one will know our exact struggles. Even gays cannot perfectly, 100% know what other gays have gone through. It’s because we have a million little paper cuts. A million. With that many, no one will have the exact same wounds – we’ll all have paper cuts in different places on our hearts, and of varying depths. Now that I think about it, this can be said about everyone, straight or gay. It’s all about hurt and healing and society and to put it blatantly, the process is a painful one.

Yes, I’m gay, and yes, it hurts some times. Yes, it hurts when you realize people who were your friends suddenly hate you because of our sexuality, something that doesn’t really matter. Yes, it hurts when my aunt always asks me “when will you get a girlfriend!? I hope she’s pretty!” as if she cannot fathom me falling in love with a man, as if getting a girlfriend is the zenith of her hopes for me. Yes, it hurts when you have to hide something that could get you killed by some homophobic bigot.

But, you know what? It also hurts to have to accept my mother’s conditional affection for me, and to have a sick grandmother who can barely walk. And I’m sure there are other gay people who have to put up with cancer and poverty and other things on top of the blows being dealt to them by society.

Thank you, to everyone who supports gays. I know I stated that it’s impossible to perfectly relate to someone else (as in, knowing exactly what they’ve gone through and how they felt) but it’s the effort that counts. It’s a cliche saying, but in this case, it is. Thank you, really, to everyone who supports love of their fellow human beings. Because you are the people lightening the load for me, and for others. There is so much hate and disease and suffering in this world, and love is the light that gives us hope.

Finally, Chick-fil-A, and all of the conservative groups you give money to? I’m going to go take a shower, get up in the morning, and enjoy my cruise. Because several years from now – maybe 100, 150, or 200+, when I’m dead and gone, your name will be in the textbooks. Your name will be the symbol of our society’s hate, bigotry, and ignorance.

I hope my grandchildren laugh at you.

Yes, to anyone who was wondering, that made me feel a lot better. Thoughts? Agree or disagree? Even if you disagree, please don’t hesitate to share your opinion – like I said, everyone has the right to be heard. Now that I’m back from my cruise, I’m focusing on getting ready for the school year by finishing my summer homework and starting college applications. Wish me luck!

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17 Comments

Filed under Personal, Society

17 responses to “Chick-fil-A, and A Million Little Paper Cuts

  1. Good luck. Your whole life stands before you, just waiting 😉

  2. Sometimes I get sick of people, I’m sorry to say that but it’s true. Sometimes I feel like running away to some obscure little island with my books, in fact I can see myself living on coconut and the parrots look like better company. There are good people out there, I include you and me, but everyday that goes by I see our numbers keep shrinking with all this hate and ignorance and you know what aches me? That many willingly refuse to come out of their ignorant haze and continue to not care, to not try to understand.

    Chick-fil-a is a name I’ve heard very often recently as I’ve never heard of it before but I still can’t believe they’d put something like that up. Not only are they offending a considerable portion of customers but it’s a display of gross disrespect. They way I see it I think gays are stronger than the average straight people because of what you have to put up with, maybe not all are that confident but it takes guts to be yourself in society.

    It’s true what you say, know one can never know exactly what the other person is going through they might have an inkling, every struggle is unique.
    One of the things I learned why it’s important to be yourself is because only then you can know who your friends really are. If you pretend to be someone you’re not, you end up having ‘pretend’ friends. I think I just came up with a metaphor (or something like one) on ‘coming out’ (which can possibly take on different meanings for instance, ‘coming out of the closet’ or simply deciding to be you), please tell me what you think:

    “Coming out is like molting, you might be reluctant to lose your old feathers and afraid of the pain but in the end after the shedding the feathers that remained are the most beautiful of them all.”

    I hope my grandchildren laugh at you. I laughed at that line so much I love it!

    Cliches are cliches because, more often than not, they’re true 😉 I hope you enjoyed your cruise 🙂

    • By the way, I liked how Alec put it using the paper cuts to show how the hurt feels like, it’s very effective.

      • Don’t worry I understand, sometimes people can be rather irritating with their ignorance – but it should be one of our goals to help them see the light, especially in regard to issues like homosexuality and accepting other people in general. I also entirely agree with how some gay people are stronger because they have had to put up with society’s prejudice and discrimination against them.

        I love your metaphor! It is exquisite. I think it is important to be who you truly are in terms of your personality and your feelings. However, I do not think that one has to really announce their sexuality or “come out” just to have true friends, because in the end sexuality itself is not such an important matter (when compared to things like the goodness of one’s heart).

        I did enjoy my cruise, and thanks for reading and commenting!

  3. Agree! Well said, and I love the quote, it really has so much depth to it!

  4. Andreas

    Hey, just stumbled upon this post. Yes, being gay can hurt some times. I tried to tell my friends that I kinda like boys, the way I feel about wanting to have a real relationship, not with a girl, and they were telling me, like: “Oh, my, u gotta be kidding me!” or “R u serious?”, sth like that, but I get it, they quite accepted it, only they won’t stand when I start rambling about the hot guys and whatever, :).

    it hurts when my aunt always asks me “when will you get a girlfriend!? I hope she’s pretty!” as if she cannot fathom me falling in love with a man, as if getting a girlfriend is the zenith of her hopes for me. Yeah, I hated that, too. Them asking everything without knowing the real truth, sigh. Anyway, it was great, I dreamed of being one of the guys who support gay rights, I really do.

    I was just wondering, if u know, a web link which shows the characteristics of gays and everything, cuz frankly, I’m still confused about my sexuality. Thanks! 🙂

    • Oh I totally know how that feels. I tried coming out to one of my closest friends a long time ago and she literally said “are you joking!? you must be joking!” the funny thing is that the next day I actually told her that I was joking, and she believed me. I eventually came out to her for real and she accepted it easily, but it is unfortunate when people freak out over something that isn’t a big deal.

      Yeah – it’s not exactly my aunt’s fault or people’s fault when they assume males will like females, because that is more prevalent in society, but still. There are alternatives.

      Could you clarify what you mean by “the characteristics of gays”? Because all “gay” means is either 1) extremely happy, or 2) attracted to individuals of the same sex.

      • Andreas

        Well, I meant the second meaning. But, I’m aware that there are two meanings for the word “gay”. 🙂

        • I understand. It’s just that that’s all there is to being gay. If you are gay, you are attracted to individuals of the same sex. That’s all. You can be a bodybuilder, you can have fashion sense, you can have no fashion sense, you can like playing videos, you can enjoy reading, etc. There’s nothing to being gay besides that you are attracted to individuals of the same sex. Everything else is a stereotype.

          • Andreas

            Oh, okay. Well, how about, if I found myself swooning over hot guys, or somebody who is cute and everything? Can it be categorized as being gay? I DON’T KNOW. I don’t think that chicks are that attractive compared to boys, for me. Okay, they’re probably hot and sexy, but, so what? Yeah, u know, I actually have 2 embarrassing situations, which I mistakenly thought that the guy that I like liked me back, where, in fact, they weren’t. That was quite heart-broken and i don’t know what to say. With girls, I feel like they’re my best friends and I don’t feel attracted to them, but with boys, It’s a completely different thing. I want to have a real relationship with them and I’m so completely allured to them. So, based on these, is it safe to say that I’m a gay or you probably have other thoughts on your mind?

            • From what you have said, I would say that you are gay. If you are only attracted to guys and want to be with them more than just as friends, your sexual orientation is a gay sexual orientation.

              • Andreas, I agree with jmtromm. I’d say, from the information you’ve provided, that you are gay. Being physically attracted to males and wanting to have a romantic relationship with another male are definite indicators of a gay sexual orientation.

              • Andreas

                Thanks a lot. It really helps. 🙂

                • Andreas

                  Well, as you can see, I’m still in the closet and I have no plans yet to tell anyone about this other than my friends. It’s a relief to know that what I have guessed all this time were right. At this time, I think, knowing that my sexual orientation is gay, is enough. BTW, I’m a Christian, too, so yeah, you know. Thanks guys (Thomas and jmtromm), really, I mean it.

                  • You’re welcome! I’m glad I can help – sexuality can be a confusing concept, but it’s not the big deal that media makes it out to be. Good luck telling your friends!

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