At the turn of the millennium my mother experienced the unfortunate joy of living next door to a pair of middle-aged gay drama queens. In the beginning of their friendship everything went well as the older pot-bellied queen (Steve) enjoyed being a stay-at-home drunk who greeted my mother daily with polite waves and smiles as she arrived home from work each afternoon. The younger one (Darrell) was a hard-working man who spent most of his time earning a living to support the drinking habits of his lazy boyfriend and to buy supplies for their home renovation.
The friendship between my mother and Steve grew as he slowly seeped into her daily life with more frequent carport conversations and random unannounced visits. Their unusual relationship remained consistent for about a year or two and Steve took on the role of the “fix-it” guy next door. Eventually the neighborly friendship between the trio came to an abrupt end because Steve overstepped the boundaries of trust and was caught spreading lies and gossip throughout the neighborhood. But this story isn’t really about gay drama, it’s about the unprofessional reaction of the mobile home park’s manager as she responded to a false complaint of homophobia filed by Steve in retaliation to my mother ending their friendship.
As if the letter was not offensive enough, the words tolerance, lifestyle, and chosen, all have negative undertones that reflect the ignorance of society in understanding homosexuality. It’s not tolerance the gay community wants, it’s acceptance.
TOLERANCE: acceptance of different views: the acceptance of the differing views of other people, e.g. in religious or political matters, and fairness toward the people who hold these different views.
To say one is tolerant of gays is to say one does not agree with homosexuality. Being gay is NOT an opinion, it is a fact.
The word lifestyle isn’t unique to gay people as we live our lives just the same as anyone else. We work, shop, eat, sleep, raise families, visit friends, etc.. The correct usage would be “human lifestyle” because sexuality does not have anything to do with the way a person lives.
Lastly, homosexuality is not a choice. We are born this way.
Needless to say, my mother who fiercely defends the LGBT community, marched herself down to the community office and raised a bit of Sagittarian hell with the manager over her accusation of homophobia. By the time she was finished, the manager’s tail was neatly tucked between her legs and an apology letter was promptly sent.
After the apology letter, everything worked out between my mother and the manager of the park and they formed a respectful friendship. Unfortunately, the political incorrectness of the manager’s word choice about homosexuality was never discussed. Jeanne was not necessarily anti-gay. She was most likely uniformed and socially preconditioned to view the LGBT community through the eyes of society’s discriminatory past.
As for Steve and Darrell…well….what can be said about a pair of washed-up old gay drama queens? For a year or two they continued to disrupt the lives of other residents and eventually were forced to moved out-of-state, friendless and despised.