Tuesday, October 24, 2006

My Hate Crime

I found myself in the U’s Union building today, a rare thing, but, in walking through one of the halls, a guilty pleasure of a memory came back to me.

I was attending college, my first year, and I was out to all my friends and family. R and I had been together for under a year.

One night, all our friends were hanging out at my house, and one of my buddies tells me of a laughable call he had received the night before. It was from a kid who went to my high school; let’s call this kid Steve. Steve, it seems, was very concerned for my friend, as he had just found out that I, Scot Everyman, was a homosexual, and was probably forming plans to rape or, at least, convert all those around me ;-). The people must be warned! The villagers alerted!

My friend explained to Steve why he was a prick, and hung up. Who knows how many calls this kid made, but I hoped it was a lot :-). At the time we found it hilarious, particularly because of the source, but the thought of it started to bother me more and more.

Soon after that, I’d be walking the campus and I’d hear kids say “fag”, as they passed. At first it was so muted that each time I doubted I heard it correctly or thought that it was said in conversation to someone else. They weren't people I knew, anyway. Eventually it became clear I heard correctly and it was said to me, as it would happen each time I passed a particular group. But when I’d ask, “What did you say?” I’d get a “Nothing” back and that sick grin.

What was happening became clear when I saw this same group of strangers with my gay-panicked Steve. It was clear who was the impetus, and I became incensed. Fortunately, I didn’t see any of them for a couple days afterwards, but then I found myself walking down this hall in the union and ahead of me was Steve, with a couple of those same friends, walking towards me.

I felt a sense of pleasure that I couldn’t have anticipated, and he saw it on my face. As we got nearer and nearer he smiled in return, misinterpreting the emotion, and it hit me: he didn’t know I knew what he’d been up to. He was walking up to me and was going to act like we were old friends from high school, and then joke with his buddies about it when he escaped earshot. Excellent, I thought.

We got a couple yards apart and from his mouth came a pleasant “Hi, Sco…”

And there I was, in the Union, my forearm pressed at his throat. I was holding him up against the wall, and so close as to know he was uncomfortable in all sorts of ways.

I think we were both surprised.

Now, I must pause here and say this is the second of only two physical attacks I've ever perpetrated in my life; the other being in elementary school. I’m not proud of it (but I can’t claim I don’t smile at the memory).

Anyway, the people around us stopped. I bet we were all thinking the same thing. What next?

Were his frat friends going to be a problem? Nope. They had put a good distance between us, and were just watching, surprised as well. Good, I thought, let them watch, get a good look at this fag holding up their friend.

I looked back at Steve. I was pushing too hard, and let up a bit. I didn’t want to do any serious harm, but what was he thinking? That I’d just let it slide? Wasn’t it obvious? I was in my prime, worked out every day, and he was a sliver of a kid, and felt so frail as he squirmed in front of me. How did he think he could treat anyone like that, and not find himself in this position? It was one of those times when my naivety regarding being gay would pay off.

All the time I’m thinking these things, I’m looking at him, and no longer smiling. I wonder if that pause seemed bad-ass steely? I bet it did, but it was really just confusion and lack of planning on my part.

He broke the silence. Out slipped an apology; no explanation on my part was necessary. Thank Goodness I’d not made a mistake, I thought, and then it was my turn.

Man, I wish I could remember exactly what I said. There were some insults and a couple bad words, I know. I also know he offered no counter arguments to my well-reasoned analysis of his worth :-). I’m sure it wasn’t as cool as what I’d put into the script of my life; it never is. Nonetheless, it did the trick. I let him go, we walked our separate ways, and that was the end of being called a fag on campus. It was in fact the last time I saw Steve.

I wonder if he just kept out of sight, or left the school for another reason. But, as is often the case, that’s not the end of the story. I did hear about Steve, one last time. He was in the news, convicted of raping a girl by drugging her drink.

That one event in the union, my crime of hate :-), was a significant lesson on my temper, and not since have I been physically forceful with anyone. Don’t get me wrong, it felt really good to exact some vengeance, but once it was done I felt like I’d betrayed something. Nevertheless, after learning what he went on to do with his life, I guess I don’t feel too bad for making him panic, just a bit.


Loyalist (with defects) said...

The length and ability of people to discredit or marginalize others has always come as a shock to me. The rationalization of the irrational thinker, especially when it comes to the LDS has always shocked me the most. Over the years, of course, the shock has lessened but only ever so slightly.

We, as LDS, continually emphasis that “we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, (and) we prophesy of Christ…” yet there are some who feel that His teachings do not apply to all situations. Prideful piousness is most certainly not justification of illegitimate actions.

Chris said...

I hesitate to post this because I think I have developed a bit of a strident reputation here in the gay bloggernacle of late. Oh well.

I find it astonishing that people who would never call Scot or me or any other gay person a "fag," have no problem associating themselves with, and even endorsing, kinder forms of anti-gay speech and behavior. In some ways, I find the bigot willing to use the word "fag" far easier to understand and deal with--and, ultimately, less threatening.

-L- said...

And I find the fag who manages some empathy far less threatening or obnoxious than one who perpetually oversimplifies the struggles and deliberate adherence to conscience of those he disagrees with. I certainly hope you don't perceive me as one of those who have "no problem". And if you do, you're plain wrong.

Chris said...

L, for what it's worth, I didn't have you in mind when I put this post up.

Scot said...

Don’t listen to him, L!

Chris sent me a secret email last night, for which I’ve no proof as my dog deleted it, detailing all the ways in which you were really a homophobe who, if truth be told, would have all those practicing the “homersexul” lifestyle shipped off to Iran, and made into Soylent Green for pigs. Can you believe it!?

It was an odd coincidence, as I had just got your secret email, going on and on, ad nauseum, on how Chris is a lecherous, unprincipled, anti-LDS delinquent who cares only to justify the bacchanal that he somehow regards as a life, just like me.

I know, Chris, I was shocked too.

Now, my blog demands it’s first fight, blood. Have at it...


I'm a good arbitrator. ( ;-), just in case)

Scot said...


I think we need to heal. Let it all out. Here, I’ll start:


I feel better..

Now, seriously, this is a reason to not blog (#6 in fact :-)): good people on different sides of an issue. It’s inevitably going to cause hard feelings at times and distance between people who should be fast friends. Just have to fight through it and decide if it’s still worth it; it can be worth it, right?

As to Chris’ point, I see where he’s coming from. Adding up all the time’s I’ve been called a fag, it’s a fraction of the sting compared to the time my old friend told me he’d “even socialize with a thief.” Fred, for example, is more comical, but, the Pope, he’s threatening in practical ways, though the language is infinitely more tame, and erudite, with frequent disclaimers of love. Still, as a person, I like the Pope a good deal more; can’t help it.

On that other end, I know you, L, aren’t without your sincere and serious struggles with the “kinder forms of anti-gay speech and behavior”, and I think Chris does too. I feel helpless about the predicament, not angry at you for being in it, as you clearly do try to be as kind as your faith allows, maybe more so at times, and even when you do some political harm, you believe it’s ultimately for kind reasons. But I do similarly think you’re wrong about something that literally hits home, and it isn’t easy to negotiate such territory, socially.

chosha said...

Betrayed something my ass. Perfect response to a cowardly back-stabber. (IMNSHO)