“She’s staying home alone with the dog while her significant other visits her family on Easter,” my friend shared.
“Well, at least she has her dog with her and won’t be totally alone,” I reassured.
“Carol, they’ve been together 15 years, it shouldn’t be this way.”
Her significant other is a woman, and I was asked that if I blog about them, not to reveal their names. I understand the depth and darkness that comes with living in a closet: I did it for close to 20 years. Who am I kidding? I did it for my whole life until I kicked the door down.
After 20 years with my “significant other” – because partner sounds like someone you share a business with – I married the love of my life on June 12, 2014, exactly 21 years after we fell in love.
Why can’t people be as accepting as our pets?
The reason the first gal is staying home alone with her dog on Easter is because her partner’s family doesn’t know about her relationship: the one she’s had for 15 years. You see, if her partner’s family found out, they’d definitely “disown” their only daughter.
Can you imagine the heavy burden that acts as the silent but ever-present third partner in that relationship. It’s more than a white elephant and less than a ghost but makes its presence known any time a situation arises that involves family.
So she stays home alone with her dog.
“For most dog owners, our dogs are not possessions, they are family. Gay men in particular have found joy in bringing dogs into their nuclear circles. Their dogs love them unconditionally, without judgment or regard to sexual orientation; comfort them when they are in pain; and because most men outlive their dogs, teach them extraordinary lessons in how to cope with loss.”
From the book, Paws and Reflect: Exploring the Bond Between Gay Men and Their Dogs, the above statement applies to any of us: Gay or straight, single or married, any age, any creed. Dogs love us unconditionally without judgment and without reservation.
I wonder how many folks who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender have a fear of being who they are, and they take extra comfort in knowing their pets are nonjudgmental.
I wonder how many folks are straight and are reading this have something they are holding deep inside and they wish with all their might that it never is revealed. Secrets are safe with our pets.
Dogs don’t judge us.
I realize that I waited so long to share all of myself with my readers, my friends, my co-workers, and hell, the world for that matter because I was afraid: of being judged, chided, humiliated, fired, picked on, abused, harmed, ignored, laughed at, and most of all, losing those I truly care about.
I wonder why dogs don’t care about stuff like that. It is in those moments I am reminded why my heart beats dog®, why this blog is called Fidose of Reality, and why I will never stop being true to who I am ever again.
After a recent national uproar over bills guised as religious freedom measures and criticized as anti-gay, lawmakers in Indiana and in Arkansas approved new legislation today to remove certain language.
Had the bill stayed as it was in Indiana, businesses would have been able to legally discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered individuals.
For those not following it, Indiana’s original Religious Freedom Restoration Act was signed by Governor Pence last week. In it, an individual or corporation could legally cite religious beliefs as a defense when sued by a private party. In doing so, this opened the door for widespread discrimination against those who identify as LGBT.
So if I went to Indiana and wanted to buy treats for my dog in a pet supply store, my dog might be welcome, but if I revealed I am married to a woman, I could be denied service.
When an Indiana pizza parlor owner told a local news station that if a gay couple wanted to order pizzas for their wedding, “we would have to say no,” all hell broke loose. Threats ensued, Yelp was inundated, and chaos resulted. The pizza shut down. Never fear, a GoFundMe page set up for them, which raised over $400,000 as of this writing.
Yikes, but I don’t feel as alone as I did five years ago.
People spoke up. Company CEO’s spoke out. It’s pretty cool to be on the side of the minority who could be the majority if and when they all decide to come forward and come out.
Folks who would rather my rights be denied have dogs.
Folks in closets have dogs.
Folks who kicked the closet door down have dogs.
Dogs don’t judge us nor do they care if the door is open, closed, or even if a door exists.
Even if you are not gay, lesbian, transgender, or bisexual, it’s really important to care about LGBT rights. It’s really important to be a straight ally and incite equality and squash hate. It’s really important to be, well, more like our dogs and not judge.
Here are some things you can do to be a straight ally.