What would happen if a Pit Bull, a Christian, and a lesbian walked into a bar? It sort of sounds like the setup for an off-color joke and it’s pretty much what it felt like when this tweet crossed my feed:
“This has been a historic and momentous amount of work involved, started for 1 little disabled girl’s dog.”
At that moment, I wasn’t labeled, the Pit Bull wasn’t labeled, and the Christian woman wasn’t labeled: It was just a tweet acknowledging a pure love of a shared interest involving dogs.
The town of Moreauville, Louisiana, banned all Pit Bull Terriers and Rottweilers as of October 13, 2014. In the order, these two particular breeds could no longer reside with the pet parents who owned them. If not, confiscation and “further disposition” of the dogs would occur should pet parents ignore the ban.
Breed-specific legislation targets many areas across this nation (and the world, for that matter), but this particular town caught the attention of international media.
According to KALB-TV’s website, one of the pit bulls in question is the support dog for a young woman who wears a halo (and now even the kind we cannot see) and requires the use of a wheelchair. The dog, Zeus, alerts the girl’s mom when she has seizures during the night.
The dog never received complaints, never bit anyone, and took the family (and the village) by surprise. Even the White House says breed-specific legislation is a bad idea.
Thankfully, on December 1st a hearing took place to revisit the law. The decision was overturned and the youngster was reunited with her loving dog.
We’re All Strangers Online
Sometimes it feels like we are all completely intersecting on the Internet, doesn’t it? And other times it’s as if we are all strangers and have no idea who the person is behind 140 characters.
I know because most folks who identify in their online profile as a “proud Christian woman” don’t particularly identify with me, she who came out after 20 years of being in.
If you read this blog regularly, the “in” part refers to hiding the one part of my identity that is as much a part of me as breathing: Who I am born to love. I am married to a woman.
I want to celebrate and think that people are open-minded and that the world is changing. I want to cling to 140 characters when shared in the name of dog. I want to feel proud that someone I don’t know shared a sentiment about a dog who had the eyes of the world cast upon him: And then was set free.
You see, the Christian woman included me in her tweet because I’d been blogging about the story. I don’t identify as a lesbian in my social media because I prefer to identify as a human being who loves dogs. I don’t want to have a label slapped on me any more than an innocent dog wants a label on their identity. And I am certain the Christian woman doesn’t only want to be known as a Christian, despite showcasing the fact in her profile.
Would she still tweet me and include my name if she knew my societal-given label? Does it matter when we all have the same interest of a dog in mind?
Some things shouldn’t matter, yet it breaks my heart time and again that they do. At that moment, for those characters, the celebration of a dog’s freedom is all that mattered.
I Didn’t Make the Cut
With that in mind, what if someone you knew online for a number of years and who:
- Blogged for you;
- Asked you for advice on dog party games;
- Interacted with you on social media;
- But whom you never met….
Suddenly unfollowed you and abruptly stopped “e-talking” to you soon after coming out, would that seem odd? It did to me, but we live in a time of fast-moving accounts and e-changes galore so I let it pass. I never met her after all, and we aren’t really friends IRL, I surmised.
I finally had the opportunity to question her on her timing last weekend while bantering about something on a mutual friend’s Facebook page.
“Carol it isn’t because you’re gay, it’s because you just didn’t make the cut.”
Whoa, hello seventh-grade flashbacks. I’d be lying if I said she wasn’t lying through her teeth, but why are people so stinking judgmental?
Be honest: We love dogs and share a common interest in Cockers. You’ve been awesome and now you are gay so take your gay cooties and go away. That’s a whole hell of a lot better than “you didn’t make the cut,” which made me giggle aloud.
She didn’t like my gayness and now I am free of her bigotry: Yay me!
The Moral of It All
If that pit bull, the Christian, and the lesbian walked into a bar and shared a round of sparkling water, we might just find that:
The dog breathes the same air the Christian and the lesbian breathes.
The dog has a name and the Christian has a name and the lesbian has a name.
The labels can stay on the bottles of libations lining the shelves.
And those of us who don’t make the cut in the eyes of the other can simply take their ill intents and walk away while I stay to cuddle the dog.
The solace and acceptance of open-minded people and the unconditional love of dogs is a place where everybody knows my name.
How about you?