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The Bigot and the Butterfly

This is the story of the bigot and the butterfly and it does involve dogs. Why oh why do people who have nothing nice to say choose to verbalize disdain for my dog in a public setting? This dog blog is all about health, wellness, and a dose of humor now and then, too. This includes emotional and mental well being, so when a bigot recently crossed my path: First thwarting insults about my dog and then towards me, well, I do what any good blogger does: I tell the world, teach, and stop that nonsense in its hateful tracks.

Oh No You Just Didn’t

While vacationing recently in Provincetown, Massachusetts, the following occurred in a t-shirt shop while my family and I stood in line to pay for our selections:

“Look at those ladies. They are together and they have a goddamned stroller for their dog!”

This woman was several customers behind us but loud enough so that these words were audible to me.

Being that I was the only one in line with a “goddamned stroller,” I turned to look her way.

Something in me just said, “No more.”

Me: “You never saw a dog stroller before?”

Ignoramus: “Yeah, lady I have.”

She sighed and said aloud to her (I assume) husband, “Listen to that crap!”

Me: “My dog has better manners than you. Take a lesson”.

I smooched my wife. The Ignoramus told me I was disgusting.

At that point I just smiled and ignored her. Hate is hate.  I never argue with an idiot and I never take issue in a battle of wits with an unarmed person.

Do not hate on me or my dog

This is Provincetown

I took to social media during our vacation because this upset me but also because I wanted people to read the hateful words directed to me, my wife, and our dog.

“It is no coincidence that for more than 50 years, the gay and lesbian community returns every summer to Provincetown. The recent development/tourism development of Provincetown owes much to this community here where one can find a place to feel at home.” This is a direct statement from the Visit Provincetown website.

One of the most pet- and LGBT-friendly towns I’ve ever visited is Provincetown, Massachusetts. Cape Cod hiking trails are enchanting. The federally protected uplands and bogs of the national seashore encompasses more than 27,000 acres and takes up more than half of Wellfleet, Massachusetts. Both Wellfleet and Truro are near Provincetown, which is more beachy than tree-lined but a perfect spot to end a day of sightseeing with your dog. Leashed dogs are allowed on some beaches in the off season, too. We’ve been there close to a dozen times, so when bigotry makes itself known, I have a zero tolerance policy. It is not acceptable in Provincetown nor is it acceptable in any town.

While there, we visited the Human Rights Campaign store, where we purchased some items and chatted with the employees, sharing our tale of “whoa,” which will be shared with the Chamber of Commerce in Provincetown.

lesbian love

Love trumps hate. Love triumphs over hate. Two of the thoughts that spun round in my mind during this verbal attack:

  1. How did the hater know I was with my wife? To the naked eye, we were two women standing in a long line with their dog and a stroller. Even so, why are you hating on me/us?
  2. Why attack my dog’s stroller? Even if I wanted to ride in the stroller, this is my right. My dog has a stroller because he had two leg surgeries. Many dogs have strollers. This is 2016. Dogs are family. Dogs of all sizes ride in strollers for convenience, for injury, or any number of reasons.

I won’t tolerate hate. I stayed silent and “closeted” for over 20 years and the proverbial closet is now stuffed with shoes. I won’t go back in.

dog stroller

The Butterfly

I thought about getting a tattoo while in Provincetown. Tattoos were never my “thing” personally until my first Cocker Spaniel died. It was during my horrific time of dealing with the grief that I gifted myself her replica pawprint on my leg. You can read all about my pawprint tattoo experience below.

This girl now has three dog-related tattoos, all from the same shop in Provincetown over the years, and now a fourth tattoo spoke to me. I believe the bigot solidified my decision.

The final "paw-roduct"

When our Brandy Noel died in 2008, a butterfly hovered over her the day we took her to the vet to help her to the Rainbow Bridge.

After 20 years, I finally “came out” a few years ago. I did so with pride: A rainbow of pride.

Darlene is my wife, soul mate, and wind beneath my wings.

A butterfly makes progress when she spreads her wings and flies.

The above is my latest tattoo. It didn’t tickle but it was tolerable and I love the guest artist, Kati Vaughn, of Mooncusser Tattoo, who did this beautiful artwork.

If you told me 23 years ago that this would be my life and I would have four tattoos…. I’d have laughed. Today I flutter my wings and smile with pride.

If you are considering a tattoo and looking for a dog-themed design, here is my journey with my first tattoo. My heart beats dog® and I’m taking that and my tats to the grave. Bigots be gone!

My Heart Beats Dog tattoo

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Comments

  1. Jacqui M says

    I just love this story and the way you handled the bigot in the store. It’s shame that hate and spew are still alive and well in this country. God help us all should Donald Trump be elected as this type of hate and bigotry would become even more prevalent. Keep fighting for what you believe, Carol. You are making a difference for so many.

  2. Two French Bulldogs says

    This infuriates mom. People like this need to move to the island of haters. My friend and I were walking one time and a woman who looked like someone’s mom looked at us, then looked at my friend, spit on the ground and said “disgusting dyke.” Mom lost it and said several HBO words.
    Our stroller, “dogs belong on the ground.” Mom looked at her and said, not after 2 recent knee surgeries. Ugh!!!
    Thanks for the good post.
    Lily & Edward

  3. Golden Daily Scoop says

    Being from Massachusetts and a lover of all things P-town, this disgusts me. I am so glad you spoke up against that woman. How dare she judge you AND the fact that you had a dog with a stroller. Miserable people like this deserve to be shipped off to an isolated island all by themselves. Thank you for sharing your story, your tattoo and the story behind it is beautiful!

    • Carol Bryant says

      I just don’t understand hate. No matter where it happens, it is unacceptable. As you say though, right there in Ptown. She was on one of those buses that bring folks over for the day. Scary. Thanks for your kind words, pals! 😉

  4. All Things Collie says

    Wow! If you are going to live your life, intolerant of people who are different than you, P-town should not be your vacation destination. I just never get why people feel they can judge and/or condemn someone else based on their age, sex, religion, nationality, race, politic affiliation or sexual orientation. Shouldn’t we all be more enlightened by now?

    • Carol Bryant says

      Being who I am is a nonissue. I just don’t get hate and the way some people feel they have to put it out there and be awful human beings.

    • Carol Bryant says

      I appreciate that. I was just floored and won’t take it anymore. Educating and stopping hate as much as I can are my goals.

  5. Kari says

    How awful to be confronted with hate. I love your tattoos though! I have two in tribute to the same dog, and I expect by the end of my life I’ll have a full sleeve of all the dogs I’ve loved before.

    • Carol Bryant says

      There is something so magical and peaceful about tattoos that have meaning to me. I love that you said you will probably have a full sleeve of dogs. I can so relate! Thanks for your comment, Kari.

  6. M. K. Clinton says

    I am so sorry that there are still bigoted idiots in the world. I guess it should be obvious with our current political situation. Love is always the answer. I’m sure Ignoramous knew y’all were together because like most loving spouses, you LOOK like you belong together. ♥

  7. The Swiss Cats says

    I just love your story, and what I like the best is how you are able to react calmly and to manage stupid or intolerant people in such a polite way. Your tattoo is gorgeous, and is so meaningful (can I say that about a tattoo ?). Claire

  8. Caren Gittleman says

    I read about this on Facebook when it happened. I had mentioned, since I visited Truro and Provincetown last summer that I was shocked……appalled……..I STILL am. But……..I am so happy you put her in her place!!

  9. Cathy Armato says

    What a loser that woman is. I’m so glad you spoke up and I’m even more glad you shared the story widely. I do hope that shopkeeper tells the Chamber of Commerce what happened. They should know there are haters among them. Some people have such feeble lives, they need to talk about and remark on everyone else’s. It would have given this hetero lady great pleasure to have punched that moron’s lights out on your behalf – What a schmuck! Spread those beautiful rainbow wings and soar my friend – soar higher than that loser ever could!
    Love Ya!
    Cathy

  10. Rachel says

    I am so sorry that this happened to you and continues to happen around the world. What upsets me the most is that I know that you and Darlene are beautiful, caring, loving people who do so much to help the world, and random people choose not to see that. They are definitely missing out. Your family is beautiful!

  11. Val Silver says

    Wish I had a stroller like that for Lou – poor baby had trouble walking and I felt so guilty going for walks without him.

    I think it’s rather curious that this bigot woman would be in Provincetown.. I was there over 20 years ago and it didn’t take long for someone to hand me a flyer for that night’s entertainment – “the Dyketones” and to breakfast at a restaurant where our male server dressed as women, referred to self as “she” and “lesbian”. I still don’t understand that, I admit.

    Maybe she just wanted to vacation somewhere where she had opportunity to spew her hate. I’m sorry you have to deal with that kind of stuff. Maybe after your rebuff she’ll think twice about spewing from her mouth. But maybe not. Some people never get that enlightened.

    • Carol Bryant says

      It really did shock me but I will no longer be silent. It is unacceptable to hate on people. Thanks for caring and chiming in, Val.

  12. Teddy says

    I just came across your blog and this is the first thing I read. First off, I’m sorry you experienced that and secondly, yay for you for standing up for yourself. Hopefully she’ll think twice before being so hateful in the future (I wouldn’t hold my breath though).

    And about the stroller,, why do people CARE if someone else’s dog’s in a stroller? Aren’t there far more worse things to be upset about than someone spending time with their fur baby and obviously loving them to the point of GETTING them a stroller and then taking them along even though it may not be convenient? That woman was in an uproar about that but bet she wouldn’t say boo to someone who left their pet in a hot car. And how many kids have we seen in strollers that are old enough to walk and yet there they sit. Can you imagine if moms were attacked like this? Someone would be goin’ down! Anyway, love your blog and thanks for sharing.

  13. karen says

    I’m so glad you spoke up against that woman. How dare she judge you and the fact that you had a dog with a stroller. Miserable people like this deserve to be shipped off to an isolated island all by themselves. Thanks for shared your story, I like this 🙂

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