Being a bit distracted by trying to get the kids to eat with a minimum of food chucked on the floor, I didn't catch on right away. I'd see the couple cuddling in one side of the booth earlier, but the fact that it was two women just didn't register on my radar--why should it?
As soon as I realized what he was doing, I stood up & yelled at him. I don't remember exactly what I said, but it was something to the effect that I have no problem with my children seeing a queer couple & I sure have a problem with my kids being exposed to such homophobic bigotry & that he should get lost. He left quickly, but not before having reduced one of the women to tears.
I told the pair I was sorry I hadn't realized what was going on & stood up sooner. I ran over & gave the crying woman a hug. I was so shocked by the whole experience--I can't remember a time I've ever seen something like that happen, such blatant & vicious bigotry.
I hope the women left feeling a little less alone & while I suspect the homophobic jerk isn't going to change his bigoted mind anytime soon, I hope he will think twice about spewing hatred next time he encounters LGBT people again. What was more important to me, however, was for my children to see me standing up for someone else. I want them to grow up to be people who will step in when somebody else needs help. I don't want to raise kids to stick to the safe sidelines.
I debated writing about this shortly after the event, but didn't want to seem like I was looking for praise. I see this as just being a decent human, nothing I need reinforcement of. But then I heard about the woman who was sexually assaulted in her home in Strathcona this week. She fought back & screamed & a neighbour heard her & intervened. This act may have saved her life. There were other people who held the perpetrator until police arrived--meaning he's in custody & won't be doing this to anyone else. A truly nightmarish situation was made slightly better because a few people stepped up.
I see a connection with these two events & bullying in schools too. Pink t-shirts & awareness campaigns are great, but I don't think our kids are really going to speak up against bullying unless they see us do the same in our lives. I hope someday we'll be able to prevent such harassment as I saw, or brutal crimes like the one in Strathcona from even happening, & I think in the meantime, we need to stick up for each other & stop it from getting worse. Whether it's bullying on the playground, harrassment of LGBT people in public, racism, or worse, we, the decent humans, the LGBT allies, are the majority.
Let's not be silent.
P.S. There is a crowdfunding campaign for the woman who was attacked, called Strathcona Cares.
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