We believe homophobia to be the exclusive territory of diehards, the people who wave signs that “God Hates Fags” or broadcast their revulsion through a microphone outside Old Navy on State Street. We label them as “crazy” and quickly look away.
However, bigotry isn’t so easily identifiable. It doesn’t always wave signs or march on your funeral or spit in your face at a Pride parade. Bigotry might be your grandfather who turns away slightly when you hug your boyfriend or your grandmother who asks you’re bringing your “friend” to Christmas. It might be your mother who gave life to you but doesn’t know how to deal with this other thing inside you, who fights herself to love you better. It might live in your own heart, tucked away in one of the rooms you never go into, a room you might not know is there. It might shine in that ersatz smile you show to the trans* and queer youth of color that walk down your street, the ones you push past and learn to politely ignore when you get that late-night cocktail at Minibar. It might be the neighborhood you want to keep “nice.”