Guest Blogger: Mary Frances Love
Equality Florida Member, Naples & Volunteer Copyright Attorney
Straights for Marriage Equality - An Ally's Story
About 18 months ago, I was riding my bicycle through my neighborhood in SW Florida when a woman in a beat up old car made an illegal left turn, while speeding and talking on her cell phone, and almost hit me. She immediately slammed on her brakes and rolled down her window, so I rode over to her car expecting an apology. Much to my surprise, she started screaming homophobic slurs at me. I mean really screaming awful things. I was so confused! Why, I thought, does she think I’m a Lesbian? Is there something about a bicycle? My helmet? What the heck was going on? I was just frozen by her red angry face.
I started off down the street on my bike while she followed me still screaming at the top of her lungs. I had to cut over to the bike path to get away from her and, once I was safely out of sight, I found a park bench and caught my breath. Then I realized that her tirade wasn’t because she thought I was a Lesbian, it was because her words were the most hurtful things she could think of to say to me. In her mind, the worst insult she could hurl at someone was a homophobic slur. Then it dawned on me, this is what Gays and Lesbians deal with in their lives. I felt like I’d been hit by a truck.
Since that day, I’ve become more proactive in my support for marriage equality. If I hear someone say they don’t support gay marriage, I speak up and say “Really? I do. What are your issues? Let’s talk about it.” I probably won’t change anybody’s mind, but I don’t want to stay silent. It’s time for straight people to speak up. I’m also happy to be volunteering my branding expertise to Equality Florida. I’ll also be attending a rally after the Supreme Court decision comes down this month. Good news or bad, I want to stand in solidarity with my Gay and Lesbian friends.