This week we learned the comedian Tracy Morgan has a homophobic streak. During a recent performance, the 30 Rock actor decided to launch into an anti-gay rant, resulting in loss of much of the immediate audience, fans everywhere and perhaps, sustaining long-term damage to his reputation. We can only hope.
It irks me when someone this visible, this beloved and admired for so much talent spews hate. I’m delighted at the public reaction to Morgan’s remarks, but realize that even 20 years ago an incident like this would not have made news.
Growing up in the seventies, I heard gay slurs often; the negative phrase, “that’s so gay” was common enough for daily life and use in front of one’s parents. Gay relatives weren’t discussed; they were “confirmed bachelors” — a phrase that honestly, still makes me chuckle. The lack of acceptance, in my white, middle class, suburban upbringing was nonviolent, but also an impenetrable wall.
Lack of acceptance bubbles into hate, and hate begets violence. It’s incredible to me that in this era we have had to push forward into law legislation like the Hate Crimes Prevention Act and simultaneously, struggle to allow two people who love one another to marry and commit to one another for life; that we have to chip away at that state by state. If you were to explain these concepts to a five-year-old child, she could tell you that none of this makes sense.
It troubles me that there are so many so uncomfortable with homosexuality; that there really are people who believe being gay is a choice, or a “sin.” I often forget that is the case; I live in a fairly liberal community and have surrounded myself with people who share the same values. So it shocks me to learn or remember that parents still reject children, that adults are still afraid of coming out to friends and family, that people live in fear of being harmed for being attracted to someone of the same sex.
In the U.S., we have a history of judging people on the color of their skin. Judging on sexuality is just as inane.
This post is going to piss some people off, but I honestly don’t care. It pisses me off that anyone would think it’s OK to insult a person because of their sexual identity. Tracy Morgan, you’ve lost a fan.