AI: Handling Hate
December and January are months when I usually spend a lot more time around my parents. Mostly, it’s a nice experience, I love them and miss living with them a lot. But while this extra time spent together brought me a wonderful surprise in my mother’s behavior, my dad’s hasn’t changed at all.
His general homophobia was the biggest source of distress when we lived together and one of the main reasons I chose going to college 12 hours away from home. Basically any of the myths and misconceptions ever posted here, he has said it out loud at some point. Once, about five years ago (and this one I will never ever forget), when one of Brasil’s first attempts at laws against homophobia/transphobia was being voted, that it was a setback that would help protect pedophiles, since all pedophiles are gay and would therefore be protected by law in doing what they were doing.
I’m not even going to comment on the way this things hurt me and how much it hurts that he hasn’t changed one bit since I moved out. What I’m bringint today is: I don’t live there anymore, I’m only there for a small period of time around the holidays, I know he isn’t going to physically harm me (or anyone else), so it just isn’t worth it to fight him anymore. I grind my teeth, I hold back all sense and logic, and manage to feel wounded in quiet. And let him be quite open about his hate, even though it makes me respect him less and less.
So I ask you:
How do you deal with hate when it comes from so close? Can any form of direct confrontation ever be helpful in dealing with hate speech or does it just bring out the most irrational arguments? Do you believe everyone is capable of change (even someone who refused to for a very long time)?
The Afternoon Inqueery (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Queereka community. Look for it every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday at 3pm ET.