I know it shouldn’t, but it still surprises me when openly homophobic people are shocked that their LGBTQ friends stop wanting to pursue an active friendship with them, especially after attempts to explain how hurtful it is have been ignored.
Just recently I terminated a Facebook connection with someone I had fairly recently re-added, someone from my conservative religious past. I’m pretty wary of adding people from my religious past these days because it so often backfires, but I’ve also reconnected with wonderful people from that era in my life, so I usually prefer to give people the benefit of the doubt.
They weren’t trying to be mean, they weren’t trying to insult me personally, and I’m sure they didn’t mean to make me to break out in tears when I saw their repeated homophobic posts. They just don’t understand. They aren’t LGBTQ and don’t understand how triggering it can be for us to see people who claim to love us posting belittling things about our sexual orientations, bemoaning us finally getting legal equality, making fun of our Pride symbols, etc. They just can’t relate and empathize enough to get it… And honestly I don’t have the patience or emotional energy anymore to try to make them understand when they’re clearly not ready. (I did try in this case before removing them, they didn’t know what to say so it went nowhere unfortunately.)
I know I should probably have more patience in these situations, but it gets really old trying to make them see that people don’t feel loved when their orientations and rights are belittled and insulted and denied. I’m not mean in my responses to them, but I do tend to be pretty blunt and open about my reasons, and not everyone likes or understands that.
Perhaps someday the religious Right won’t be so focused on berating LGBTQ people and atheists… Perhaps then it will be possible to be friends with some of the people that I’ve had to distance myself from for my emotional sanity’s sake. I don’t like ending or distancing friendships, but not doing so in certain cases has caused me much grief. I’ve learned a lot through these past few years… Sometimes people just need to go their separate ways, it’s healthier for everyone that way.
I don’t hate any of the people that I’ve had to remove from my life. If anything it saddens me because I would have liked to enjoy their friendship. But I also need to respect myself, and I have the right to want to surround myself with people who don’t think and say such awful things about LGBTQ people like me.