Just Don’t Be An Asshole—It's Simple!
This blog post is not about my books, but rather something I urgently need to address.
Racism and homophobia.
Two things which are just not okay.
It is not acceptable.
I’m a tolerant person, but if you display any of these traits, I will call you out on your shit. I’m currently sitting on my bed—still shaking with anger—after an argument with my parents about racism and homophobia. I have always been surrounded by these kind of people, and some have told me that it’s a miracle I managed to turn out the complete opposite of them.
Miracle? Not really. I like to think of it more as common sense and a zero tolerance for bullshit ignorance.
My parents have always been racist, more so my father, and I discovered quite recently that my brother is homophobic. I’d also like to mention that we have two gay sisters, which my parents have always supported, but yet what I’m about to write about makes NO SENSE at all. How can you support your gay children when you think gay people shouldn’t openly embrace their sexuality?
About a week ago, my brother came to visit my mum. We’re not close—more civil than anything. A gay couple appears on TV and for the first time ever, I hear my brother say something disgusting: that gay people shouldn't be allowed on TV, that he doesn't want to see that, and we shouldn't be teaching our kids that being gay is acceptable.
I flipped. My emotions were already sky-high that week—I'd finally managed to put my rapist behind bars. I was exhausted, but no less inclined to overlook someone else’s utter bullshit! So, we argued, I called him out on all of his shit, and then later on he apologised to me and said it came out wrong and he knew that as soon as he said it. My respect for him went way down, but I accepted his apology purely out of exhaustion. However, make no mistake, once my respect goes down for someone the damage is done. It’s permanent. And I won’t ever forget it. Today, after I showered, I went into the living room and brought out my laptop. Being awake at 1 o' clock in the afternoon was early for me, and I was dressed—two of my biggest achievements of that day. As I was working on preparing a launch for my first MM book, my mum started talking about my brother. I don’t recall how we got onto the subject, but before I knew it, we were discussing his way of thinking and lifestyle. Let me put it straight: my brother's a slacker. Got his first job at 27 and spends all of his spare time smoking weed. He’d rather smoke weed than have electricity in his home, or wash. It’s pitiful, but he doesn’t see anything wrong with how he lives. Doesn't make an effort with anyone, and certainly doesn't with me. I only have one memory of him when I was a child, and it was when he bought me an Easter egg. It was wrapped in pink foil and it had a toy inside.
Anyway, I got into this conversation with my mum, then my dad in the background began joining in. I said that I was hurt by my brother’s treatment and that he didn't even say anything to me about the rape or the court case; no words of encouragement. Nothing. Even when he visited that day last week, he didn't say anything. I get that some people find it hard to express themselves, however I think with technology we have a major advantage of overcoming that—messaging. A simple Facebook or text message would’ve been enough. But, no. His mute reaction was the same as one of my sister’s, who I’m also not that close with. I’ve always been different from my family. I’ve always been career minded, wanted to travel, to teach, to help raise awareness. Whereas the rest of my family don’t work, and are more than happy to stay in the same town for the test of their lives.
There’s no shame in that, but it’s not for me.
Back to the argument. My mum repeatedly kept justifying my brother's behaviour with "but he's my boy", over and over again. It was just pissing me off even more, but I managed to remain cool throughout the entire argument, which my dad kept jumping in on and twisting my words. Apparently, I was seeking praise from my brother regarding the rape. I can’t even. I didn’t want praise, just a little encouragement to face the most horrific day of my life.
When the argument began to get overheated, my dad left the living room, I returned to typing, but my mum brought my brother up again. I could hear my dad in the hallway saying to my step dad that he agreed with my brother about gays being on TV. "Anyone who isn't white, straight, and Scottish are not okay. N(word), Jews, gays, Polish people, the lot of ‘em."
I lost my shit.
I just can't stand racism, or even begin to see from their Trumpster point of views. So, I did what I always do when provoked like this—I called my dad out on his shit and said he was a racist prick. My mum’s face was a picture, and she said that she agreed with my dad and brother. I said how can you agree with dad when you watch programmes like Roots? She says, well, everybody gets bullied. I said this is a whole different level. People of colour and the gay community are suppressed far worse than we are. She said whatever, she doesn't want to see gay people on TV either.
"Why would I want to see them kissing on the bus?"
"Why the fuck would I want to see straight people kissing on the bus?"
"I don't want to see that, either." I know my family are trying to test me. I know that. I know people throughout life will continue to test me and push me over the edge, and I naturally find these moments difficult to overcome. However, I will not let these people—family or not—silence me.
“Why do you bother about it [racism]? It doesn’t affect you,” my mum said.
“Because it does affect me, mum! It affects us all as human beings! People who are discriminated against need our help! We need to fight for them and stop this fucking bullshit from spreading to our kids!”
I thought my mum would’ve been proud of me, but she wasn’t. I realised some time ago that I don’t need validation to help other people. It’s inherent. I will continue to fight for equality, for discrimination, for love and acceptance. I will continue to fight for vulnerable people, to end rape culture, to protect our loved ones, and for human rights. I will continue to fight and burn, and I sincerely hope the people who are against me are ready for it.
So, word of advice people—don’t be an asshole and just treat people fairly. Otherwise, watch me fucking burn.