I'm visiting my bestie (Jean) in Santa Cruz and he was telling me about how the other night he and his boyfriend were walking from the movie theatre to Trader Joe's when this homeless-looking man (ragged clothing and no upper teeth, but it is Santa Cruz, so who knows) said to them "Are you happy?" with a big grin on his face. Jean responded "Yes, I'm happy." in a dry tone and then they walked on. His boyfriend was pleased that my friend claimed to be happy. Jean was not.
Why wasn't he pleased to be happy?
Because the "homeless man" was asking "Are you 'happy'?" As in "Are you gay?"
Do we know this for sure? No, we don't. But there was no reason for the homeless-looking man to interject himself into Jean and his boyfriend's lives at that moment. And they were holding hands. And the homeless man said, "Good!" and gave a thumbs up after Jean's response. All too enthusiastic and invasive.
Why is it that people feel the need to call our our sexuality in the middle of no particular context? Why is it ok for them to do this? Jean says that in June when the Supreme Court came down in favor of same-sex marriage, random people were stopping him on the streets to congratulate him.
Now I'm sure that all these people have the best of intentions. Definitely. They're not trying to do anything negative, they're attempting the opposite, being positive and supportive. They think. But what if every time there was some new tax break for married people and single people just randomly went up to married people and said, "Congratulations" or what if every time there's an indictment of a white cop who allegedly hurt a black victim and white people went up to black people to say "Congratulations?" What if? Is that supportive? Or is that drive-by supportive. Which is not that different from a drive-by shooting.
Explanation: The neo-liberal "supporter" identifies someone as queer, with no regard for what said assumed-queer person is doing with their life at that moment, decides that what they have to say is more important, invades the assumed-queer person's life with their commentary and then is on their way. This is not support.
Give money to the HRC. Or better yet, give money to the local Out Youth Center. If these drive-by supporters want to be part of the celebration, great. But don't do it by invading someone's space. Do it in a more substantive way. And in a way that permits the recipient to participate in the exchange.