Jim is the dedicated host of Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie’s Music Challenges. Jim says:
The challenge today is to focus on [Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?] and use it for inspiration in any form of creative expression (including but not limited to short stories, a piece of flash fiction, poems, lyrics, artwork, photography, (etc.) that you can share with the writing community.
Jim, I appreciate your in-depth essay on a very important topic. I appreciate your educating on the special holidays and their origins.
I’ll take your word for it that, “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?” is about intolerance in respect to gender and orientation choices of an individual. The various reactions of the individuals in different places and different times in the video supports your essay’s points.
When I think of gender and orientation intolerance it seems to go way beyond the scope of hurt and making another person cry. There is a spitefulness and viciousness that so often accompanies intolerance, it’s more like destroy and devastate. The song would sound better with, “Do you really want to destroy me? Do you really want to devastate my life?”
One of my friends, whom I was very close with, but we have since parted ways, was the first to make catty comments or downright hateful comments when it came to her opinions on LGBTQI+ individuals, which I found ironic/hypocritical especially in light of the fact that she had at least two gay brothers while at the same time proclaiming her family meant everything to her and she accepted them unconditionally. To hear her slam on non-family members because of their orientation/preferences with gender never added up.
Then her son came out of the closet and ended up marrying a man. The sad part of this story is that her other children knew their sibling was gay, but nobody told her or her husband because they knew how she felt. She let me know and she also let me know she was going to let the rest of her family know about him. This is a very large family that has a lot of big family gatherings, and she wanted her son to be able to attend with his significant other without being harassed. She said she was demanding that he be accepted or that she would not be attending any more family gatherings.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m ecstatic that she was making it clear to her family that she expected them to treat her son as an equal and without ridicule/shame/shunning/etc or she was divorcing herself from her family. But WHY did it take one of her children being gay to effect that acceptance for any individual with anything other than heterosexual/straight/cisgender orientation/preference?
When I was in college I had a couple of assignments in a class that had a big impact on me. One was to go to a gay bar, then write a paper on the experience. The other was to write a paper on gender orientation and preference. Going to the gay bar was a very anxiety-producing experience because of fear of the unknown. Up until then I only knew what I had seen in the movies or read about, and so my main fear was being swarmed by lesbians that I would have to fight off. I asked one of my girlfriends to go with me, and she was perfectly relaxed. We had a good time, danced the night away, and not even one person hit on either of us. Wow what a dash to my ego lol.
The research on orientation/preference was a real eye opener, even though the professor told me that my information was way outdated – by 50 years! It was one of my first college classes where research was still new and I never thought to look at publishing date. That said, The Kinsey Report was so liberating to learn about. What I remember most about it is that Kinsey’s research indicated that most individuals fall on a continuum somewhere between homosexuality and heterosexuality (I hate those terms, btw,) where there are 10% at either end of the continuum (100% gay or 100% straight), but most of us fall somewhere in that 80% in the middle part. Why I say this was liberating for me is that I immediately felt NORMAL. I know that sounds strange, but it’s true. I knew I was not at either end of the continuum, and because I never felt 100% straight, I thought maybe I was gay and didn’t know it? That sounds silly, but I’m being real here. The idea that except for 20% of the population at the extremes who were 100% sure they were straight or gay, meant the rest of us fall in that in-between ground.
Where I think a lot of homophobia that wants to “hurt”, “make cry”, “destroy”, and “devastate” those who have a different orientation/preference/percentage on the continuum are the individuals who cannot accept whatever percentage away from the ends they themselves are. Fear can harm/kill others.