An Open Letter To My Enemy

If I can't change your mind about wanting to take away my rights, then I'll just wait for you to die

A post shared by Michael James Schneider (@blcksmth) on

 

Dear ___________,

Good morning! Long time no see. It still seems surreal, doesn’t it? Just one week ago, the SCOTUS ruled in favor of gay marriage. A lot of my friends have been celebrating, and even if there’s still a long way to go (like securing rights for trans persons, and the sinking realization that we’re seeking validation from an archaic, broken, systemically racist system…awkward!), it was a monumental day. Of course there’s my more cynical side that reared up and equated the rampant “rainbowing” of people’s profile pictures to a kind of armchair activism (if you care that much about it, where were you when we were marching in the streets for equality? for that matter, where was I?). But all in all it was a good thing. Progress.

I have a confession to make: I forgot we were still connected on social media! It’s been so long since we met, was it that we went to school together? Did we work at a former job together? In any case, the kind Facebook algorithms had hidden you from my feed; we probably didn’t have much in common, and we probably didn’t “like” anything from each other for awhile. I was reminded yesterday in the most jarring way, though: you posted something full of ugliness and hate, or a link to an ignorant article, or that creepy video where “Christians” (acting unChristianly) talk about feeling persecuted by gays gaining their rights.

I was startled. How did I not know this about you? How did I not know that you felt this way about me, about my friends? It occurred to me that maybe I misconstrued, maybe I misread. I went to your Facebook page and there it was, plain as day. As I scrolled down, I saw article after article, and ignorant rants, and hate made real on the digital page.

Something in me…snapped? No, that’s not quite right. Transformed, more likely. Shifted. Yes, that’s perfect. Something in me shifted.

I’ve been out for a long time in my life. Yeah, I’ve been bullied, treated as “less than” at a former job, and even recently called faggot. The sad thing is, with all this harassment I had it easy. I was never beat up for being gay. I was never fired, or denied hospital visitation rights. I was never thrown off a roof, dragged behind a truck, hung in a town square. See, when you’re gay and go through the kind of harassment and bullying I went through, you consider yourself lucky.

I’ve never hidden who I am, I’ve never felt a need to edit myself on social media. But what struck me about what you shared was that you posted it knowing that you have gay friends, or friends who are thrilled with the SCOTUS decision. In the face of such excitement and joy, you chose to post that ignorant message.

I’ve had, for a long part of my life, a deep well of Serious Fucking Anger for anyone who would deny my rights as a human being. But yesterday, like I said, something in me shifted. I’m not angry anymore. I have no hate in my heart for you. I’d like to say that I could forgive you, maybe ask you out for coffee and have a dialogue one human being to another. In another universe that would be true. Not this one.

Now, some people do change! Even closed-minded members of my family have surprised me over the years with how their hearts have transformed. Sometimes it takes loving someone who’s gay to be a catalyst for change in their hearts. Sometimes having more close friends who believe in equal rights is what convinces people. Whatever it is, I value these allies greatly because they were raised a different way and had to walk a longer path to embrace me. They only know the way they were raised, to fear change, and ultimately deep down they know to do the right thing. But you, you’re different.

You see, I feel absolutely nothing for you. This is somehow worse than feeling angry towards you, and it’s new for me. I could throw a million thinkpieces and videos at you (including a great piece by Matt Baume), but this isn’t that kind of letter. I’m not writing this to change your mind, or to hurt you. I’m writing you to let you know who you are now to me. I’m not writing not from my head, but from my heart.

You are my enemy, in the strangest, saddest way. I simply don’t have the time or energy to convince you that you’re fundamentally wrong. You are the person who would not only oppose my right to marry, but once I have it would want to take it away. Seriously. What kind of asshole takes someone’s rights away once they’ve finally earned them? I can’t call you ignorant anymore, because you have seen all the evidence, all of the studies, and chose to ignore them. You’re not just a bigot, you’re far more dangerous than that.

Why are you the way you are? Are you obsessed with a few lines of scripture, were you maybe convinced when you were impressionable? Do you just find what you’ve heard about gay sex distasteful? I’m curious, but only in the way I’m curious how a dog got rabies. It doesn’t change anything.

I wish I had better news, I really do. But as someone who is actively spreading hate and who would treat me as less than a human being, you no longer register on my radar as a fellow human being. If we were in another society or in another time, I have zero doubt that you wouldn’t keep your hate to just social media. You might be the one who hung me from a tree, the one who ties me to that truck’s bumper. You might be in the crowd who cheers as I’m thrown off a rooftop. No, no, I don’t wish you harm. But I don’t wish you well, either. All of us, all of the people who agree with me, we will just sit in silence. And watch. And wait, stonefaced, for you and your hateful brethren to die off. Please, please shut up and get out of society’s way.

You are the evolutionary failure, the branch that will rot and fall off the tree. The tree of society, free of that rotten limb, will climb higher and freer without you. You may be successful in teaching your children to hate and fear the way that you do, but maybe not their children. Your great grandchildren will remember you with embarrassment. “Oh yeah, our bigoted ancestor”, your grandson will say, shuffling his feet and casting his eyes down as he gets into his hovercar. Or your great-granddaughter who wants to run for public office will have her media team try to hide your existence. Yeah, I joke, but only because I have stopped caring at all about your life. If I saw you in peril? I don’t even know if I would lift a finger to help you. I’m like a queer Batman. I won’t kill you, but I won’t save you from yourself either.

Your hate will be the only legacy worth remembering. And the rest of us will live on, and love on, and carve our initials into that tree.

 

Regards,

Mike

 

PS- I want my copy of Star Trek 2 back.

 

 

If you liked this, maybe you’re broken inside just like me! To make sure, read about how I was using a hookup app to find husband material, or hey! Maybe even my thoughts on what a crazy year last year was. Let’s be horrible people together.

4 thoughts on “An Open Letter To My Enemy”

  1. You said so much I have never been able to put in words. They were the tumult in my heart that couldn’t congealed into words. I never knew I could cry grateful tears. Thankyou, you dear man.

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