But is the Meanest Word in the English Language
I am sure many people will think that there are hundreds if not thousands of words much worse than but in the English language. I beg to differ. I am an out gay male. I have been out to many years to count. I have dealt with prejudice against gays for more years than not. I have seen things change drastically during my time as an out and proud gay male. I walked in Gay Pride Parades when they were a protest march instead of the corporate sponsored celebrations that they are today. I protested when the LGBT Community was fighting fairness in hiring practices and housing. I am not saying these issues are solved but it is way different from it was when I was a teenager. I never thought I would see the day when we would be fighting for Marriage Equality for all. Marriage equality was not even on the radar when I first came out. Times have changed. Prejudice and bigotry have not.
I have been called a faggot, a queer and many other names through the years. I have been beat up because I was gay. I have been turned down when trying to rent a house when the owner saw the gay pride sticker on my car and I mentioned that my roommate was actually my lover. I have had people hurl expletives, drink cups and even bottles at me as I walked down the street in San Francisco of all places. I had a customer of the bank in San Francisco complain to the manager when she saw me kiss my lover goodbye in front of the bank. I have over heard people I thought were friends say that I was nice and it was a shame I was going to hell for being gay. I heard ministers say that being gay was an abomination. While this has been nasty and hard to deal with, it does not come close to the hurt or pain caused by the simple word but.
Hearing the word but when someone mentions the fact that you are gay or lesbian means the other shoe is about to drop. We love you but…. We accept who you are but…. We understand your lifestyle but…. These are all phrases we hear as part of the LGBT Community. They are words that hurt more than out right hatred. It means the people you love you but… But is the meanest word because for the LGBT Community it is followed with a reason why we are no longer welcome at home. It is followed with a reason why the family does not want us to attend a function. It is filled with more hatred than if our family just came out and said they hated us. If love has a but attached as a qualifier, the it is not love. It is a nice way of denying the hatred and bigotry for the bigots. It is also a way to carve a small piece of a person’s heart and soul out as they realize they are no longer a part of the family and no longer loved by the people who they have loved and even considered their best friend. You wait and hope that the person who marched by your side in a Gay Pride March return hears. Your heart bleeds as you accept the fact that you are considered a pariah by the people who helped mold you into the person you are today.
Think carefully before you use the word but.