Skip navigation

Monthly Archives: November 2008

In my family, Christmas is the king holiday. It’s like all the other family events, except even more so. As we come up on Thanksgiving and I hear people everywhere absent-mindedly humming Christmas carols, the thought of my dad always sneaks into my head. Christmas was his holiday.
We always go to my maternal grandparents’ house for Thanksgiving, but as soon as we come back, the Christmas preparation begins. We unearth the boxes of decorations from the basement; in the boxes are Christmas linens, Christmas CDs, musical snow globes, silver and wooden candlesticks, crèches- not to mention the tree ornaments, stockings, and lights. The first weekend, we usually put up the lights; my mother hated watching because it was scary for her to see my dad on a forty-foot ladder, leaning out to the side to clip another light onto the flashing.
A week or two before the actual event, we go caroling. My grandparents met in the Glee Club when they went to Cal, and they started going caroling with their friends from the club after graduating; with their descendants, the original group of carolers has expanded. Ultimately, we end up at the Pecks’ house for goose dinner and the last song: “Break Forth, O Beauteous Heavenly Light” from Bach’s Christmas Oratorio. We return home happy, exhausted, and full of cider to begin Christmas preparation in earnest.
My dad would take a full week off just to get ready for Christmas- we host about forty people every year Christmas Eve. He would put on the Bing Crosby Christmas CD, often singing along to it as my family cleaned and decorated the house. We scrubbed the banisters, washed the windows, polished the furniture and raked the leaves, all so the decorations could stand out in their full glory: pine garlands wrapped around the banister, red and green candles everywhere, Santa towels in the bathrooms, logs in the fireplace lighting up the beautiful, hand-embroidered stockings- but most of all, the tree. The beautiful, nine-foot-tall Douglas fir, bedazzled with lights, blown-glass angels, and my favorites, the little polar bears and penguins playing with miniature red toys.
I don’t really remember what we eat Christmas Eve, aside from my mother’s homemade eggnog. It’s the magic of all the green and shiny things sparkling in the candlelight that embellishes my memory, the singing of carols, the feeling that everyone is happy for that one night.
I don’t miss him so much on Christmas itself; I have so many duties as hostess that I am too busy to think about him much. But anticipating the holiday, I miss him. I miss his rumbling baritone singing “White Christmas”; I miss going to buy the tree with him, hearing him say, “This one! This one is PERFECT!” I miss going to San Francisco for last minute shopping for my mom’s presents. Mostly, I miss his enthusiasm for the holiday, the one holiday that nothing could possibly mar. Often, I think the world is a sad place, but then, I remember that my dad’s Christmas still lives although he no longer actively participates in it, that maybe I can help more people participate in it. And I smile.

It’s funny. I knew that lots of people against Prop. 8 just took for granted that it wouldn’t pass. I didn’t ever take for granted that it would fail, but I did take for granted the idea that my friends weren’t homophobes. Until last night.

I saw the Laramie Project last night. It was so good. Unbelievably heartrending. You get the idea. I think I probably would have cried just reading it, but watching it, having a person say the words to me, it was even more than it could have been. So I firmly believe that everyone should see it.

I told a friend this. I’m not naming him. I told him it was for SURE worth the $7 it cost for students. And then, he hit me with this: he was for Prop 8. I asked him why. He said that he couldn’t explain it, but that I couldn’t change his mind. He was also very hasty to proclaim that he “doesn’t hate gays.”

What exactly is your problem then? You can’t explain it to me? Don’t you think that maybe that’s indicative of something?

Maybe he doesn’t hate gays. I think it depends on how you define “hate.” In his mind, I think “hating gays” means that you go beat up gay people just for being gay. Or you bully people, call them faggots, all those horrible things that you hear about when they talk about discrimination. And I know my friend wouldn’t do any of those things. He wouldn’t physically or verbally intimidate anyone just for who they are.

But maybe there are things you can do to discourage people from being gay. Maybe if we don’t let them marry, that will encourage them to think about how “wrong” being gay is.

I’m going to call this passive-aggressive homophobia. He doesn’t hate gays. But he’s uncomfortable with the idea of homosexuality. So uncomfortable with it, in fact, that he wants it to just go away. Maybe if the homosexuals get discouraged by the fact that they can’t marry, they’ll just stop it. Stop being gay.

He doesn’t think about it this much, I can guarantee that. In fact, I’ll daresay he doesn’t actually think about it. It’s all a gut feeling.

The real reason he won’t see the Laramie Project is its subject. He won’t see a play about a gay guy. It’s too bad that the very people who really should see it are so prejudiced against it that they won’t. They’re afraid of letting go of their prejudices, of their gut feelings of right and wrong.

If he wants to hang on to his prejudices, that’s fine with me. He has a right to them. People to have a right in this country to whatever opinions they want.

But there is no right to be my friend. I honestly feel pretty used at the moment. It’s as if my opinions matter and they’re relevant right until they don’t agree with his. And he won’t defend his opinion because there is nothing to defend it with. Just his gut feeling that homosexuality is wrong. Well, people used to have gut feelings about black and white people getting married. They aren’t nearly as common now because people are used to mixed marriages. One day, it will be like that. But for right now, you have to convince people that their gut feelings have no justification.

Maybe his gut prejudice is more important to him than my friendship. I hope not, because I really like him otherwise and I like to think a bit more of myself than that. But I’ll be able to take it if he decides to keep his homophobia and give up my friendship. I won’t be that offended, I won’t pursue a vendetta against him, none of that. I’ll just be pretty damn disappointed.