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For the Love of a Faggot

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I’ve never been called the f-word as much as I have this year, and across the board it’s been by Donald Trump supporters trolling my Twitter account. Up until now, I’ve been puzzled as to how best to deal with them. Reason and logic and truth got me nowhere. Witty and intelligent counter-arguments only confused them. Reciprocal vitriol engaged them on their homegrown turf. Blocking, reporting and ignoring them worked, but still left things unresolved. Not until today did I figure out the best way to deal with them, and it’s the simplest but sometimes most difficult thing to do. I fought against it for so long because it seemed too clichéd and trite, too weak and wimpy, but it turns out it takes more guts and courage and grace than anything else I’ve ever done. The most powerful way to shut down someone who hates is to love them.

I’m not talking romantic love or physical love or even friendly love – I’m talking the simple love we all can – and should – feel towards another human being, if only because they are human too. As prickly as I pretend to be, as ornery as I behave, and as annoying as I can act, I’ve always held a certain modicum of love for my fellow human beings. I respect life too much to devalue it with hate, even for people who don’t agree, or who don’t believe I deserve the same rights as they do.

 

This was not an easy shift to make. I had just been called a faggot by someone on Twitter who goes by the name Canadian Lucifer (@ConCanadian) in response to one of my Donald Trump comments (on Trump’s own page, not Lucifer’s). I started by calmly replying, “You only perpetuate negative stereotypes of Donald Trump supporters by calling me a faggot.”

Lucifer quickly replied: “I don’t care about stereotypes. I only care that I know you are a faggot.”

It was then that I realized this person had no interest in engaging in a reasonable discussion, or even simple human decency. I surrendered, but in so doing issued the ultimate challenge. With one Tweet, I made it impossible for this person to win: “All you need is love.”

Far more than any angry diatribe or cutting insult could have done, it hit a nerve more sensitive than those accustomed to receiving hate from hate. Lucifer retorted immediately: “Not from faggots, I don’t.”

Normally, this would raise my ire. I’d lash out, cut this person down, or report and block them. Instead, I wrote this: “I love you anyway, as a fellow human being. You may not like it but you cannot stop it.

Lucifer did not take kindly to that. When hate is confronted with love, it rarely responds in kind. “Sick fuck,” was Lucifer’s succinct response.

“Why do you think it’s sick to love?” I asked without guile or pretense.

Lucifer replied, “Because it is a ridiculous emotion in light of human nature. Hate is far, far stronger.”

“And yet you’re not strong enough to stop me from loving you as my fellow human being,” I wrote.

There it was. The underlying heart of the matter. The one thing that they cannot and will not ever be able to take away: our love.

Even if Donald Trump wins this election, and if he and Mike Pence strike down marriage-equality and implement gay conversion therapy as they have written specifically into the Republican Platform, they still won’t be able to touch the one thing they really want to stop: our love.

We will love, and we will love, and we will love – and no one can outlaw or regulate or stop that.

It’s not an easy thing.

You can’t fake it.

You have to mean it.

It’s not enough to scream “Love and Light!” like some crazed Real Housewife.

It must be genuine. It must be earnest. It must be given without expectation or want of anything in return. That makes it hard to do.

It also makes it the most rewarding.

It extinguishes the burning rage of anger.

It heals the residual hurt of sadness.

It relieves the stubborn ache of pride.

And suddenly, just like that, Lucifer was gone, and the sting of the word ‘faggot’ dissipated.

Love really does trump hate, and it always will.

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