🌈 Open letter to the driver of a red car

13 April 2022

Earlier this evening someone drove past me in their red car and shouted "GAY!" angrily at me. I'm not gay, and even if I am under the LGBTQ+ rainbow, that's certainly none of their damn business. I paused for a moment.

Why would they identify me as gay? I wasn't wearing my supportive rainbow lanyard (see picture; my workplace is an incredibly inclusive and welcoming workplace and we want to show it). Is it because I'm well dressed, have impeccable taste in music, am the happiest I've been for 5 years? I am finally confident in who I am and my place in society, feeling well-supported in my journey in life and knowing where I'm going next? Being identified as gay would mean therefore that I have been identified as having a tenacity and inner strength to continue in a society that is not always supportive and often hostile to someone just trying to live their best life.

My next thought was: are people still using "gay" as an insult? Were they trying to insult me? I'm not gay, I may certainly be one of the other letters in the LGBTQ+ beautiful rainbow, but if I've been misidentified as gay, then that's fine by me.

When I was a child at school, homophobia was rife. Being called "gay" by your peers meant becoming a social pariah. It was used as a perjorative insult. I was called gay, because I read books and actually wanted to pass my exams. I hated being called gay then.

But that was then. Times and attitudes have changed.

So if you're going to call me gay, red car driver, your attempt to insult a random stranger failed. I'm taking it as a compliment, thank you.

Damon Lord's rainbow lanyard, with badges displaying the Pride, trans, bi, and pan flags.
Photo by Damon Lord 2022