Offensive Uncle; Everyone has one, right?
And is it your duty to awaken the arsehole?
We all have an offensive f*ck in the family. Usually, I ignore the snarky little digs. I ignore the racist jokes. But gay jokes, don't dare say it when I'm in the room.
I'm bisexual. My mum and dad know, still secretly hoping it's not true and that I was joking, but they know and have accepted the news in their own way. In silence. In humour. But never disgust, and I love them for that.
My sister also knows, she wont believe it until I bring a girl home but I guess seeing is believing right?
The rest of my family, especially my grandparents, they don't know anything. So when my f*ck of an uncle made an offensive comment last night at dinner, I jumped on the defensive.
"And gay people, they can all get gassed."
I don't remember the context of my family's conversation, but this is the comment that peaked my attention. Knowing my family, they were joking about race, religion, politics in the ignorant way that they only know how.
As I said, mention my community in an offensive light and I'll stab you in the throat. Relax, I didn't, I would never. But I could have.
As my uncle said these words, there were two reactions in the room. Awkward laughter & awkward silence due to embarrassment and shame.
Everyone knew that what he said was wrong as soon as the words fell from his disgusting mouth. My vocality about todays issues over dinners has taught my family well. That making a joke like this is where you've crossed the line. I feel my Dad's eyes on me, warning me not to take the bait. Bless him, but my Dad tells homophobic and racist jokes but he knows when enough is enough. I look at him and I see the remnants of an uncomfortable smile leaving his face. All trace of amusement is suddenly gone as worry fills his eyes when he sees the hurt and disgust in mine.
"How dare you. That is not ok, what you have just said is not ok."
My family falls silent.
"What? What did I say?" He laughs.
He is either incredibly ignorant or incredibly idiotic. This is definitely not the first time.
Making a joke about a terrible time in our history is one thing, but saying that his niece should die in a communist gas chamber is another. Whether he knew or not, it wasn't funny.
This was not the moment in which I would come out to my family, he doesn't get that power. I would not give him the satisfaction of outing my sexuality to prove him wrong. So I went another route.
"You know I hope that one day, someone very close to you identifies as gay, because I would love to see how you would react then."
"Are you threatening me?"
1. How was that a threat? Is the idea of someone in your family being gay such a threat to you? Are you so disgusted by us that this knowledge would so threaten your meer existence?
2. How f*cking dare you. And congratulations for showing us all who you really are.
"Yes, I am threatening you." Obviously, what I responded had no weight at all, but seeing him cringe with defeat was enough for me to walk away triumphant.
The fight was dead as my family members rallied behind me by diffusing the situation. I had to leave the room. As I past the back door into the garden, I burst into tears. He didn't deserve my tears, I know. But the realisation of the situation hit me like a ton of bricks.
My lack of 'coming out' has sheltered me from a lot of abuse, particularly directed at myself. This was the first 'act of resistance' I had experienced.
And I wouldn't wish it on anyone.
The time is coming where I will reintroduce myself to my family, and I am scared. My family are European immigrants, homosexuals were never really a welcomed subject in my family. My grandparents never grew up with a gay best friend like I did. My grandfather tells lighthearted stories of when he was young and knew of men who were gay, he brushes off the subject with a lighthearted response, 'we didn't really talk to them, they stayed away from us.' The older generation ignorance is still alive and is it now my job to enlighten them?
I am lucky enough to say that when I do tell them, they will love me anyway. They will not understand it and maybe my grandmother will choose to ignore it and not understand. But I know that I am one of the lucky ones.
Was I right to stand up to myself and our community? Was I out of line? Have I made a difference? These are the questions I ask myself.
We all have an offensive f*ck in the family. Do we ignore them or cut off their filthy tongues? Haha, I'm kidding. I think.
Please share your experience below, we are a community and I know I'm not alone. xx