Monday, November 22, 2010

Love and hate

I Denmark we like to see ourselves as tolerant.

And in some respects, I honestly thought we were.

Tonight, though, I was watching TV - there was a program about hate crime against gay men. Part of it was a hidden camera recording of two guys walking down the street, holding hands or with their arms around each others shoulders/backs.

I was astonished - not only did people turn and stare, some gave them dirty looks, and as evening came, so did name-calling and shouting.

There I sat - thinking: Is this liberal, tolerant Denmark, where people of the same sex can marry and adopt and live in peace?

Actually, I felt embarrassed.

I know quite a few people that are so disposed that they love people of their own gender. You know, it is something I note - like if I hear someone plays the harmonica, plays chess really well, or have diabetes. It is a bit of information about that person, that I use to understand them. Or don't use at all.

A number of the gay people I know are co-workers of mine. They are colleagues like everybody else. Some are waaay out of the closet, others are keeping the cards closer to themselves. A number of them bring their spouses to the annual company party, and hey! Nobody cares! Well, at least not in a bad way - like, I was happy to meet Michaels husband, because I know Michael quite well and had heard loads about his spouse. Anyway, no big drama. You're gay, so what?

When my husbands daughter came home to break the news that she'd gotten herself a girlfriend, there was absolutely no drama either. We want our children to be happy. And when we found out that our new family member was fun, sweet and overall a great gal, we were just happy. Because she made our kid happy.

So the hate, the violence, the shouting ... it is very foreign to me. It saddens me. It upsets me and makes me angry. It makes me wonder, what makes people so hateful and small and frightened?

And it makes me wonder:
How can you hate someone on account of who they love?

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