Sometimes I think about how horrible the internet is.
I mean, really… it can be the worst.
Last night I didn’t go to sleep until 2 a.m. because I was watching Law and Order: SVU on Hulu and stalking myself 40 pounds ago in pictures from junior year of college. Then I got sucked into a wormhole of trying to find out if someone looking at my Facebook page could tell the people I’ve dated based solely on my tagged pictures.
(I am not pretending this is healthy behavior.)
Sometimes the internet prevents me from doing work. I get sucked into looking at boots or creating new Spotify playlists or checking Instagram on my phone or looking at pictures of cats and sending them to my best friend.
Sometimes I read every tweet that Jose Canseco has ever written.
Sometimes the internet is horrible.
But sometimes… I am reminded how amazing the Internet is.
Yesterday, the homophobic hashtag #SignsYoSonIsGay came back (previous incarnation: #SignsYourSonMightBeGay).
A lot of things have happened recently for the LGBT community as the countdown to November 6th draws near. Yesterday, The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York ruled that DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act, is unconstitutional. The Defense of Marriage Act is a law that defines marriage as the legal union of one man and one woman. It was passed in 1996 by the House and Senate and signed into law by President Bill Clinton.
To say that a decision like this is a big deal is an understatement. With four states fighting for marriage equality in the November election, it is important to note that the 2 – 1 decision from New York, including a Bush-appointed conservative judge, further proves the importance of marriage to all families and the substantial change in public opinion that has occurred over the past few years.
So yesterday, after this huge decision, people took to the internet.
The hashtag #SignsYoSonIsGay became very popular again. People tweeted all types of things. Some were horrible and hateful, like: “#SignsYoSonIsGay he’s a faggot.” Some are seemingly innocent, like: “#SignsYoSonIsGay he is gettin offended by this trending topic.” Despite the actual words, they all had the same underlying meaning: that it isn’t okay to be gay. This hashtag became a tool for telling people how to see if their son was gay, if their son was “different.” This hashtag was used to tell people how to watch out for “the gay” in their children, implying that it’s something you shouldn’t want for your child.
(I promise, I am getting to my point about how awesome the internet is.)
The hashtag was taken over. The awesome people of the internet took to the streets… or, um, the computers and decided to make #SignsYoSonIsGay something great. They came out by the thousands and started tweeting about being gay — the things that are awesome about it, the things that aren’t so awesome about it (like being denied basic human rights) and the things that are just plain normal about it (like enjoying video games, working nine to five, and wanting to have a family).
Here are some of my favorites:
#SignsYoSonIsGay he continues to be the same person he’s always been.
— Norma Krautmeyer (@blushandmumble) October 19, 2012
#SignsYoSonIsGay He appropriates your shitty homophobic hashtags. Incidentally, he employs better grammar and spelling than you do.
— Robin (@caulkthewagon) October 19, 2012
He runs a gay reprogramming camp #SignsYoSonIsGay
— Jamie Kilstein (@jamiekilstein) October 19, 2012
He’s the only wizard Voldemort fears #SignsYoSonIsGay
— Esmertina Bicklesnit (@Esmertina) October 19, 2012
#SignsYoSonIsGay He’s in a happy relationship w/ his partner of 10 years, hoping the state will let him marry soon. Thinking about adopting.
— Camille DeMere (@ManiacWrangler) October 19, 2012
I read through a large amount of these tweets last night and this morning. I sat at my desk, looking at my computer screen and thought about being 15 years old and being made fun of by all of my guy friends because I told them to stop saying, “fag.” I remembered when my best friend came out to me and I told him, “I love you.” We toasted with wine that we stole from my parents.
I remembered when people at my middle school nicknamed a classmate “bi-girl” because they had all read her LiveJournal. I didn’t say anything and I regret that.
I remembered when two of the best men I have ever met got married last year in Massachusetts. They held one another and promised to love each other forever. The entire room cried as they had a friend read part of the Goodridge Decision, the 2003 Massachusetts court case that found that same-sex couples had the right to marry.
Civil marriage is at once a deeply personal commitment to another human being and a highly public celebration of the ideals of mutuality, companionship, intimacy, fidelity, and family…. Because it fulfills yearnings for security, safe haven, and connection that express our common humanity, civil marriage is an esteemed institution, and the decision whether and whom to marry is among life’s momentous acts of self-definition.
I remembered how awesome people are when they come together to protect each other.
Sometimes strangers come to one place and stand up for each other because it is the right thing to do.
That is why I love the Internet.
For other awesome LGBT things on the internet today, check out GLAAD’s Spirit Day.