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Everyday Homophobia

Acquaintance: *chuckling* Do you know what’s funny? I just told my [adult] son that me and his Dad were thinking about buying a Subaru. And he said that we can’t because it’s a homo car. *continues chuckling, waits for me to join in*

Me: *quietly* That’s horrible.

Acquaintance: *backpeddling* No…I mean, I never knew that people thought that Subaru was…that people thought about Subaru cars that way.

Me: *sigh* It’s not funny. Calling something “homo” isn’t funny.

Acquaintance: Oh, he’s not…he has gay friends and he’s very nice to them. He’s nice to everyone… And the couple down the street, they’re gay and THEY have a Subaru!

Me: *brain splattering against the inside of my skull* Subaru has been a proud supporter of gay-friendly efforts for a long time, so yes some people in the gay community support Subaru by buying their cars. But so do a lot of other people. And if your son wants to be nice to his gay friends he should probably stop using the word “homo”.

The conversation veered quickly and awkwardly into safer areas, but damned if I heard anything else she had to say.

On a positive note, standing up to everyday homophobia gets a little easier every time.

Comments

  1. says

    First: Thank you. I wish more people would do this. Hell, I need to be more willing to stand up to this sort of casual homophobia. (My debilitating fear of confrontation; let me show it to you.) I agree with Emu Sam @ #4: scripts and good examples help, so I doubly thank you for sharing this with us. :)

    Second, in the Little Things That Annoy Me category, I find it obnoxious that every time I have a new “favorite car” people attribute it to the fact that I’m a lesbian. I can’t just like something–no, my car preferences are either totally determined by my sexual preferences, or they think I don’t actually like ____, I’m just pretending so I can a) fit in with all the “cool” lesbians, b) “pick up chicks” or c) shove the fact that I’m a big dyke in everyone’s face. LIKE WE DO.

    I shall describe for you a brief history of my favorite cars, and the reaction from those who found out. Note: EVERY response is a direct quote from someone after I told them about my (current) Car Crush.

    2005 (ish):

    Me: “I want a Nissan 240SX!”

    Responses (from people who knew I was gay): *sigh* “Of course you do. Just like every other lesbian in America.” and *eyeroll* “You don’t have to try so hard to let people know you’re a lesbian.”

    Responses (from people who didn’t know my orientation): “Um…like, you know that’s, like, a lesbian car, right?” and “Do you want to look like a dyke?” (The true answer would have been: “Um…yes?”)

    Although, those are probably less embarrassing than the reason I really wanted a Nissan 240SX: I had just started reading Initial D and a 240SX was the closest I could get to owning a Nissan Silvia in America. Which is also the reason, incidentally, I wanted a Mazda RX-7, until my mechanic brother told me it was a rotary engine so he wouldn’t be able to do any of the repair work for me. ANYWAY.

    2011

    Me: “OMG! I totally want a Subaru Impreza WRX!”

    Responses (by this time, I was out to pretty much everyone): “Way to be a walking stereotype.” and “God, grow up. You’re just saying that because you want all the other lesbians to think you’re cool. It’s like fucking high school.” and even “Why do all lesbians like Subarus?”

    The last one was impossible for me to answer, because I had no idea it was a “lesbian” car at the time. I didn’t even want it because of Initial D! (I thought the Subaru Impreza in the manga was ugly.) I just saw a brand new Impreza WRX and loved the redesign so much I fell in instant Car Lust.

    2013

    Me: “Whoa, have you seen the new Tesla Roadsters? SO COOL!”

    Responses: “What is it with lesbians and electric cars?” and “Of course you want a Tesla. Of course. Why can’t you just be original for once? Do you always have to jump on whatever the latest lesbian bandwagon is?” and “Ugh, why can’t you just drive a Prius like all the other dykes?”

    (Huh. In retrospect, maybe the last one was actually going for the opposite. But still. Can’t have a conversation about cars without bringing the fact that I like girls into it. )

    Seriously, it’s to the point that when I showed my younger brothers pictures* of the car I want more than any other car in the entire world (except maybe this one, or this one, or, okay, maybe this one), it was almost a relief to have them make fun of me for being a silly, stereotypical girl rather than a stereotypical lesbian. ;)

    * Links go to pictures of multiple VW Beetles with Hello Kitty decals.

  2. Splicer says

    Replace “homo” with “unattractive” and it’s a more fitting adjective regarding Subaru — and less offensive.

  3. Yellow Thursday says

    I just bought a Subaru Impreza last month, and an acquaintance told me it was a “gay” car and that I’d have women “hitting on” me. I didn’t have the presence of mind to call him out on his homophobia. I basically responded, “so?” (Said acquaintance is aware that I’m attracted to women, which makes the homophobic comments that much more disturbing.)

  4. Sercee says

    I’ve never heard of any car except the Mazda Miata referred to as gay and it was my boyfriend who said it and I called him out (which started one of our first arguments). I “get” why guys don’t want to drive “girly” cars, but I still think it’s bullshit, especially since it often means us women aren’t “allowed” to get solid “masculine” cars. Car shopping as a woman blows. Seriously, if a vehicle fits your style and functional requirements then it’s good, it doesn’t mean your gender expression or sexual orientation are implicit. Personally, I can’t wait to buy my Subaru Crosstrek this summer because it’s attractive and sporty (suits my camping and outdoorsy city living lifestyle) without being a full on SUV, and it comes in orange (not my favorite shade, but close as I’ll be able to get). My sexual orientation has not been called into play (I’m bi, but I don’t know if there is such a thing as a bisexual car) and if someone tried to tie the two together I’d be confused as hell.

    Also, Erin @ #5… I suck at reading sarcasm so I might be wrong, but you need new friends. And the Tesla Roadster is hot.

  5. says

    I remember back in the 1980s (1970s?) that Subaru hired Martina Navratilova to promote their products, the first openly gay person to do product endorsements. That’s likely where the association between LGBTQ people and Subaru began. I never knew Subaru were targeting that market all along:

    http://www.commercialcloset.com/photos/adlibrary2/full_2929.jpg

    Most of my familiarity with Subarus is as a fan of rally racing. I’ve never heard any “lesbian car” talk in the petrol head community where Subarus are legendary and respected. The Impreza was one of the first cars (after Ford’s Sierra Cosworth) sold on the streets with the same chassis and engines as their racing versions (look up “homologation rules”). Racing fans bought them in droves because they were monsters in a box, 80% of Ferrari performance at 20% of the price.

    Sercee (#8) –

    I’ve heard the Miata called a “girl car” but not a “gay car”. Like the Honda S2000 (which is not called a “girl car”), the lines are just too rounded for my eyes. Cars need some amount of angular design and creases to look good. YMMV.

  6. psanity says

    People think the most irritating things. Calling folks out on everyday bigotry is necessary and good. Thank you.

    This strikes me as so funny, though, because I live in #smalltownintheRockies, which is arguably the Subaru Gravity Well of America. There are so many Subarus here that if you own one, you’d better be damned sure where you parked it, or you’ll never find it. And I have never heard them called anything but dependable, safe family cars, good on snow and ice. And ubiquitous — people call them that a lot. So this Subarus-are-gay thing is a new one on me. While vaguely aware that Subaru has a reputation for upstanding social responsibility, I just — huh. How peculiar. Like hating Disney because they welcome gay families — I mean, there are so many reasons to hate Disney, and they pick that?

    Does this mean, if I buy a Subaru, do I, like, need to know the secret handshake or something? Will the car sneak out to Pride events without us? More importantly, can I get wardrobe advice from it?

  7. dragosurfer says

    Yep, lots of ignorant people out there. I have a new Subaru, as do several of my friends; and not one of them cares, even the slightest bit, what any of the Homophobic people of the world think of Subaru, Subaru owners, or any of the LGBT friendly companies.

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