Change the World

Don't F*ck With This F*g

After a homophobic encounter on the subway, BJ questions what the right response is, in an era of increasing vocal rightwing activists

On February 1, 2019, Frank and I went out on a date night, something we haven't done in a while. Our son was sleeping over at his grandparents for the night and we made plans with our friends to meet them for dinner downtown. We decided to save some money and take the subway into town instead of taking a taxi.

We boarded the subway and sat down opposite a couple, a man and woman. I noticed they looked at us as we boarded the train and began whispering to each other. Frank and I were talking to each other when I heard the man uttering under his breath, "F*$%ing faggots."


Frank at first didn't hear them; I did, however, but I didn't say anything. I didn't want to engage with them. Frank and I continued chatting and then we heard the woman say loud enough for us to hear, "His brother sounds just as much as a fag as he does." Bless their little homophobic hearts for thinking we are brothers!

At that point, Frank stands up and says very loudly so that everyone on the train can hear, "We will move so you don't have to see our f*$%king fag faces!" We moved half way down the car so we had more distance between us. The couple exchanged more homophobic and expletive words with us, to which Frank was quick to respond and did not back down.

I urged Frank to sit down and stop. My heart was racing and all that went through my mind was the fear that they would physically assault us. Earlier in the week, Empire actor Jussie Smollett was hospitalized after being attacked by two men yelling racial and homophobic slurs at him.

As the train came to the next station, more people entered the train. There were two other same sex couples that boarded, a gay couple and a lesbian couple. The gay couple sat across from us and the lesbian couple made their way down the train and happened to sit behind the homophobes.

I was trying to calm Frank down, my heart still racing and he says to me, "The girls just kissed! That's it, I'm gonna say something!"

Not even a second later, Frank stands up and yells at the top of voice (and he's a pretty loud guy even when he is having a normal conversation!) "Hey a**holes, there are other queer couples on the train now! Go ahead and call me a f*$%ing faggot again! I dare you!"

Everyone on the train looked at them, the gay couple across from us gave us a smile of support, and the homophobes turned around and said nothing.

I am beyond proud of Frank standing up for himself, for me, for the other queer couples on that train. Frank did not back down and let them feel superior in this situation. This time they chose the wrong gay to mess with. Next time they run their mouth off they may not be so lucky!

When we reached our stop, we exited the train and didn't look back. I said to Frank that I was so proud of him. I was overcome with emotion that I tried to hold back tears. I thought to myself,

Why was I so afraid to say something to them?

Why did I let my fear overcome me and back down?

Why did I not stand up for myself too and put them in their place?

My first thought was of our son, Milo. I teach him that if anyone ever says anything bad about him, or others, to stand up and tell them it's not right. Why did I not follow my own advice? I'm so thankful Milo wasn't there to witness this hatred.. Luckily this whole situation did not end up violent and we went on our way to meet our friends for dinner and continued on with our evening.

This isn't the first time we have been called "faggots or fags." We had an incident at our house a couple years ago where "F*ck LGBT" was written on our car windshield. This past Christmas we were at Disney World in Florida and we were pointed at and they said, "Look at those fags."

Enough is enough! This sh*t needs to stop!

I am fed up with people attacking others verbally and physically just because of their sexual orientation, their religion, their race. IT NEEDS TO STOP. As right wing governments rise to power globally, these attacks are happening more frequently and it seems that racists and homophobes have been given a green pass to spew hate and discriminate. THIS IS NOT OKAY. We need to stand up and support each other.

Courtesy: Statistics Canada

Even in a city as open, accepting and diverse as Toronto, we are not immune to hatred, homophobia and bigotry here.

"Stand up for what you believe in, even if that means standing alone." ― Andy Biersack


Originally published on Family Is About Love on February 9, 2019

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"Sometimes people do things to try and make you sad," Michael told his sons following the incident. "But we have to be better than that."

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Michael called the experience "eye-opening," adding, "Come what may I have to ensure [my sons] are taken care of. I have to show them that love wins and without a doubt there is nothing wrong with the way you love. One day they very well could help change the climate in this country."

As far as the perpetrator, Michael has his suspicions of who might behind the damage, and has shared them along with some potential evidence with the detective involved. The incident is being investigated as a hate crime. Michael has spent most of life in east Tennessee and says this was the first time he had ever experienced an act of hate. From sharing this horrible experience, a lot of people have reached out to Michael and his family to send words of support and kind messages. But Michael is still worried.

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Michael with his kids

The damage to Michael's vehicle has also been a blow to family, symbolically, he says. Michael is recently divorced from the boys' second dad, and is now raising them full-time. The car, a bright blue Kia, came to represent so much more than a vehicle; it meant a new beginning for Michael and his boys after the separation.

"So many memories have been made in that vehicle over the last 18 months," shared Michael. His youngest son, Blake, "processes things a little different than your average 7 year old," Michael says. "You take away routine, structure, consistency, security and he doesn't do too well."

Since the incident, the family has been comforting each other by sleeping together on the couch every night. Michael has always kept an open conversation with his kids, whether it be about their adoption (Blake originally came to Michael through kinship guardianship, and Clayton is Blake's biological older brother whom Michael later adopted as well), divorce, and now this.

"I told them that sometimes people do things to try and make you sad," said Michael. "But we have to be better than that and know that we can't stop loving and that we have each other and I wouldn't allow them to be hurt. We also have to be able to forgive in order to find peace."

The car, sadly, is beyond repair. Fortunately, Michael has a vehicle supplied by work he can use for family drop offs, baseball practice and medical appointments. But eventually, he'll need to get his own car again. As a single-income father, Michael has set up a GoFundMe page to help with the insurance deductible and/or possible replacement of the car.

Despite the gravity of the situation, Michael didn't miss an opportunity to through some well-deserved shade back at the perpetrator of this heinous act. "Who spells faggot..... fagot?" he wrote on a post he published to Facebook shortly after the incident. "Doesn't most everyone have access to spell check with their phone? I mean come on!!!"

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