Here’s a picture of me from the Romantic Times Writers Conference. I’m the one in the green dress. The hunk is named Franco. (Enjoy.)
Yeah, I’m obviously female writer who looks like she’d be perfectly at home with a group of Hobbits. What am I doing here tackling a topic like homophobia? Well, do you want to hear about the time Pluto (Yes, Mickey Mouse’s dog) saved me from a gay bashing. Nope. Not kidding
See, this picture is also me. Well, it was me, taken more years back than I want to admit. I’m the one in the Peter Pan costume.
That was my first summer working at Walt Disney World in Florida. I had just graduated high school and was having the time of my life with a summer job as a Disney character. Now, I’ll be honest, if you were an adult male anywhere near me, it probably didn’t take you long to figure out I wasn’t a real boy. And if you were an adult, you probably knew that women often played Peter Pan. However, if you were a teenage male in a high school band and hyped up on nerves and testosterone, you might not notice the finer details.
Added to that, the problem was that I knew I was a girl and wasn’t really worrying about the social barriers of appropriate masculine interaction when I wasn’t out in the park being Peter Pan. I wandered around backstage without anyone questioning my sex or sexuality. Backstage, I flirted with guys while dressed like that. They flirted back. Nah, they weren’t all straight, but none of us took it seriously. That’s where the problem came about.
That afternoon, everyone was lining up for parade step off. The high school band was already in place since they’d go out before us. I would have to pass through the band on my way to my float. I was in full Peter Pan costume, and I didn’t think anything of it. As I walked across the parking lot, a couple of the guys who played taller characters were chasing me, their attitude part playful and part flirtatious. I didn’t pick up on the clues coming from the band members in my path. The way the young men at the back of the band looked at me and then at each other. I didn’t think anything about the fact that I was heading toward the back of the band, a section filled mostly with males. Big bulky drummers and tuba players. I do remember seeing the guy playing Pluto saying something to the Sheriff of Nottingham. They were both standing on the other side of the band and already half in their costumes.
Then one of the guys flirting with me tried to grab me, and I dashed into the band to duck behind one of the larger males. Yeah, one of those teenage guys who was all hormones and nerves and who’d just spent the last few minutes watching me, a boy, flirt with other guys. I knew the moment he turned around that I’d just made a big mistake.
The next moment I was wrapped in a protective pair of big Pluto paws while the Sheriff of Nottingham shoved himself between me and the angry band member. I heard him repeating one word. One phrase. “Girl. Girl. She’s a girl. Girl. She’s a girl.” Slowly the flushed, angry look faded to be replaced by confusion. “You’re a girl?” All I could do was nod. But I was safe. After all, I wasn’t gay. I was a girl.
But I still remember that day. Young gay men in our society can’t rely on Pluto to come to their rescue when someone’s fear overcomes their reason. They can’t take off a costume at the end of the day and transform into someone else. They can’t change so we need to. Because one day, long ago, homophobia looked at me with angry eyes and a clenched fist and scared the hell out of me.
Instead of ending this with a contest, I’m offering a free read to anyone interested. One of my short M/M erotica stories Red Flagged is available on Smashwords and now through the end of the blog hop you can get it free by using the code JY48L. Smashwords offers plenty of formats, including Kindle.
Click this link to download Red Flagged.
Click this link to see my books on Amazon
Click this link to visit the Hop Against Homophobia main site