So it’s that time of year again, International Day Against Homophobia, and we’re all hopping to show our support. Two years ago, I showed you what homophobia really was. Last year, I encouraged people to share their stories. This year, I want to talk about changing the world, one person at a time.

Read on, there be prizes 😀

Recently, a Reddit post caught my eye, asking ex-homophobes what changed their minds. Go read it: it’s long, but well worth a look. The same comments came up again and again and again.

–Imagine my surprise at 28 to finally meet and become close to a bunch of random gay people and realize that they were just people.

–I gradually realized that these people didn’t want to molest little kids or turn me into “one of them,” they just wanted to be. Multiple encounters with multiple people helped me slowly branch the void.

–I joined a fraternity and we had 3 gay brothers in it.

–Seeing how much my aunt actually loved her wife, while others in my family got divorced and hated each other.

–…my roommate from college came out to me. He was one of my closest friends up to that point in my life, so, of course, I supported him completely without question. At the same time, I realized how much my own behavior must have made it more difficult for him to figure out that he was gay and what a shitty friend I’d been.

–I actually started working with people that were gay and they were just your averaging normal people who liked the same sex.

–It wasn’t until my best female friend one day introduced me to her girlfriend that any preconceived notions I had were pretty much wiped out.

Seeing a pattern? Highfalutin rhetoric about same-sex marriage and scriptural interpretation and scientific studies changes very little in hearts and minds that are already made up. Indeed, it’s been my experience that the harder you argue along those lines, the more entrenched both sides become. It doesn’t matter how much evidence there is to establish that we are, indeed, born that way, it will never be as powerful as hearing those words from your best friend, spoken about himself.

What those comments have in common is the conviction that it was knowing gay people — friends, family, coworkers — that changed their minds and opened their hearts. It got personal, and basic human interaction trumps received wisdom and nebulous fears.

Then you start to hear some of the horrible legal shit that happens to these people. You go from “civil unions are fine, it’s just a piece of paper” to seeing the absolutely fucked up situation where your friend isn’t allowed to visit his live-in partner of 4+ years in the hospital because he’s not technically family. You see your gay friend always talking about his “girlfriend” at work because he knows the VP in charge of his division is a religious homophobic nut, and it’s easier to pretend than to risk anything (this was before sexual orientation became protected in DC – it’s still not in most states). This is just a small sampling of some of the horrible shit we and our legal system do to these people, and when it’s happening to someone you’re friends with you realize how fucked up it is.

Now when someone says something homophobic or just ignorant like “why can’t they be happy with civil unions” you get pissed. You’ve seen this shit affect your friends, you know it’s real. You care. And that’s how you go from being homophobic to the opposite.

It’s easy to get complacent and think there’s no harm in denying same-sex couples the right to marriage; the LGBT community basic workplace and housing protections. Marriage is just a piece of paper, plenty of straight couples don’t even bother with it. How difficult is it not to mention your boyfriend at work, anyway?

Then one of your friends loses their home or their job, or they’re repeated passed over for promotion in favour of less qualified colleagues, or their partner gets sick and the doctors won’t let them into the ward to see them. Suddenly, it matters. Suddenly, you see the harm.

The most effective thing we can do as a community is be visible. Simply living our lives and sharing our experiences changes the world around us and makes it better for everybody. Telling my grandmother I was marrying a woman was a pretty nerve-wracking experience, but it would have been a whole lot worse if her best friend’s daughter hadn’t paved that path for me.

Yes, we have our safety to think of — there are reasons it’s called passing privilege — and every act of coming out has to be an individual decision made on a case-by-case basis, but when we waver, we should err on the side of bravery. Your dick cousin or dudebro best friend might just surprise you, and your words might just change the world a little bit for the better.

If you got this far, that means I didn’t lose you to the Reddit article 😀

As a thanks for sticking with me and offering the hop your support, leave a comment and on 24th May I’ll pick one random winner to receive a signed paperback copy of The Slave, plus I’ll make a £15 donation to the Albert Kennedy Trust in their name to provide a bed for a night for a young LGBT person in crisis. Three runners up will win a backlist ebook of their choice (boxsets excluded).

Don’t forget to visit the main blog for the hop to check out posts from other authors and bloggers!

Kate Aaron

Born in Liverpool, Kate Aaron is a bestselling author of LGBT romances. Kate swapped the north-west for the midwest in October 2015 and married award winning author AJ Rose. Together they plan to take over the world.


Meredith King · May 17, 2015 at 12:17 pm

Outstanding post!!!!!

Alexa Milne · May 17, 2015 at 1:18 pm

Great post. Changing the world one person at a time.

    Kate Aaron · May 17, 2015 at 9:27 pm

    that’s the plan!

debramhall71 · May 17, 2015 at 1:58 pm

Well said. You’re posts always are.

Lily G. Blunt · May 17, 2015 at 2:55 pm

A wonderful post, Kate. As Always 🙂

Angela · May 17, 2015 at 4:08 pm

Great post and so happy to read that people change their mind. I hope this blog tour will have the same effect but i also feel sad that it is still necessary.
Thanks for the giveaway 🙂

    Kate Aaron · May 17, 2015 at 9:30 pm

    Hopefully, one day it won’t be.

Anna Lund · May 17, 2015 at 4:57 pm

What a brilliant post!

Marleen Kennedy · May 17, 2015 at 5:49 pm

Excellent post, Kate. I wish I could submit it to one of the Irish newspapers and have it printed between now and Friday. It might just take one or two extra people think and change their mind from no/not decided to yes. It is so simple and yet people make such a big and complicated deal out if it. I hope I’ll live to say the day were hops like this won’t be necessary anymore and love will just be allowed to be love.

    Kate Aaron · May 17, 2015 at 9:29 pm

    You and me, both. I think the news from Ireland will be good. I’m certainly hoping so.

Serena S. · May 17, 2015 at 7:24 pm

Great post, I hope it will be a great sucess!

Jaycee Edward · May 17, 2015 at 7:45 pm

Another great post on the hop. It’s just like everything else – once you know someone who is experiencing something, **whatever it is** suddenly becomes a whole lot clearer and a lot more important. (You can insert pretty much any human experience between those asterisks.)

    Jaycee Edward · May 17, 2015 at 7:47 pm

    On an unrelated note, I want Marleen’s avi…

      Kate Aaron · May 17, 2015 at 9:28 pm

      haha, it is cute!

KimberlyFDR · May 17, 2015 at 9:20 pm

Thank you for your post and participating in this blog hop.

Andrew J. Peters · May 17, 2015 at 10:33 pm

Yes, yes and yes! Come out, come out wherever you are. Great post!

    Kate Aaron · May 18, 2015 at 1:12 pm

    hmm, maybe I was channeling Harvey Milk.

JenCW · May 18, 2015 at 12:12 am

Thank you for the fabulous post! I’m always happy to see that people can change their minds. Being visible is hard and nerve racking, but it can help people see more and understand better.

    Kate Aaron · May 18, 2015 at 1:13 pm

    absolutely 😀

sionedkla · May 18, 2015 at 1:49 am

Thank you so much for the post! I believe that when we educate ourselves and make a concerted effort to welcome diversity in our lives, we open the world up to understanding and acceptance. This world would be a very drab and boring place if we were all the same 😉

    Kate Aaron · May 18, 2015 at 1:13 pm

    wouldn’t it just?!

Alaina · May 19, 2015 at 2:53 am

Great post! Thanks for your participation in the blog hop!

Trix · May 19, 2015 at 3:50 am

It’s kind of sad in a way that so many people need that personal connection to have their opinion changed, but I guess it’s human nature. That’s why visibility is important!

    Kate Aaron · May 19, 2015 at 11:15 am

    Absolutely. I tend to think people are naturally selfish: we don’t care about something until it affects one of our own. Then it’s personal.

Danny · May 19, 2015 at 11:41 am

Terrific post! Well written.

sadieforsythe · May 19, 2015 at 9:31 pm

Thanks for being part of this great hop!

H.B. · May 20, 2015 at 3:37 am

Fantastic post. Thank you for taking part in the hop and spreading awareness!

Claudette Herron · May 21, 2015 at 11:23 am

I love it. I wish more people could be enlightened.

jenf27 · May 21, 2015 at 6:30 pm

Great post! And I have seen this happen in my life. A member of my extended family is gay and was in the closet into his 30s. Although it was fairly obvious to me he was gay, his parents were in the dark. While they weren’t rampant homophobes, they did think it was “wrong.” But, then he came out to them and they have totally changed their tune and become supporters.

    Kate Aaron · May 22, 2015 at 7:46 pm

    That’s usually the way it works 🙂

rojoroaors · May 21, 2015 at 11:02 pm

Yes a great post thanks for joining the hop.

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