bio_dave_hingsburgerDoes it matter?

Yesterday, Joe and I gassed up just south of the border of North Carolina, then, we drove straight through. We didn’t stop. We didn’t buy a single thing. They got none of our gay money. When we planned the trip, we calculated driving time and, if we stuck to our routine, we’d have stayed in a Fairfield Inn about an hour south of the North Carolina and Virginia border. We added an hour and a half and drove to a hotel safely across the Virginia border. North Carolina isn’t particularly welcoming to boys who kiss boys so this boy and the boy he kisses just weren’t going to support them or their economy one jot.

Does it matter?

We did not go see Me Before You at the movie theatre. More than that I wrote about the fact that we weren’t going. Joe and I both spoke to people about the film, if someone brought it up, we made our position clear, if they didn’t bring it up, we did. We tried to actively, purposely, intentionally, publically, not got to the movie. I have people say to me that they’d rather be dead than disabled often enough for it to worry me about what they think of me and my life. Oh, and of course, even more often I hear it’s cousin, ‘there but for the grace of God’ … making it clear that we, the disabled, don’t live under god’s grace and therefore don’t fit into the normal moral equation when it comes to life.

Does it matter?

I was horrified by some of the rhetoric during the Canadian election brought up by a particular political party about people of the Muslim faith. Horrified. I couldn’t understand how, in a Canadian election, a Canadian election, that divisive and racist ideology be given a foothold. That’s not how I see Canada and it’s certainly not how I want us to be as a country. I wrote a letter, I expressed my outrage, and I voted for a different party.

Does it matter?

Today I wrote a comment on a column that appeared which explained why we shouldn’t change the lyrics of the Canadian anthem. I didn’t even read the column, I didn’t need to. I knew what it would say, and, besides, no argument would change my mind. I knew when I was 6 that the anthem got it wrong, long before I would hear the word ‘feminism’ I was able to see that it said sons and not daughters, it mentioned boys and not girls. So I left a comment supporting the change in the lyrics. Further, it’s been over a year now since I pledged to no longer use the ‘b’ word in reference to women, I used it more than I realized and I was challenged about it one day by a woman who knew that I had two little girls in my life. She asked me how I would feel when they were first called a ‘b’. I said that I’d be angry. She asked me why I persisted, by using the word in my lecture, in promoting the use of a vile word that would hurt the girls I loved. She was right, I haven’t used the word since.

Does it matter?

Do these small things matter. Will North Carolina ever know that two gay guys drove an extra hour and a half just to stay in Emporia, Virginia, thus not spending our vacation dollars in their state? Probably not. Will the makers of Me Before You ever know that we actively didn’t go to their movie, or the politicians ever know how we reacted to their vilifying other Canadians, or those who support ‘our sons command’ ever know that I made a comment about it on a column somewhere, or will people even notice that I never, ever, use the ‘b’ word? Probably not.

But will it make a difference?

I’m not sure, but I don’t need to be sure, it makes a difference to me. It makes me feel engaged. It makes me feel that I’m not just passively giving up any semblance of resistance. It makes me feel that I utilize the choices I have in such a way to express who I am. It reduces my sense of helplessness and feeds my sense of personal power. I need that. So it makes a difference to me.

And that will have to do.