Help Me Be a Better Person: What Would You Do If a Stranger Were Being Homophobic?

A guy at the bar yelled "FAG" and I yelled... nothing.
Publish date:
August 6, 2012
homophobia, issues, football, fights, conflict resolution, name calling

Part of my attempt to be a better person includes working hard to stay out of other people’s business. Not because I think it’s rude to stick my nose where it doesn’t belong, but because my friends and family were starting to worry that I was one other-person’s-argument away from getting a bullet through my brain.

That being said, it is still very hard for me not to get involved when I see a situation where I think I should help.

Last year when two teenagers were knocking into an older Asian man on a crowded bus and calling him horrible, racist names, I had no choice but to tell them to watch their language and leave the man alone while the rest of the bus sat there in silence. This summer, when a crazy guy started throwing punches at Campfriend (long story), I inserted myself between them believing the lunatic wouldn’t swing at a woman (wrong!). And if someone is mean to one of my friends, well…let’s just say the wrath of Daisy is not something you want to experience.

But the reality is: by getting involved in other people’s drama, I am often putting myself in situations that could be volatile or dangerous. There’s no way for me to know if those kids on the bus have a knife or a gun. And even if it’s true that most guys won’t hit a girl, that doesn’t mean I won’t take an accidental (or purposeful) blow to the head. And almost every time I’ve stuck up for one of my friends, they seem to resolve it with the person five minutes later and I’m left standing there looking like a psycho biotch.

So, yeah. The new and improving Daisy is trying to M.Y.O.B.

Therefore, you can imagine how difficult it was for me when yesterday, while watching football at a bar, a Patriots fan started screaming “FAG!” at the television. Denver muffed a punt and this backwards-baseball-cap-wearing-loser’s response was to laugh, point at the player, and call him a fag. Twice.

All I wanted to do was say, “Yo, dude. Watch your language. We don’t use words like that here.” But instead, I said nothing.

I know.

But, before you think I'm a terrible coward, let me explain why:

First of all, the guy was drinking. And he was with at least seven other dudes. One of the things I’ve finally learned is that while I might be the one to humiliate a guy and call him out on his douche-baggery, chances are, he’ll take it out on the guys I’m with. Or: if he does respond to me and calls me a name or tells me to shut up, then my guy friends (especially Campfriend) might feel they have to defend me. And once guys start drunkently yelling at each other, it doesn't take much for a full-fledged fight to start.

Which means that, sadly, because I am a female, I have to be more careful about what I say and to whom I say it because I can inadvertently drag unwilling participants into my battles.

Plus, this guy was also saying things like “I’ve always wanted to take a shit while a girl is sucking my dick” and “I love sluts who lick my ass.” So, chances are that if I’d called him out on using homophobic slurs, it would have been for naught.

Still though…It was hard to keep my mouth shut and stay out of it. And even though I know that logically, I did the right thing by not creating conflict, emotionally, I feel like I should have put the guy in his place. I mean, “Fag?” REALLY?

What would you have done if you were in my shoes? What do you do in these types of situations? Help me be a better person by sharing your stories in the comments.