When #HeterosexualPrideDay started trending on Twitter, I almost fell over.
It made me realize how busy some people are throwing their "pride" around while they step on other people. They victimize and endanger others, and then, they claim they're not hurting anyone.
It was 4 am, and I was just getting ready to lie down and beat the clock. My toddler was determined to win the battle of sleep, and that's when the first #HeterosexualPrideDay tweet found its way to my feed on Twitter.
Without really thinking, I tweeted this:
Dear Straight Person Who Finds #HeterosexualPrideDay Amusing, Talk to me after you're targeted, raped, or killed for your sexuality. — Grace Durbin (@Grace_Durbin) June 29, 2016
Thirty minutes later, hate had taken over my notifications. As I listened to the public respond, I was angry. I watched as people called me racist. I watched as people called me foolish and dumb. I grew angry as my intelligence was insulted.
For a while, I fought back. I wasn't really sure what prompted such passionate resolve in me or the guts to speak out. I definitely wasn't raised like that. As I defended my completely rhetorical statement against nonsense and attention-seeking responses, anxiety began to rule my fingers.
Why, at 5 am, was I still on Twitter defending myself and engaging in nonsense? For a while, I couldn't really pinpoint what was getting to me. Then, I remembered.
I've been a victim.
Among the responses from people on Twitter was this one:
People don't get raped just because they're gay!
I vigorously fought back by tweeting statistics and resources from the Human Rights Campaign. I wanted to stop, trust me. My mouth and my fingers disagreed, and the hate just kept coming at me.
Then, there was the tweet that finally broke my back:
You've never been raped because you're gay!!!
Even as I responded, it didn't really hit me. See, I've been raped before.
On August 27, 2007, I was raped in an old high school "friend's" front yard. Some days, I didn't know which was the hardest part: the assault or the five other boys who stood there and watched. I was at work two days later when it hit me, when I finally felt it.
But once I clicked "send" on my response to that final tweet, life fell on me like a bag of rocks, right around 5 am.
After the rape, it took me years to learn how to leave my room, much less my house. After six years of therapy, I haven't really been able to say the ''R-word,'' until now.
Thirteen miles away from home, in a hole in the wall bar, all the way in the back corner, I found my escape. The bar has karaoke every day of the week. It's funny the role music plays in the way we cope with things.
I'd been going to the bar for more than seven years on the night I was raped for a second time. Two in the morning is my weakness. I always stay until close. Thanks to post-traumatic stress disorder, I don't get out much. When I finally find my brave face and my feet, I like to soak it up.
Not drunk, but not sober, I left just after singing a song. A 7-Eleven is just up the street, and I thought I'd make a quick stop. I walked inside, paid for my gas, went back out to my car and decided to grab a drink. I wish I hadn't. I wish I had just stopped to think.
There was a pay phone to my left, charcoal stacked to my right, a black car, two men and a white car about to leave. I just needed a drink.
Two men. Why didn't I pay more attention to them?
As they pressed me against the building, one of them sang one of my regular karaoke selections back to me. The other one kept his leg between my legs so he could spread out my feet.
As they raped me, they told me my partner was pretty. They asked me where she was. In my mind, I screamed out her name.
Yes, people do get raped just because they are gay, and to every person taking a passive-aggressive stand for heterosexual love while shouting their hate for gays, I just want to say this:
A heterosexual rapist is the reason I took a stand today.