“I don’t want you catching gay. Come here and sit with me.”

“Get away from that person. I don’t want you getting lesbian.”

“I won’t let my kids play with that gay couple next door’s kid. They might catch gay.”

You can’t catch gay as easily as catching stupid. When was this possible? Do gay kids that hang out with heterosexuals catch straightness? I didn’t. If you could catch gayness and intelligence from others in this world would be much stupider (not a word by the way) or gay.

Growing up we heard our parents tell us not to get close to a certain kid. Either a cousin, or a friend of the family, or even a neighbor. They don’t give us an explanation; they just tell us they don’t want us catching a bug. Other times if we’re caught talking to them, we get a scolding for disobeying them. At school they don’t see us talking to other kids, but when they see a queer kid, they automatically point him or her out, and tell us to stay away from them.

How many times have we heard family tell their kids not to come near us because they might catch gay? They don’t want their kid to be gay too. Instead of learning something, they take their own children and seclude them from us as if we are diseased. I can count how many aunts and uncles have done this to me.

They won’t say that to our faces. At first, they let us take their children to the park, to the movies, babysit them. Of course, it’s only up to a certain age. Once their kids turn into preteens they get scared. They stop letting us hang out with them. They don’t even wean you off, they just stop inviting you the babysit. They make up excuses for you not to take their kids to the mall or to the movies — cold turkey.

I would like to think that they don’t want their children to go through the same hardships we have gone through. That they want to protect themselves from going through what our parents went through. I really want to believe that. If I do or if we did, we be fooling ourselves.

The sad thing is that they don’t even educate themselves about life, let alone their children know the difference between a pedophile and a homosexual. Instead of teaching their children to think for themselves, evaluate their surroundings, know that not all gays are bad and not all straights are saintly. I don’t think it’s cultural either. It’s beyond that. It’s plain and simply stupid. 

The sad truth is that people think this way. I owe it to upbringing.  Our parents taught us what their parents taught them and so on. At some point, that cycle has to break. In some cases, it is reversed.

Whatever the case is if we don’t do our part to educate people we as LGBTQIA+ will always be seen as disease carriers of something they can catch.

Queerness is not contagious. Stupidity is.