Today, I was playing tennis with friends on some public courts. As we were leaving, we happened to run into a couple of older gentlemen who struck up a conversation with us. I mentioned where I went to high school, and one of the men said:
— “I coach basketball there. What sport did you play?”
My response was innocuous enough:
— "I didn’t play any sports in high school. I sang and did theatre."
He then turned to his friend and my two friends to say:
— "Well, I can’t say anything about that. Nothing politically correct, at least."
Why? What would like to say to me, sir? Would you like to tell me that you doubt my athletic abilities? My college intramural basketball team won the championship, and I’m pretty sure that my 6 years of dance lessons were far more athletically grueling than however many years of basketball practices you’ve overseen. Olga was a hell of a ballet teacher, and she kicked my butt every time I walked into her classroom. If you two were to get into some sort of argument, I’d take her in that fight any day.
Or would you like to cast aspersions on my sexuality? I’m pretty sure that’s where you were actually going with your train of thought. I’d gladly tell you that I’m straight, but that’s not the point here. Despite directly disproving your assumptions, my sexuality is irrelevant. I can’t believe that there are still people out there who are willing to be hoodwinked into ignorance and intolerance by dated stereotypes.
I wish I had said something, but I was too much in shock that someone had just openly said that to me.
Yes, I do theatre. I sing. I dance. I also happen to love playing tennis and basketball. None of that plays into my sexuality. And if theatre has taught me tolerance and acceptance while you learned bigotry, you bet your ass I’m happy I chose the arts instead of sports. Stop re-living your high school days and get with the times, sir.
A 4-year-long public anti-smoking public service announcement.