Caution: You Have Entered a (NO) Free Speech Zone

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Do you have freedom of speech?  I don’t.

I started using Facebook in 2007.  My life partner’s sister-in-law signed up for Facebook a few years later and immediately started telling me what to do.  The first thing she did was send me an email telling me that I can’t use a cartoon as my profile picture.  I was shocked that she had the nerve to tell me what I can do on my own Facebook page.  Then she told me that I wasn’t allowed to post any gay rights issues.  I was gobsmacked that she would tell me that because again, it’s MY wall.

To keep things neutral, I put a restriction on her and all of her family members, including a few of my own family members just in case.  If they don’t want to see certain things then I won’t shove it down their throats by allowing them to see it.  In return, they shove their religion down my throat every time they post religious stuff on their page.  Sounds fair, right?  That was sarcasm by the way.

Yesterday I woke up and found this in my inbox.

I was in shock again because everything that I had posted that was offensive to her was properly hidden, or so I thought.  Apparently on her new tablet using mobile Facebook, she can see EVERYTHING!  Not just the posts that I had shared and hidden but also all of my likes.  If I went through the list of posts on the Facebook “home” page and started clicking the like button, she saw all of those likes.  That means if I clicked like on “Have a Gay Day” she saw it and apparently that is so offensive to her that she just couldn’t stand looking at her own Facebook page because she was inundated with pro-gay stuff.

I went on a rant on Facebook yesterday saying if you don’t want to see my pro-gay shit then unfriend me, and she saw that too even after I unfriended her.  I had to unfriend her and her whole family and then block each one of them so none of them would see anything that might be offensive to them.  My book is also offensive to them.

Normally I would say this is MY life and if you don’t like it then hit the bricks, but this is my life partner’s family here, I can’t be a jerk to them because that would put a huge strain on our relationship, it already has.  So to build a bridge, I had to create a whole new Facebook page specifically for them to follow.  That means I will not be allowed to do anything.  I won’t be able to “Like” any gay Facebook pages or “Like” any pro-gay posts, heck I won’t be able to “Like” a status update from anyone out of fear that I am offending one person.

I am trying to be nice here and not cuss, but it’s very difficult.  I have already censored the F-word four times now.

So why am I telling you good people?  Because I am putting a warning out there for you all.  If you have fundamental born again Christian family members and/or in/outlaws, you are sharing too much stuff that they clearly don’t want to see.  Not that you have to care, but I’m just letting you know because I’m sure you don’t want to put a strain on your relationship with those people.

My life partner refuses to get on Facebook for this very reason.  I have thought about leaving Facebook many times, but I refuse to be silenced.  I want my voice to be heard, not just on my regular Facebook wall but also my books Facebook page.  My freedom of speech should not be limited, even though it has been, but to make up for the censorship, I am going to be even more vocal about my right to free speech and gay rights and equality because that is what I am passionate about.  I don’t give a flying… leap about what other people think of me, I am GAY and I am not going AWAY!  I’m here, I’m queer, GET FUCKING USED TO IT!

Yeah, I say that now, but then I go to that one Facebook page with my tail tucked between my legs and post pictures of kittens and puppies…  My balls have been removed and my fundie outlaw is wearing them as earrings.

I am 42 years old and I am not just being bullied, but I’m being cyberbullied by my own family.  Isn’t that a kick in the pants?

Just Words T-Shirt

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My friend Alyce sent me this t-shirt in, I want to say 2002, but I could be wrong, it was around that area.  Anyway, she was at a thrift store and she saw it she said that it screamed BUY ME FOR MIKE! so she did.  She and I were in a conversation via AOL instant message and she told me she bought me a t-shirt, but she wasn’t sure if I would wear it because of where I lived.  Whenever anyone thinks of Bakersfield, they always think redneck, republican and homophobia.  I waited for her gift and when it arrived I was more than thrilled.

I wore that shirt all the time.  Sometimes I would wear it two days in a row just because I loved its message.  I wore it every week no matter if I was going to the mall or the grocery store.  I didn’t care because I’m here, I’m queer, get used to it!  Besides, I really didn’t think anyone would even understand what it meant, I mean besides it having rainbow colors, I knew people would think it was a gay t-shirt, but I didn’t think they would get its meaning or what statement I was making.

It simply says “JUST WORDS” in random colors with lines of words all mixed together into 1 long sentence in rainbow colors.  The words behind JUST WORDS are simple words like milk, tree, bed, nipple, cock, breast, fag…. you know, your typical average every day words.  There are some that were so offensive that I was afraid that those words would stand out only to those who they offended, but nobody really got it so I felt comfortable wearing it out in public.

I was standing in the express lane at the grocery store one day and this woman glanced at my shirt and looked away, then glanced back at it a couple more times then said to me “I like your shirt” and I so wasn’t expecting to hear that.  I was expecting to hear “You got some nerve…. yadda yadda yadda” but it was quite the opposite.  Then another person, and another and another and it made me feel confident every time I wore it.  Of course some people needed an explanation, so I had to point out a few choice words and explain that the whole message that no matter what word you see on this shirt, it’s just a word, fag has no more meaning to me than the word cigarette which in fact is what they refer to it in the UK.  I don’t get offended when someone calls me a cigarette, so why would I get offended when someone calls me a fag?  It’s just a stupid insignificant word that means nothing to me.

I wore that shirt for so many years that it got so faded and now you can’t read anything because it has been washed so many times that the colors are fading and the words are cracking, so you can’t really read it at all.

A few years ago I decided that I wanted another one, but more in my current size since I had gained weight since the last time I wore my shirt.  I put the shirt on my desk and I just started typing those words out.  Of course I had to add some, delete some and change some because it was so difficult to read behind the big words that I just had to improvise.  I  came up with something that looks nearly the same as the very original, and I think I did a great job if I do say so myself.

So here is the image, if you like it then grab it so you can print it on your own shirt and wear it with pride.

Of course, I encourage anyone who wants to duplicate this to just go into gimp or photo shop and just start typing words and making it any way you want, or you can just click the image above and save it to your computer and print it (backwards) on iron-on paper and print it as is.   This is a replica of the above shirt but with a few modifications.

Enjoy, and let me know if you printed it and wore it somewhere.  Take a picture of you wearing it so I can see and share it with me on TwitterFacebook and Google+.  I’d be very curious to see how you look in it and what your friends and family had to say about it, whether they loved it or hated it lol.

UPDATE: LOL I had to make a few corrections…