The Face of Gay 26 (Monique Thompson)
Posted on February 9, 2013
It’s official: I’m a guilty pleasure. Or, rather, I’m guilty of something. A few things. I may possibly guilt people into offering up a post for this series from time to time. It’s a generally accepted alternative when begging doesn’t work. And, believe me, I’ve begged. Today’s post comes from someone who not only nominated me for my token African American card, but who issued it to me, too. I haven’t met her in person yet, but she’s promised me a sushi dinner and an offering of Blu-Rays if and when I do. Okay, maybe dinner. So, without further ado, welcome to Monique Thompson’s Face of Gay.
The Face of Gay 26 (Monique Thompson)
As most of you can tell, I am just a mild-mannered woman who got guilted by the ever-sweet loveable Kage Alan. When Kage asked me to write for his blog post, I had no idea what I would write about. But then it dawned on me to write about two men from the LGBT community who helped me put a new face on domestic violence.
It was my first year as a DV (domestic violence) social worker and as with most cases, we were used to it being men against women. Well, let’s just say I got an eye-opener and a better understanding that violence knows no gender or sexual orientation.
It was my third case that opened my eyes to the reality of DV. The man was in his early thirties, African American, and was burned on over seventy percent of his body. I was shocked that a woman would do this until he told me his partner was male. That a man would do this to another man was equally shocking, then he explained how he came to be at our facility.
We will call him J.
According to J, his relationship was like a storybook romance. He thought he found the man of his dreams, his Prince Charming, who we will call ‘the arse.’ Everything was great until J decided he wanted to go back to school to get another degree. Well, the arse felt that it would take J-time away from him and he started belittling J about everything. J thought “I can hang on for 18 months and then I can leave.” The abuse turned from verbal to physical. See, J thought that no one would help him or believe him because he was male. He lied to everyone who knew them and he stated some of their friends would not believe that the arse would do that. Well, after three months of black eyes, a broken nose and fractured cheek bone, J had enough. When he told the arse he was leaving him, they fought. According to J, the arse punched him in the face and the next thing he remembers was feeling his flesh on fire.
From what I read in the hospital and police report, a neighbor called 911 and J was taken to the hospital, barely breathing. He had third degree burns on seventy percent of his body and it’s miraculous he even survived. The police talked to him and they were not very helpful in believing he was a victim of violence. But with help of a hospital social worker, he was given all the resources available to help a victim of DV. He called the hotline and was given placement to the location where I was working. After months of therapy and dealing with the courts, the arse was arrested and charged with attempted murder. At the time, it would not be considered a hate crime.
A year after entering the facility, J was given a new lease on life. He was moved across the country and, last I heard, was happy in a new relationship with a man who is happy to love J for J and not change him.
The second person who help me understand DV in the LGBT community was a young man who was beaten by his family when he came out to them. We will call him T.
At the time I met T, he was a 19 year old college freshman. I was working the night hotline when a call came in from an area hospital of a young man stating he was beaten by his father and brothers. When I got there, it was a mess, Family members acted like the true asses they were and cops were not being as helpful as they should. I asked the nurse for the patient they called me about and she wouldn’t help me until I showed her my ID.
When I was finally escorted in, I saw a frail young man with his left arm in a cast, his leg in a cast, both eyes blackened and a deep laceration on the right side of his head. I really could not ask him any questions due to the fact he was heavily sedated. I did speak with the doctors who treated him and got the full extent of his injuries. I then spoke with one of the officers who answered the call and from what he gathered, the family spotted T with a male friend earlier in the day and confronted him about it. And when T told them he was indeed gay, the father punched him in the stomach and the rest of the male family members joined in.
I have to say some days it’s good to have nosy neighbors because they called the cops due to the noise. But I wonder how stupid his family was to tell the cops the truth. Anyhow, T could not leave the hospital for a few days. But during the day when he was awake, he spoke with the police, the DA and filed paperwork for a TRO (temporary restraining order). When he was able to leave and come to my facility, we had a long talk. At first he was very angry thinking I would be like his family and hate him because he was gay, but I told him I was sorry, that I wasn’t like them. When I explained to him I am a mother of three sons, he said “I bet if one of your sons was gay, you’d hate him.” I said no, that my job as a parent is to love my child unconditionally…unless they became a serial killer. I got a laugh out of him for that comment.
The more we talked, the more I realized he needed parental love and understanding. Once he was able to get his cast off, we got him re-enrolled in school with a partial scholarship and work study. I can tell you that T and I keep in contact and he calls me the mother he should have had.
I have to say after meeting and knowing these two men has made my life better. They have shown me true inner strength and the reality that domestic violence truly knows no gender or sexual orientation. But at that time, there were very little resources for the LGBT community. It has come a long way and there is still more we can do. Stigmas for being a victim of domestic violence and being LGBT shouldn’t exist. Ultimately, my goal is to go back into social work and work with the LGBT community.
P.S. T graduated from college and is an elementary school teacher.