“Where’s that faggot?” the black saleswoman asks, looking for a sales associate.
Why do such moments still reduce me to enraged silence, stump me, leave me shocked, violated into silence? What is that trigger that is so easily pressed? Why can’t I respond to casual homophobia? Is it because it is always like a trick punch? Unanticipated, and so always crippling?
Why, when I have learned to stop flinching, do I return to that cowed position, one in which, sadly, so many black women reduce me to, with their casual homophobia?