I'm walking home from my queer studies class in radical queer mode: in my mind I am challenging mundane shit around me with the principles we study in class. I can single-handedly fuck up racism, sexism, and transphobia all at once right now.
As I make my way past the janky convenience store on Goodwin, I see a pair of Mormons walking towards me. Ooh, goody. Mormon missionaries! And I am totally ready to start some shit!
I make assertive eye contact and the encounter is guaranteed. A redhead guy leads hesitantly, the other darker one follows. They approach me as I fold my arms across my chest and smile tightly. I observe that the dark-haired guy lagging behind looks like he'd rather just avoid me. I also notice his eyes are a gorgeous blue-green color. Oh god, were they beautiful! and so incredibly familiar! I'm suddenly reminded of whose eyes they look like - my mother's - and I look away. Awkward.
The redhead speaks. He introduces himself and his partner and their Church. My stubborn resolve to be horrible to these people is melting in the face of their utter mortality - they're nervous, they're overly polite, they're respectful of my space, they are self-assured in their mission. I find them charming in a dorky way. My smile is still cold but gets a hint more genuine as the guy speaking stumbles over his speech a bit.
I wanted so badly to be horrible to these people. I wanted to tell them I hated their stupid Church for being responsible for countless acts of oppression against me. I wanted to get angry.
He asks if I'm religious. I tell them I'm a staunch atheist but that I've studied different religions in the past in an effort to better understand them. He starts talking more about Mormonism and I find myself utterly incapable of being rude to these people.
They are doing a truly wonderful thing. They are taking an important part of their lives that gives them validation and satisfaction (I presume) and sharing it with other people. These two human beings have no active agenda to oppress me. Yeah, I'm not a fan of their Church. I'll never stop being queer and I don't think I'll ever find myself becoming religious. And yet I have no right to treat these people like shit because of their belief system just as they have no business dictating my civil rights.
The redhead asks if I am interested in getting a copy of the Book of Mormon. I politely refuse and thank them for taking the time to speak with me. After shaking the first guy's hand, I glance briefly at blue-green eyes guy and think "too bad you're unavailable" and continue walking home by myself.