I’m getting on the proverbial soap box for an overly controversial, provoking topic that is, arguably, paralleled to the 1960’s civil rights movement: gays.
Why? Because I recently had a good friend and a family member, both with surprising confidence, come out to me — separately, not as a couple.
How did I handle it? With unequivocal support and love. This “development” wasn’t going to hinder our relationship, and I was going to accept them for who they were — contrary to my religious background and political outlook.
But is love and acceptance the same thing? There’s no denying it, I was different around them after they had come out to me: I stopped talking candidly about my relationship with women, and asking for their opinion; I never asked how their love life was, in fear of not understanding or being able to identify — as if homosexuals didn’t experience the same chemistry and emotions as heterosexual do — and I found it rather difficult to come up with ideas of where to hangout, because I didn’t want to “force” heterosexual norms and behavior onto them. I wanted to be more sensitive and understanding.
I hadn’t loved them any differently after they came out. But there’s denying I was different around them — can I still love someone and not accept them? They, my good friend for many years and my beloved family member, were still the same people I’ve known my entire life, nothing had changed that, but yet, our relationship seemed oddly different now. And I wasn’t sure on why.
In my attempts to be more “understanding,” what I was actually doing, in retrospect, was actually the opposite of understanding; I was subtly discriminating against them based off our differences. I was sabotaging my relationships with them, because I started to treat them different the moment they took pride and ownership in who they were.
I started to realize that it had nothing to do with them, but with me and my preconceived notions of what homosexuality “is.”
You see, before I knew what homosexuality was, I was being told that its “different” and “sinful.” These words resonated with me every time some one spoke on homosexuality or if I met a homosexual. Because of these preconceived notions, I was inflexible, and closed-minded on my beliefs.
An obstinate mind is the enemy of change, and it filters the world to such prejudices.
Here’s the thing about homosexuals: they have 32 teeth, two eyes, 46 chromosomes, a brain — which understands hate, discrimination, prejudice, alienation — a heart — which feels love, heartache, empathy, sympathy and compassion. What may be a shock to you is that I just described heterosexuals, too.
“People are afraid of things they don’t understand. They don’t know how to relate. It threatens their security, their existence, their career, and image.” (Bill Laswell)
I agree with Bill: people fear the unknown. But no matter how science — conclusive evidence that are facts, not preconceived notions — explains the “triggers of homosexuality” and “what genetically went ‘different,'” as if this is some sort of inherited disease like cystic fibrosis, some people can’t help but adhere to their homophobic tendencies.
What’s ironic is that homophobia and homosexuality may be homogeneous in nature — genetically inherited.
With respect to Homosexuality, and this is true especially for men, lesser extent for women. The vast majority of straight men have a visceral aversion to homosexual sex. The aversion occurs at a primeval visceral level and is intense enough to cause vomiting. This has nothing to do with theology and probably little to do with culture as I have seen it across all cultures and socioeconomic levels. It is in my opinion a by-product of evolution . .” (http://www.rci.rutgers.edu/~lcrew/dojustice/j052.html)
You see, we’re more alike, homosexuals and heterosexuals, than we think. But nobody ever told me that, they were always focused on the negative connotations of being a homosexual.
My advice is to free your mind of preconceived notions and, instead, become adaptable and learn to be understanding. Become free of bias.
Furthermore, can’t homosexuals be content with who they are and church goers being content with their love for the lord?
It’s an easy answer: yes. But, unfortunately, society, in general, is about dominance of a set of standards and ideals. And what does this cause? Perpetuated prejudice, hate, and discrimination against everybody.
“An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.” (Gandhi)
And I’m not sure how many societal eyes we have left, if any. Is blinding the world worth the effort to spread hate and animosity, and for what purpose? If your answer is yes then I pray for you.
There’s nothing wrong or different about somebody who believes in an invisible lord and goes to church regularly; similarly, there’s nothing wrong or different with somebody who seeks love and intimacy with people from the same sex.
“An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.” (Martin Luther King, Jr.)
I’m proud to say that my relationships with my homosexual friend and family member have dramatically improved since I’ve learned to stop choosing ignorance and stopped allowing fear to run my life. And since then, I’ve started to see them as the equal individuals they are.
All of our eyes are open and it’s a beautiful sight.