There’s more than one way to learn acceptance and understanding, but the fastest way I know is to make friends with people who are different than you are. Having friends with religions and skin colors different from mine gave me a better awareness of other cultures. Making friends with women taught me about sexism. Becoming close to those with sexual orientations different from mine taught me a lot about psychology, and provided valuable insights about personal integrity, authenticity and identity.
I’m sure I have known LGBT people all my life, though they weren’t in the habit of admitting or explaining it to me until I was in High School in 1969. There were lots of things I didn’t understand before then, like trigonometry for example. The continuum of human sexuality was just one more unfamiliar subject. I didn’t regard it with undue weight. What I cared most about at the time was love (as opposed to sex), along with figuring out what I could do to help end the war in Vietnam.
My closest male friend in High School was gay. He was not “out” to society, but his family knew, and I knew because he trusted me. He had charisma, so women competed for his attention. He was the Rock Hudson sort of gay man. He enjoyed flirting with girls, and he was a convincing romantic figure on stage. We were too young to visit bars, but I went to house parties with him where gays and lesbians gathered. Men sometimes made passes at me, but without exception they were polite and never pressured me once I said I was “straight”. Some of them were nice enough to explain to me what closeted life was like. I was a brainiac. That made me different. I often had to pretend to be “normal” to fit in. I bonded with gay men over that.
Within a short time I began to understand that everyone has both male and female energy in them. At one end of the spectrum are women who prefer to spend most of their time doing and having things that women prefer. Those are the girly-girls, women whose female energy is dominant. Some of them prefer women as romantic and/or sexual partners. On the other end are manly men, or “MenMen”, as we called them in High School. Their male energy is dominant, and some of them prefer men the same way some of the girly-girls prefer the company of other women.
It isn’t that simple of course. Some men have strong female energy. Some women have strong male energy. Most people are somewhere in between the two extremes. When talking about psychological identity the terms male and female can be misleading. It’s just two poles, like in magnetism. There’s yin and yang. We all have both, and whatever balance between them we exhibit is part of what distinguishes us as individuals. It isn’t determined by our exterior “equipment”.
Religion, politics and law do not quickly or easily adapt to the subtleties resident in reality. Legislators, candidates and church spokespersons proclaim that things must be (or ought to be) all one way or another. I have to laugh whenever people in those fields talk about a “big tent”. They don’t have anything near the big tent of psychology. Wisdom and experience provides the biggest tent of all. People live their lives with incremental differences in emphasis all along the vast line between MenMen and girly-girls. The point on that line of sexual orientation and identity where you live is valid, no matter where it is. Normal means that which is greatest in number. It doesn’t mean that which is most right, most true or most correct. I’ve been abnormal all my life, and I’m damn proud of it!
Barack Obama, our president, has been going through some consciousness-raising. He said part of his process of re-thinking the validity of gay marriage came about because his young daughters accept that some of their friends have two parents of the same gender. It’s an ordinary thing to them. If those parents were abusive it would be a matter for concern. Sexual orientation by itself isn’t a matter for concern. Good for Barack. Now he’s catching up with what I understood in 1970. Better late than never.
North Carolina just passed a law invalidating not only gay marriage, but also civil unions between people of the same gender. Like the Jim Crow laws, it’s destined for repeal. No matter how many North Carolinas there are, same sex marriage between consenting adults is going to become law, because eventually law comes to reflect reality, and consenting adults of the same gender have been living in permanent partnerships since the beginning of tribal society and recorded history. You can frame your objections any way you like, but it will still happen. If it doesn’t happen any other way, it will come about as older people die, because like Obama’s daughters, the majority of young people see this as an issue of human and civil rights. So do I.
16 responses to “Get Used To It”
I also think it is interesting that Obama has made a shift in how he addresses this issue–touchy in an election year. I have always had friends across many spectrums. Like you say, it’s the best way to broaden our own horizons and expand our consciousness. The gay marriage issue is very sensitive for people with certain religious beliefs. If your beliefs create good/bad, us/them categories, it’s hard to open the door to even consider gray areas or to drop the distinctions altogether. Compassion towards all seems like the only sensible and hopeful common ground.
Yes, it is a sensitive issue for people who prefer orthodox beliefs. This will be a great opportunity for them to learn! Fortunately, same-sex marriage is defensible on clear moral grounds, and there’s plenty of precedent for the natural occurence of homosexuality in plants and animals. Humans may make symbolic constructs about the world, but the world simply IS, no matter what we say it is or ought to be. Thanks for your contribution, Galen.
PS–I see that wordpress is still not letting me leave link backs, so I hope it’s okay to leave my link in a comment. http://10stepstofindingyourhappyplace.blogspot.com/
It’s fine by me! (I’m still unable to even leave comments on other WP sites. argghh…)
Go to Akismet’s site and tell them you’re going to spam. They fixed it for me great.
Great post. I am immersed in gay culture these days, but my fellow North Carolinians aren’t. Sigh
Oh, thanks! Hadn’t thought of trying that.
Those Carolinas. Seceeding from the union. This nonsense. Always something with those guys – and you know it’s men causing the problem.
Well, I checked my Akismet configuration. It’s current (2.5) and properly set. Part of my irritation is because WP now does not offer support unless you buy an upgrade, and there’s nothing in the upgrades that I need. The free features provide all the functions I seek – except for this new inability to comment at other WP.com blogs. I can comment here, and in the Forums, and on non-WP blogs. I’ll have to keep trying to figure it out.
Blow the crumpets (*ta-TAAAA!*) Here’s the SPAM of the DAY. I think it’s from Mr. Mxyzptlk. (Any Superman fans out there?) The message was:
“agubd6 [pimkhkdkdxvp.com]pimkhkdkdxvp[/url], uzadueqzscrk[/link], lywbujxbynyz.”
Once more, I find that I am coming to a common ground with you on these topics. This one touches a bit closer to me as I find that the idea that civil rights are divided up into categories still to be ridiculous. Sexual orientation may be how someone considers it, but as long as the people are human beings…they have civil rights equally. I will likely be touching this subject myself in days to come. Thanks for your post.
As always, you are most welcome, D. So’s your “dog of the future”.
Make friends yes but what about when it happens in a family? In the microcosm that is ours we have ultra-strict Catholics on the one hand with gays both in and out of the closet, with children. I have to say I am not at all worried about my gay sister-in-law who, with her partner, is the mother to one of the most beautiful little girls ever. They have the confidence to be themselves and the world is a better place for them. Married or not! And then I think about all the tortured souls who haven’t found their place because of sexual orientation . . . great post Mikey, nothing abnormal about you at all!
How could I have forgotten to say something about the vital context of families! Thank you so much for bringing it up, Patti. We all desire for our family members to accept and approve of what we are, not only in sexual orientation but in every other aspect of our personalities and abilities. We don’t always get it, but we deserve it.
As to my normalcy, I shall accept your assessment as a compliment. My past therapists would disagree with you, but it’s something I am gradually achieving success working toward. I do know that I’m lovable 🙂
Thank you, Mikey, for this brave post. As a North Carolinian, I was saddened and disappointed by the passing of Amendment One. In 2012? It was certainly a step backwards, in my opinion. See my blog this week for some thoughts about it.
I agree with you. It same sex marriage IS going to become legal. It is just a matter of time. I watched a video that said civil rights issues, such as this, should never go to popular vote because the majority is not going to vote for the rights of the minority. African Americans and women would have never gotten equal rights this way.
I saw an image of people picketing the African American equal rights and one of people protesting gay marriage recently. The caption read “Just imagine how stupid you will look in 40 years.” Indeed!
(It will not let me login with WordPress, as we have discussed, so here is a link to my blog: http://www.thebestbrainpossible.com/be-the-change)
The same updates to the WP software that prevents you from backlinks is preventing me from commenting on other sites. It’s frustrating! I loved the fact that you and I had written about the same subject within hours of each other, but I wasn’t able to tell you. My comment disappeared into thin air. Synchronicity is a cool thing, in any case. As long as you stay there, you WILL be the change!
My best friend is gay and I support gay marriage with all my heart. I believe that people have the right to fall in love with whomever they chose, and that they have the right to express it in the same way as everyone else. I’ve known people who are transgender also and the amount of hatred they still experience is just sickening; a great deal of change still needs to happen before the majority of people feel the same way. But they are the ignorant ones, and one day things will change. We all just need to stand together.
This has the same historical dynamic, the identical kind of curve and energy as the women’s and voting rights movements. Anyone old enough to have lived through those should recognize it immediately. These are revolutions of the spirit. Thanks, Anna.
Reblogged this on Invisible Mikey and commented:
This one’s from three years ago.
Sometimes I can see into the future 😀