Friday, 10 February 2017

Blog – so what if you’re gay?

Being gay is not like being vegan. Seems LGBT individuals don’t find it necessary to inform you of their lifestyle. They just simply be.

Like most posts I write, this one is in reaction to something. I write this as I have noticed a greater acceptance in the media these days for openly gay people (like two dudes kissing on TV in some show wife was watching about surprise weddings or lesbian relationships in TV or movie dramas, and transgender people too). 

I think this accepting coverage/inclusion in the media is fantastic for breaking down the walls and going some way toward eliminating discrimination.

However, I also notice an increasing amount of right-wing-anti-gay hate groups trying to be heard, trying to sway the populous toward their way of thinking. A lot of Trump supporters based on what I've seen on the web too. But there are likely so many people reading this who think the same way. 

To them I say “Nah bro. Leave gay people alone. You’re the problem.”

Now I don't confess to understand all of the issues LGBT people face, nor am I here to tell you all about their plight etc because nope, I don't live their life. 

Not being gay myself and quite a heavy way on the A-typical Alpha-Male scale, I like to think that every single person on this planet (except for the ones who should be hunted for sport – i.e. child molesters and women beaters) deserve the right to be who they are, without persecution or difficulties based solely on sexual preference.

I use the word “preference” sparingly here too as even not being gay, I know it’s not a preference, it’s just who they are, who they are attracted to. Simple. Same as being straight.

Perhaps this is a naive approach, wanting people to be treated equally. Doesn't mean I can't say it though, right? If one person reads this post and goes "yeah, okay. You might have something there. Maybe I shouldn't be mean to that gay dude/chick" then awesome.

Progress. 

I am lucky to have had a few individuals and friends “come-out” to me through the years in my role as a manager of people, a mentor and as a friend. 
Sometimes it has been due to persecution that has prompted these tough discussions. Sometimes it has been the “I get written-off/don’t get opportunities because of how I am/I am gay” or “my manager is uncomfortable around me but doesn’t know why”. 
Other times it’s just been because (well, I like to think this anyway) I’m approachable and literally don’t care.

Yup – you read that right. “I don’t care”. 
Not even a little bit. Makes zero difference. 
Like veganism. 
Or gym posters who feel the need to update Facebook every time they go. 
Or foot fetish folks, or swingers. 
Or even if you're straight. 

Whatever. 
Couldn’t care less. 

And nor should you haters. 

Nobody should be defined by their sexuality as a human being. LGBT people – just like straight people – should be defined by who they are, not who they sleep with.

If you are LGBT and you’re not being treated fairly, then you should speak up. Find someone who will listen. But tread softly to begin with. Civilisation is filled with conflict-avoiding people. Confronting such issues can make people nervous. But if you’re not being treated like straight people simply because of being gay (and nothing to do with you being a dick or being difficult) then you need to have those discussions.

Now don’t get me wrong. This “I don’t care” attitude I have doesn’t mean what it sounds like in the negative sense. I am happy for you, proud you had the bravery to come out, honoured to be included, honoured to be someone you felt you could talk to and always happy for your friendship, but again – I will feel the same way if you’re a straight person or a vegan. And, only if you’re a nice person.

Like my Mum taught me when talking with women “don’t stare at boobs, concentrate on a woman’s face when you talk to her” to ensure I give people the right amount of respect, and that the word “hate” (which I was certain didn’t exist in our house growing up because hate was too strong of a word to be used, “dislike something” was better), I’m not kidding here. Sexuality should make zero difference to how you interact or function in the world.

If you are a nice person, then just be awesome. If not, you don’t deserve my time or anyone else’s until you sort your shit out. 
But again, I still won’t hate you. I will likely just dislike you a lot.
Thanks Mum x

This method of thinking should be the same for everyone else, so I would like to spread the word.

People shouldn’t care that you are gay or vegan.
You should have the opportunity to be unique just like everyone else.

I would like to propose that if you are a homophobe, religious zealot (did you know that even the Pope is okay with LGBT folks now?) or a right-wing hate monger, now is the time to challenge your views. Just look around - things are-a-changin'. Get on board the rainbow bus.

Look toward treating each and every person you meet with respect, with the opportunity to show you who they are as a person, and not to be defined simply by your feelings about their sexual/emotional relationship preference. 

Doesn’t everyone deserve the chance to prove who they are and what they’re capable of? Even you as a hater?

What if that next openly gay man or woman you wrote off or put down, could have been destined to cure cancer? But they can’t now because your hurtful words/actions took away their confidence? 

What if they committed suicide because of the hateful words you said? 
Think that your version of the "Vengeful" God you keep bringing up who - according to your views - "hates gays" is going to be happy with you on your day of judgement?

From what I know about religion, 100% of them all talk about "do unto others as you would have done unto you" which essentially translates to "be nice to people, dont be a dick". 

For you extremists out there, are you sure you're 100% right in your persecution of LGBT individuals? Certain enough to bet your eternal soul on? 

Regardless of your reply, consider this as a scenario. 
Maybe they’re in that café whilst you’re chugging back on a donut and you start to choke, you gonna stop them saving your life because they’re gay? 
He or she could be a doctor, or a nurse.

"No no, I'd rather die than have you anywhere near me"

Sound legit? Again, I'm betting no. 
I'm betting when your life is on the line, the guy or girl could be Pricilla Queen of the Desert gay and you'd take their help.

Now consider that a secretly gay person is teaching your kids at school, teaching them how to read/write/spell and be worthwhile, well-rounded citizens of the world. 

And a big point to know here - thing is, young kids don’t care when someone is gay. It’s only a learned behaviour from the adults around them. Like racism. 

Do you think it's your goal in life to teach persecution and hate to your kids?  

Could be that your friend or maybe co-worker is working alongside you right now is LGBT, and you just don’t know. Your attitude has him/her/undefined too afraid to be honest with you.

So com'on. Empathy people. Acceptance. We’re all on this planet together.

Take my (and my Mum’s) advice.
Hate is far too strong of a word to use. It’s time to stop using it – or at least point it in another more positive direction. Use it as a wake-up call. 

If you hate something, find out about it, research. Often hatred comes from not understanding something. Break the cycle, let people be and teach your kids right.

And FFS, stop caring about people’s sexual preferences. It doesn’t matter. Only people matter.


End of story. [mic drop]