Sunday, May 25, 2008

So what is it...?

What is it about some people, that they can't even try to accept others? Is it insecurity? Or is it just that they don't take the time to figure out what's inside them, so they certainly wouldn't take the time to figure out what's inside somebody else? Perish the thought.

I was out to dinner with some people last night, and at the restaurant where we were eating, there is a rather effeminate man who works behind the counter. He's worked there for quite a while, and most times people just kind of go about their business, and don't (apparently) think too much about him. Last night, one guy started going off on some thing about "oh, don't go in the bathroom while he's in there, he might attack you, make sure you cover up your ass." So ok, here's this guy, and he's not a man's man. He could be a transperson, he could be a gay man, or he may even be a straight man, who happens to be rather femme. A few others joined in on trashing this guy, and I sat there stunned, and had no idea what to say. All I could eventually manage was "grow up."

When I finally woke up this morning, the things I should have said were swirling around in my head. After all, they were trashing me too - I'm "different". How many girls do they know who go around attacking people? How many gay men do they know who attack others? I'd wager heavily that most of the time it's just the opposite - women and gay men being attacked, because they're weaker, or "different", or for some other unknown (and equally irrational and invalid) reason. Being a man does not mean that, because you may have power over somebody else, that you need to demonstrate that power to destroy somebody else, to rape, beat, or kill them. It means, rather, that with the power you have, simply because of the way western society works, you have to use that power to help the unempowered. Power is a lot like love; there's a whole bunch of it to go around, and giving up some of it doesn't mean that you have less. Giving someone else a little of your own power does not necessarily diminish the giver, but rather it means that everyone can be uplifted.

I'd also wager that none of them have spent even a second trying to think what it must be like for somebody else. I was so angry; I wanted to rage at them, and make them feel stupid, since they apparently like to wallow in their ignorance. I wanted them to realize just how difficult being "different" is, to make them understand what it means to, say, spend a year of your life trying to decide whether or not to kill yourself. What situation in anyone's life would make them desperate enough to think that ending it would be the best option? Dear reader, I hope you can think about that for a little while.

The world is a big place, and there are a lot of people who are different, some are just different from you, others are different from a lot of other people. Is it so difficult to enlarge one's worldview to encompass what exists in reality?

I'm real. I'm here. I exist. I'm not going away any time soon.

I'm just getting started.

are just getting started.


Anonymous said...

My step dad says the biggest problem with retiring to a small town is that the population is so narrow-minded that it's like they're viewing life through a straw.

I don't remember the technical term but it's human nature to fear things that you do not understand. You commented to me that education is the solution and it really is.

It's probably also human nature to bond via ridicule of someone who is different from the group. You and I have cut-up with BOFH references against our own users. It doesn't make it right or any less ugly but it's something that always happens in any group.

Do you think the dinner conversation would have been different if you were out to those friends? It's your opportunity to build some bridges and open some minds.

Anonymous said...

It's hard to say whether it would have even been the same crowd if I had been out to all of them. When it was suggested that this person at the restaurant might have been trans, some noses wrinkled, and "ew"s were said, and I think I might have even heard the word "disgusting".

That's going to be a challenging group, just based on the personalities involved, and some of the conversations they've had before. I may just have to forget about them and move on. It's not a huge loss, since I wouldn't consider most of them friends, but still, they're people who will probably judge me poorly, through no fault of mine, and that's hard no matter what. That's a large part of what's been holding me back for so many years.