February 23, 2012

Better For It

I used to pray that I would be straight. I could never imagine embracing my homosexuality. Homosexuality is often looked upon as a sign of moral depravity. It is something that can make an otherwise ‘good’ person bad. It is a sin. It is wrong. It is unnatural. So, if homosexuality is so bad, why has it made me a better person?

Whoa. What? Did I just say being gay has made me a better person?

Yes.

Yes, I did say that.

Being the outcast, the pariah, and the one who doesn’t belong. Being called ‘faggot’ and ‘queer.’ Being told that my love is sinful and depraved. Being told that I am a second-class citizen. Being exposed to the inequalities that I would never have been exposed to as a straight man.

All these things have made me better – made me stronger. Without my homosexuality, I would likely never understand the plight of not only the LGBTQ community, but I would never comprehend the feminist movement or minority rights movements. The only way for me to truly understand what we are fighting for is to have experienced it myself. Being gay has taught me the power of acceptance. It has taught me that it’s okay to be different. It has taught me that things are often subjective. It has made me less judgmental. It has made me, well, me.

Being gay has made me strong. It has taught me to stand up for my beliefs and myself. But that’s not why being gay has made me a better person. Being gay has made me a better person because it has taught me how it feels to be marginalized, misunderstood, and mistreated. Being gay has taught me to stand up for not only myself, but for the rights of any person who is downtrodden, devalued, and discouraged. What has it taught you?

2 comments:

  1. Someone described something similar to me once (hi Cody:) that they felt being gay made them question a lot of hierarchies and social structures, that it made them think about ideas that they weren't sure they would have thought of before. I think identifying with the LGBTQ community definitely propelled me into feminism & thinking about race. Sort of a related side-note: there was a quote on Develle Dish once that said, "I'm not sure if I would have been a feminist if I was white". Pretty interesting stuff.

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  2. I think hearing the stories of others has helped me place my own experiences into a better perspective. I can't say being lgbt has taught me to stand up for myself, given that I've never been directly confronted by someone and am not good at calling out people for the language they use. There is something distinctly special and unique about being a member of the lgbt community though. Finding out someone else is lgbt is like finding out that someone is from your hometown in a way. You instantly have a perspective or shared set of experiences that creates a sort of comfort level that is hard to find otherwise.

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