ON BEING AN OUTCAST

Posted on Updated on

An image recently appeared on my Facebook “Home” page that showed two men in a passionate kiss. The accompanying message was something like “Post this on your timeline and see how many people unfriend you.” I was not offended by the photo, but I was offended by the brazen “in your face” attitude of whoever posted it!

Though I am perfectly willing to discuss such things, I did not share that post because I saw no reason to draw any of my friends into a discussion in which they would be comfortable if they do not share my views of the LGBT community.

They have their opinions. I have mine.

I like to think mine have evolved over the years from rejection and contempt (born of ignorance, I might add) to tolerance and acceptance. I grew up in an environment where people simply did not talk about homosexuality openly. I barely knew it existed before I went away to college. (Yes. I know that statement seems utterly incredible seen from the perspective of the 21st Century.) Even then—and still later—I held the view that “those people” were the way they were because they just wanted to be. They could change, but they liked being on the outside, liked being able to tell society to go to hell, much as the hippies were doing.

Knowledge—some from books and magazines, some from personal acquaintances—has made me much sympathetic to the plight of LGBT people in our society. I use the word plight deliberately, for it is sad, and awkward, and often downright dangerous to go against the norms of society. The situation is especially poignant because the person had no choice from the get-go. DNA can be very demanding.

And there is pain—yes, very real, very debilitating PAIN—that extends beyond the one dealing with his or her own sexuality. Imagine as someone in your early teens discovering that you are a person your peers will make fun of, that you will be shut out of all the fun activities of growing up. You’d try to hide it—right? You’d become an introvert, or maybe, in denial, you’d become a gay-basher, rejecting your own inner self. Talk about low self-esteem! Nowadays (thank goodness) young people can, in many instances, be more open. Some schools even recognize the existence of LGBT youth in their midst and offer help.

Then, imagine that you are the parent or sibling of that young person. How do you react to people making disparaging remarks or asking pointed questions about your child, your brother or your sister? Do you hang your head and try to ignore the issue? Do you blame the son or daughter or sibling and shout nasty things about their being able to change if they’d only try? Or—worse—do you reject that person you are supposed to love and throw him or her out of your life?

The more compassionate family members will, of course, seek help, join support groups to help them understand. Unfortunately, many young people, already struggling with that monumental issue of sexuality itself (you know: that issue that causes all of us such turmoil) meet with rejection when their own proclivities become known. My heart goes out to them in their struggle. (See? I have evolved.)

So, no. I am not “sharing” that photo to satisfy someone’s smug self-righteousness and perhaps reopen only barely healing wounds.

Advertisements