"Let them see that their words can cut you and you’ll never be free of the mockery. If they want to give you a name take it make it your own. Then they can’t hurt you with it anymore."
-Tyrion Lannister, A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin
intelligent as the human race should be compared to the rest of the
animal kingdom it still, for some reason, clings on the laws of
wilderness by turning against the weak and the divergent of its own kind
in order to nurse the illusion of superiority. Being distinctively
different from the average seems to give anyone a permission to express
their opinion publicly. Black skin, Down syndrome, two men holding
hands, dwarfism, cross-dressing, wearing a burkha – as long as you stand
out from the crowd you are a possible target for both direct judgment
and silent disapproval mostly expressed by varying combinations of
freezing looks, forced smiles and nose-wrinkling. Reasons for prejudices
are as many as their harbourers and I’m not going to focus on
elaborating those just now. The way I see it is that all of us have
something to hide and to possibly be used against us, the unfortunate
are those whose something can’t be put out of sight. Or perhaps they are
the fortunate living without a fear of their secret coming to light for
it is already there.
Either way you can’t avoid facing other people.
Well, you can but the lifestyle of a hermit doesn’t suit the most of us.
course you can always decide to become a lonely guru, move on top of
some nice mountain and give highly cryptic advice to the occasional
tourists who are lost from their paths – literally and figuratively
Anyway, back to the actual point. I’m talking
about secrets and guarding them like I had some pretty rotten skeletons
in my own cupboard. Not really the case. To be honest I’m the worst at
keeping things secret (that is my own things, I would never gossip about
things someone else had confined to me). And secrets aren’t even the
topic that I’m supposed be discussing today. Finding an inclusive term
to connect all of the aspects I’m trying to talk about is just next to
you know, things that interest other people needlessly much and that
label us whether we wanted or not. Making sense much?
I'll make an example of myself.
everyone knows, I’m gay, I have a girlfriend, life is rainbows and
unicorns (and sometimes thunderstorms). I’m lucky to be surrounded by
open-minded, artsy and loving people whose reactions to my relationship I
never needed to worry about. I was really nervous about coming out to
my parents but in the end that went rather smoothly as well. But then
there’s the world and all those other little humans whose attitudes and
opinions could be anything. I say that I don’t need anyone to tell me
how they accept me being a lesbian, how they are totally okay with it.
My sexual orientation has nothing to do with anyone else’s acceptance or
disapproval, nor has my human dignity. The other side of the coin is
that I, like so many others, would very much appreciate feeling valuable
and generally accepted despite being ‘different’. With new
acquaintances – and old friends who just suddenly emerge out of nowhere -
I’m often afraid of the possible judgement when I mention my
girlfriend, especially if they otherwise seem amiable and interesting.
The more involved I get with people the bigger grows my fear.
I’m this (irritating) “out and proud” kind of person who has lesbian
earrings, a gay umbrella and a canvas bag screaming FUCK YOU in
rainbow-coloured letters. I don’t mind holding hands or kissing in
public even though someone might cast disapproving looks upon my
direction. Being public is my way to protect both myself and my
relationship from haters. This is the part where you realise how the
quote in the beginning is connected to me. The proud feminist lesbian
(without a buzz cut though) is my shield against bigmouthed homophobes
who say I’m wrong, bad and dirty. That gay rights advocate can take any
amount of disrespect, then give the finger and laugh scornfully. She’s
above everyone who wants to shun her and she’s so proud.
this is really important for it is only surface. What matters is the
love that I feel for this special someone of mine. Behind this shield I
am safe and my love is protected and no one can touch me. To be honest I
don’t even feel pride for loving a woman instead of a man because I
don’t think it’s something to be proud of. I’m proud when I finish
something big or achieve something I’ve been striving for. I’m proud if I
overcome a fear or if a friend succeeds in something that matters to
them. But I really don’t know how to feel genuine pride of being in
love. It’s love, plain and simple, and I didn’t have to do anything to
make it happen, it just is.
I’m getting slightly poetic
and more than slightly melodramatic and I’m not even going to apologise
because I'm also tired and it's 3 Am.
Just to avoid
misunderstandings: I still think that Pride is a perfectly fitting name
for the gay rights movement and I love to be a part of it.
great example of the matter I’m trying to mull over is Slutwalk which
is putting on practice exactly what the quote somewhere far above
proposes: taking the abusive name ‘slut’ and making it it’s own symbol
leaving the mockers like fish on dry land. This kind of seemingly
careless ‘fuck everyone’ -attitude works at least for me splendidly. To
raise your voice and provoke is sometimes the only effective way of
aiding your cause and gaining public attention to it.
We can’t just ask for respect, we need to demand it.
I sincerely do understand that people are scared and concerned of
something in themselves and may feel that the skies fall crashing down
if they let it out. As I told you, I’ve had it easy but many might not.
If the environment is reluctant and pressuring being different -
whichever way it is defined - is tough and not always even worth the
But if there’s a chance to not hide then why live on your tiptoes?
Those who turn their backs on you were most likely to walk away at some point anyway.