When I was a little girl, I remember there was a family member who was a lesbian.
This was a secret. A “very bad” secret. According to some family members, it was dirty and wrong.
What was “strange” about me, I guess, I didn’t find anything wrong with it.
As a child, my curiosity is what had me needing to understand people and life better. It wasn’t a matter of why people did certain things or why they chose to love certain people, but how they were able to acquire happiness because of it.
When I got older and began hanging out with my friends on the weekends, I discovered there were people who didn’t hide their lifestyle. Although I would never see them with their partners making out as any heterosexual couple, leaning on someone’s car as we did when we were teenagers, their personality spoke for them and it intrigued me even more how they had that natural zest of life they seemed to exude.
Never could I understand the logic when society expressed disdain for others in who they chose to love. Was it because they didn’t like them to be different? Because it went against a manmade bible filled with words to control how others lived? Why did we all have to be the same?
Even with my own personal discoveries of the fetish lifestyle and dominancy, in social settings, I didn’t openly discuss what I liked, unless it was brought up as a joke. That would be the only time it felt safe. I realized people who didn’t agree or didn’t accept an alternative belief or lifestyle, was because most times, they were uncomfortable with themselves.
While the gay lifestyle was very much alive in the New York City night life, alternative lifestyles were not depicted on television because it was unacceptable. Today, television shows have expanded, inviting all types of alternative lifestyles, even networks focused on gay lifestyles, as well as television dramas, games, fashion, reality television, just to name a few.
In all honesty, what bothers me the most is knowing there are strict, religious families, raising their children, with threats of “faith” of an angry God who would punish them for being anything other than straight and obeying unrealistic laws if anything alternative entered the mind. I couldn’t imagine having a family who just couldn’t accept their child for who they are, but yet, it exists, even in this present day, there are still families shunning their child, if they do not fit the standards of what society calls for.
While yes, I am a straight woman, that didn’t mean I didn’t explore. Of course I did. I’m human. What hurt me more, at the time, was how my family mistook my explorations as an embarrassment to their family and friends. Even my friends weren’t accepting of my experience, because, back in the 80s, although not hidden, it was not acceptable “behavior”.
While the 80s had limited resources, today we have unlimited amounts of information, between community centers and the internet, I like to believe, anyone who feels who they love is normal, shouldn’t have an option to hide or sent away to some camp of conversion and being led to believe otherwise, what they think and how they live is wrong when it’s not.
I recently binged watched Pose on Netflix. I must say it brought back so many memories of the 80s, during the time of AIDS, how it was spread and the uncertainty of humanity. But the show wasn’t just about living with HIV, it is the characters who represent different types of individuals, who, in their own skin, where seeking to be accepted and for the world to see them as they saw themselves.
You see, the beauty about this show is not being defined by an anatomy but what is in their heart.
Imagine feeling trapped and playing a part that isn’t real in your heart only to appease society while we walked down the street minding our own business.
I think about Master Wolfgang and the articles he wrote, relating to pride, being gay and also being a Dominate Male. He was a wealth of information; I couldn’t even compare to what I am writing in this article now.
Society and/or religious fanatics doesn’t have a right to define who we are as a human being and they certainly do not have a right to choose who we love. And yet, think about how people have been murdered because of it.
Because of love.
When I think about Pride, to me it’s about Freedom.
It’s about the freedom to express one self. To be vulnerable, to enjoy life and to explore opportunities without being afraid.
I laugh sometimes when I see people put she/her in their profile when they are just the same as me.
She/her, him/he, them/they wasn’t created for your own person use (straight people), it was created so those who wanted to be address properly, were addressed how they viewed themselves.
I’ll end with this. If you watched the FX show Pose, the character Evan Peters played, Stan Bowes, a Wall Street guy who fell in love with Angel. When he was trying to track her down to profess his love, he found himself at a local peep show store in Times Square. When he asked the man who monitored the booths, if Angel was working and the man responded, “yeah he’s here” and Stan corrected him, “you mean she”.
Even with the man’s dispute, the fact is Stan Bowes saw Angel the way Angel saw herself, a beautiful human being who was a woman.
Now if only the rest of the world can follow suit I say, how much better life would be, with just a little bit of acceptance.