I Support Equal Marriage Because No One Should be Ashamed of Who They Are

I’ve talked about my support of LGBTQ persons. Specifically, I’ve given my spiritual reasons for my views. Today, I’d like to talk about my person reasons.

There are videos and testimonies all over the internet where people who identify as a sexuality other than heterosexual describe hiding who they are. Their attempts to fit into  what they’ve been taught is normal are futile. What does it matter if everyone thinks they are straight if they are lying to themselves? Can you imagine what that does to a person to pretend every day to be someone else, to hate who they are?

I’m not here to tell you that I know how it feels, because I don’t. There is no way I can fathom that kind of pain. Instead, I have my own experiences which I am sure pale in comparison to that of LGBTQ youth. I wouldn’t wish my childhood on my worst enemy, but I know there are plenty of people who’ve had worse experiences.

Let’s start at the beginning. The first thoughts I remember having about myself involve being broken, worthless and unimportant. It wasn’t until I spoke to a therapist during college in an attempt to get to the root of my insomnia that anyone every asked why. You may have the same question, but I don’t have an answer for you. My only theory involves a medical condition I had when I was around the age of three. I have no memory of this and didn’t even know about it until my mother told me a long time later. Still, I wonder if that’s where I first thought of myself as broken as a child. I didn’t make the connection at the time. I just was who I was and I was a horrible person because of that.

Throughout most of my childhood, even through years of bullying and subsequent years trying to discover who I was, I was trying to be perfect. In fact, I was obsessed with being the perfect everything: daughter, sister, student, friend. I dedicated so much time to being what everyone around me wanted me to be, that I lost myself. Towards the end of my middle school years, I finally started to discover a few things that were unique to me. Many of these characteristics did not fit into the perfect daughter, sister, student and friend the people around me wanted. They were exclusive to who I was and while the discovery of traits that were all my own thrilled me, they also brought about fear. There were many traits that did not fit into the box people wanted me to succumb to.

What could I do?

My strategy was to keep most of who I was to myself, letting only a few close friends and my journal all the way in. To people who I wanted to stay close to, like my family, I would expose my true self in fragments. Here or there I would talk about something that was unique to me, like my interest in other cultures in travel. It’s an innocent interest, really, but it made me different. In small towns, people regularly live their whole lives in the town they were born in. People’s entire family, including grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins, all live within a 30 minute drive from each other.

The very idea that I wanted to see other countries was a completely foreign concept. People asked why, when there was so much to see in the United States. They said I couldn’t afford it or that my dreams would change when I had a family (something I wasn’t super interested in as a kid). I even had a boyfriend in high school question why I would want anything more than playing video games in my mom’s basement.

There were other interests and opinions I held that marked me as different, but I was very careful with what I exposed. different cultures are just one example. If I talked about my interest in Japanese culture, I would face comments derogatory towards the Japanese from certain family members. If I expressed my dream of writing a book, I would receive comments about how unlikely such a dream was. God forbid if I expressed my accepting opinion of different sexuality or sexual activity (and I didn’t express those two because of the feared backlash).

It got to the point where only specific people, like certain teachers and friends, knew who I really was. I struggled trying to decided what to show and what to keep to myself. It wasn’t always smooth sailing. There was even a year of high school where I hardly spoke to my father. He’d say something that offended me and, when I expressed my offense, I would offend him. We literally talked to each other through my mom. She was our translator, who said what we both meant in a way that didn’t offend the other.

Living like that was agony. Here were the people I was supposed to be closest to and yet I was terrified to let them know who I really was. I’m still terrified. I’ve spoken openly about my search for a religion that speaks to me. Thinking about my parents reaction when I tell them I’m not Catholic is enough to raise my heart rate. What will my uncle, a Catholic priest, have to say? Will they even accept me anymore? Will they want me around?

What happens the day D and I decide to move in with each other? We probably won’t be married first. I’m not even sure my parents will want to talk to me anymore. Those things feel like such huge jumps. I haven’t let them know much about my religious views other than the fact I’m a democrat (which may as well be a religion. You’d understand if you met my father).

All this is getting away from the point. I know what it’s like to hide your true self. I know what it’s like to be consumed by terror at the very idea that one’s family might find out who they really are. I also know that the feelings I have pale in comparison to the feelings someone who feels compelled tot fit into a heteronormitive box and doesn’t.

My experiences crippled me as a child. They affected my self-worth and self-esteem. It took immense effort to come to terms with the idea that I could be whoever I was meant to be even if the people closest to me didn’t like it. In some ways, I’m still trying to overcome those experiences.

For these reasons, I understand the hardships of being different. Again, I am not trying to say that my experiences are equal. All I am trying to say is that I understand the pain of being different, on any level, and how if feels to fear the opinions of your family. These aren’t things I’d wish on my worst enemy.

If I could build a perfect world, I’d build one in which unique people were applauded. Unfortunately, that’s not the world we live in. Those who are different often have to fight for their right to be who they are or force themselves to change so they fit with everyone else.

I think everyone, regardless of their dreams, interests, sexuality and all other factors, should be able to be who they are. No one is worthless because of who they were born to be. No one deserves to hate who they are. Therefore, I support LGBTQ persons because many of them know what it’s like to be different on a deeper level than I do. They know a worser pain and it’s a pain none of them deserved. I fight for the rights of all sexualities because I don’t want any child to feel the way I did.

Differences should be celebrated, not condemned.

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12 thoughts on “I Support Equal Marriage Because No One Should be Ashamed of Who They Are”

  1. Thanks for sharing your experience and your thoughts on this. It’s very moving.

    I have a hard time understanding why so many people get so worked up over “who you are” like it’s such a big deal that personally affects them when it really doesn’t.

    And I get the part about politics being like religion. I told some Republican friends of mine that the Republican leadership seem like extra prophets from their church, and have a see them–actually trying to point out the blasphemy. Because apparently Republican leadership is infallible.

    1. You don’t have to tell me. I think there are different kinds of Republicans. I separate them into three categories. 1) The financial Republican who supports all the tax cuts and financial goals of the party and doesn’t care about the other stuff. 2) The social Republican, who supports all the values of the party and doesn’t really care about the other stuff. 3) The Fox New Republican who simply believes anything and everything on every program on Fox News is the absolute truth.

      My father falls into the third category…..

  2. Its crazy how similar we are in some ways. I hid many of my interests from friends and family because I knew they would think I was weird. In a way I suppose I still do, but more because I know they won’t care/understand than because I’m afraid of what people will think of me. I also understand about your Dad. My father is under the impression that global warming must be fake because its snowing and winters are getting colder. Because obviously climate change is secluded and only has a single effect and that is it. My family on a whole is pretty neutral towards LGBTQA, which is lucky since I have a gay step brother, but my boyfriend’s family is about as far right as you can go so I know how hard it is to keep quiet around people to keep the peace.

    Love is love. Hopefully more people will begin to understand that in the near future. And if not, maybe they can at least learn to mind their own damn business.

    1. Isn’t it the worst when you really care about something but can’t find anyone to share that interest? I’ve finally decided to do something I’ve wanted to for a long time this year: attend an anime convention. The boyfriend has agreed to come with me, but there’s not really anyone else around into that stuff. I’m afraid to bring it up even to nerdy people. Thank God for the Internet! It’s full of people just like me ^_^.

      At the end of the day, it’s just about letting people live the life they want to. So long as they don’t interfere with someone else’s human rights, it’s all good.

  3. I just loved this! You always manage to make me cry you know that he he he.
    “They were exclusive to who I was and while the discovery of traits that were all my own thrilled me, they also brought about fear.” – I love this because I found it to be true for myself as well.

    As a gay man, hiding myself and who I am was hard but I think what I realised was this: Yeah, I’m gay but that is definitely not the most interesting thing about me and it’s only a small part of who I am. Being gay doesn’t define me one bit. I think when I realised that I was able to fully accept myself and liberate myself from the proverbial closet.

    It is people like you, that have your kind of thought process and beliefs that make it so much easier and better for people who are not heterosexual to truly be themselves. I don’t even want to imagine the countless people who kill themselves, are sad and angry, bitter, lost and terrified because they cannot be themselves (gay or not).

    Some people I know always laugh and make fun of “goths” for some odd reason. I can never understand why they do this. It’s crazy to me to even think of judging someone because of something like that. I just can’t. I think it’s one of the most difficult things to step out, knowing that you will probably be judged and/or ridiculed for the person you are or want to be, but yet you do it anyways!

    My brother is in the process of becoming a female (yeah, there’s a gay and a transgendered person in my immediate family. I think I have the best parents in the world for understanding us the way they do and as much as they do) and I think he is so brave everyday of his life for stepping out and being who he is. I thought being gay was hard, but he is one of the bravest people I know and will probably ever know.

    1. I’m happy you enjoyed the post. To be honest, I was a little afraid to hit the publish button because I didn’t want to imply that my experiences are equal to or greater than some of the horrible things that happen to people who don’t fit into the heteronormitive box. But then, this is how I think. So here we are!

      I started trying to ‘find myself’ once I realized the reason I was so depressed all the time was because I kept focusing on what everyone else wanted me to be. It was a process. I think one of the most defining moments came from an ex-boyfriend of mine. I was talking about travel and different cultures. He looked at me – dead serious – and asked why I wouldn’t want anything more than to sit in a basement and play video games. Now, I love me some good gaming, but there’s more to life. When he said that to me, I knew that small town life and small town ways weren’t for me.

      Again a small thing in comparison, but it was enough to make me feel like an outcast. No one deserves to feel that way just for being unique. And you’re right, those single traits don’t define us. I’ll never understand why some people think what makes them happy will make everyone else happy (and then proceed to condemn all who think otherwise).

  4. Hey tk, I read this the other day but didn’t have a chance to comment. So I don’t know if you’ve read any of my posts about marriage equality, but for the most part I think you and I are in total agreement…..

    here’s my conundrum though about the larger issue (not of homosexuality) but of one particular element in the LGBTQ…….clothing.

    So I live in what has been rated the #10 most gay friendly city in the United States. The mayor is gay, and the headquarters for all of the various LGBTQ organizations for Michigan are right here in my community….and even though I’m not gay, I fit into the community really well because I am so laid back and embrace everyone for whatever they believe in…..

    so far so good…right?

    but one of the problems I often have has to do with cross-dressers. As a libertarian I believe that everyone has the right to wear whatever they want to wear; freedom, equal rights, etc…..I’m all for it……BUT I don’t really understand cross dressing at all.

    I’ve talked with men who tell me that although they don’t want sex changes….they ‘feel’ like women and that is why they wear ‘women’s clothing’…….but what I don’t get about this is that this really is nothing more than a cultural thing; it has nothing to do with genetics. Because there are many cultures that don’t have different clothing for men and women; everyone wears the same thing for the most part. Think of for instance, certain tribes in Africa or South America…..the clothing is minimal and the men simply wear a loin cloth that barely covers their genitals and the women are topless and also only wear a loin cloth…….

    so when I talk to cross dressers and they try and tell me they are genetically predisposed or ‘wired’ to wanting to wear women’s clothing…..at this point I think they are mistaken. Because the type of ‘women’s clothing’ they want to wear basically comes down to a Western Culture thing…..because its here in the west where women wear high heels, lipstick….etc………

    and also, clothing through the ages has changed so much; take for instance Victorian England…didn’t the men wear powder on their face and wigs? The men were just as ‘made up’ as the women back then….at least in the movies and artwork I’ve seen…..

    so while on one hand I totally support someone’s individual right to wear whatever they want to wear…..it doesn’t mean I have to agree with them that they are genetically predisposed to ‘wanting’ to wear a particular clothing………do I ?

    am I sounding insensitive or is there some kind of logic interspersed somewhere in this?

    1. I had this long, epic comment typed out and them by computer decided to screw me over. I’m sorry this will pale in comparison to the greatness it once was

      Not understanding what someone chooses and/or disagreeing with how another chooses to live their life is a far cry from insensitive in my eyes.

      Would you call a woman who dresses like a boy a cross dresser? If she acted like a boy, would you say she was ‘living like a boy.’? Maybe we would comfortably call that being a Tom boy. It’s perfectly acceptable in our society.

      But wearing heels? dresses? makeup? These are girly things. Girly things are bad.

      When we were children, boys taught and insult each other by saying another is girly

      “you throw like a girl.”
      “Don’t be a pussy.”

      For a woman to be like a man is acceptable because being a man has always been acceptable. For a man to be like a woman, is for him to degrade himself. He becomes “less manly” when he acts as a traditional girl would. I would argue that any discomfort felt towards a man who cross dresses has to do with such action being outside the gender norms of our society.

      As for whether or not he was born with that interest, I say maybe. Was I born to be a nerd? My dad was a nerd – a treky – who had few friends throughout grade school. Did that genetically predisposition me for nerdy tendencies. I once watched a show about a study they did with identical twins. These particular twins were given up for adoption, adopted by different families and raised in completely different areas of the country. Most of them had careers in similar or same field as the other. These are identical twins that never met, and yet they are both firemen, or both nurses. Maybe there is something that genetically set our interests. Certainly environment assist in some way too. All I’m saying is that it doesn’t sound impossible that some men may be born “cross dressers”

      I really hate the term cross dresser. To me, a man dressing as a woman should be no different then a woman dressing as a man. I can only hope.

      Lastly, to your point about how men used to be all about fashion. This is true. I wish I could find this article I read on that very subject last month. Some of our founding fathers had very high maintenance morning routines. The change has to do with the industrial revolution and the concept of business attire. There was something about looking the same that became important. I don’t really remember. What’s important is that business was, in the beginning, something women were separate from. So women stayed in fashion and men wore what was acceptable to wear to work. Eventually, these became the gender norm of society.

      Dear Lord, I think I wrote a whole other blog post. Sorry…..

      1. I hate when computers do that….mine does it all the time…

        Perhaps the term “cross dresser” isn’t the best term, I was trying to distinguish a particular behavior as opposed to someone who is transgendered; I.e. there are a lot of people in my neighborhood who are transgendered and not all “cross dressers” are transgendered….does that make sense?

        At any rate….for me, I don’t really find much definition in my identity in the clothes I wear, I’d be happy living in costa rica and wearing nothing more than shorts and sandals the rest of my life…….so i just have a hard time relating to a non-transgendered person who says they ‘need’ to wear western-culture-women’s-clothing……I’m not saying they “shouldn’t” wear high heels, or whatever…..I simply can’t relate to it….and for me that’s a big thing to admit because I spend my whole life trying to relate to others and being empathetic….

        As to women wearing “men’s” clothing….it doesn’t bother me at all and actually; I can relate to it…because a lot of women’s clothing is uncomfortable and men’s clothing is usually more practical and comfortable; I think it’s only natural that more and more women (not just gay women) began wearing whats considered “men’s” clothing; because of practicality and comfortability………

        Take thongs for instance; why do men not wear em….(put aside the fact that they are generally viewed as being for women) because they aren’t the most comfortable underwear to wear (although I’ve never tried me on, I’m just assuming it isn’t that comfortable to have something up my crack all day lol) ….and notice how many women now-a-days are switching to “boy shorts” cause they are comfortable…….

        Perhaps it seems silly that I even think about all this, but I dunno….i feel like a lot of things that people do are less about who they are as a person….but rather they just want to do something that is taboo……..take for instance the recent obsession by young heterosexual men with anal sex (I so hope I dont piss u off by bringing up such a wacko subject as anal sex) ….now i wonder; why are guys SO into anal sex, when they can put it in the vagina which is a lot easier for the woman cuz she doesn’t have to do a bunch of stuff in preparation if ya know what I mean…..but study after study that comes out lately says that anal sex is one of the number one things that young heterosexual men are into…….so are they “wired” or “genetically predisposed” to want it? I don’t think so….I think they merely want to do something that is taboo…….And note, I’m not condemning anyone who is into it…I don’t even think there is anything wrong if people like it…..I’m just saying that when I was in college the psychology world wanted to say that EVErYThiNg is genetics,….and well, I think “some” things are genetic…and other things are simply nurture/cultural

        Sorry for the long comment

  5. It is my understanding that cross dressing and being transgendered are two different things. A cross dresser is a man who dresses as a woman, sometimes also called drag queens. I don’t believe this actions has to be connected to a specific sexuality. It is simply the lable we give to the act of a man dressing as a woman.

    To be transgendered is to wish to be a gender other than the gender you were born as. Some claim these are people with female brains and male bodies (or vice versa). Regardless, it is their wish to live as the other gender and many undergo treatment to change into the other gender.

    Two very different things. One has to do with the shame of dressing as a woman (I say that because I rarely hear the word cross dresser used in a positive light. Drag queen used to be the same way, but any more I see it being used as a positive term) and the other has to do with a person’s gender identity.

    Men’s clothing is the reason I can’t look cute in the summer. I’d sure love to wear a summer dress to work, but the men and their suits keep the temperature so low inside. That isn’t to condemn men in any way. I just imagine that wearing a suit in the middle of summer isn’t very comfortable. I think you should all try on summer dresses. Call them kilts if that makes it easier ^_^

    Thongs are annoying as shit. You need to find a special (usually expensive) kind for them to be anything other than uncomfortable. But we won’t want to have any lines showing on our otherwise flawless dress, do we? I actually had a friend in high school go to a homecoming dancing with nothing on under her dress. Even the thong showed lines, and it wasn’t the kind of dress you could wear a bra with. There are just so many things to consider!

    Lastly, HOW DARE YOU BRING UP SEX ON THIS VIRGIN BLOG OF MINE!
    No, I’m kidding (actually, I’m laughing). I think there are a lot of things in life that are more appealing because they are taboo. Can you imagine a world where it’s perfectly acceptable to say fuck? The horror! We’d have to find a whole new word taboo to enjoy. When it comes specifically to anal sex, well… let’s just say that could also be it’s own blog post. Have you seen The Loophole by Garfunkel and Oates? I wonder if anal sex is a thing because of a taboo nature or if it’s a thing because many girls consider their virginity in tact so long as there is no vaginal penetration. Take 5 minutes of your life and watch that video. It’s hilarious, but it’s also painfully true. I went to Catholic School… I know.

    Watch –> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j8ZF_R_j0OY

    1. I’ve actually seen the video before….lol it IS funny…I got into the two of them a while back (even bought a cd of theirs) when one of them used to be on a tv show I used to watch…..

      Wearing a suit in the summer DOES suck….I’ve had to do it a lot in the past and hated it…..I was miserable….and that’s part of the reason I’m fed up with the dumb clothes “rules” we have in society…..

      I’ve never understood the “lines showing” thing….who came up with that as being a “bad” fashion thing? Now, admittedly I’m like the average heterosexual male and usually find thongs to be hot; BUT I’m realistic, why do women keep wearing them….just wear boy shorts (which can also be sexy) and be done with uncomfortable clothing is my mantra…….

      You may be on to something with men wearing something completely different like (gulp) dresses in the summer…..hell, middle eastern countries have men wearing robes (and women) for this very reason that your pointing out; being comfortable in the heat……..too much of our western views of clothing is connected to our damn conservative puritanical roots and I just feel its time our culture reevaluates issues like this……..for instance; why does western society sexualize bathrooms by making them gender based? Ha ha a whole different issue, sorry.

      Peace 🙂

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