I’ve decided to list something I’m thankful for each day in November. I figured that – for a few of these – I’d need to explain using more than 140 characters. That brings me to today – Day 3:
I’m thankful for being gay. It has made me a stronger man, more capable of handling life’s challenges…and ignorant people.
I read an article earlier today – just before the first time I wrote this blog entry (it got erased) – about a survey that asked gay people what they think their life would look like without homophobia in the world. Most of the answers were obvious, but one was not. It’s something I think I’ve mentioned before: I would be weaker, because handling homophobic people has strengthened me and shaped who I am today.
Growing up, people try to tell us what’s “normal.” It’s not usually until adulthood that we realize what sort of people most frequently use the word “normal.” Scared people. People who need to label everything in an effort to feel safer. People who need an excuse to maintain their unwillingness to explore the unknown.
Some people would probably still say they hope for some sort of “straight pill” that would “fix” gay people. But we aren’t the ones who are broken. In fact, if you talk to a gay man who is finally comfortable with who he is, you’ll likely hear happiness in his voice. But try to talk to a homophobic person and you’ll hear fear and hatred. That’s what amazes me. If we just put our “thinking caps” on for a half-second, we’d see the truth: Homophobic people turn their fear into hatred because of pride and ignorance. People should have the courage to stand up for what’s right and the courage to sit down when they realize they’re wrong.
So no – I don’t want to be straight. I’m thankful for being gay. But simply being gay isn’t what has made me stronger. It’s being gay in this society. And while I’m not thankful for homophobia, I realize that the same group of small-minded and scared people who hate gays right now will just move on to another group they don’t understand in 30 years. And I’m thankful that the people like me, at the forefront of their attacks, can turn that fear and negativity into something productive. And maybe one day, I can help pass out the “acceptance” pills…