Recently, during a chat with a friend, the topic of conversation shifted to some of my gay friends showing interest in me knowing that I am straight. It’s not a major issue with me. In fact, it is rather flattering, ainnit? Or, perhaps, that’s just me. I see no difference in a man being interested in me and a woman, who I mightn’t find attractive (that’s to say not attractive to me as opposed to being blatantly ugly), being interested in me.
My friend, who is himself gay, stated that I probably have as many propositions because, in his words, I treat them all like normal people.
I found that comment interesting, but, upon further thought and subsequent discussions with other mates, I realise that it’s actually scarily a very valid point in human society.
I do treat everyone on a relatively equal level. Generally, the only people I look down upon are the stupid ones. And that particular trait can be found in anybody, irrespective of gender, age, sexual preference, cultural upbringing, religious convictions, educational level, career pursuits, or any of the many other differences that humans have chosen to isolate and use as a basis of prejudice and alienation. Many of those that do have some sort of meaningless auto prejudice, incidentally, can quite comfortably fall into the stupid people category and earn no respect from me anyway.
This is not to say I do not have certain ingrained prejudices against groups. One of my biggest biases have been against the human species as a whole, because, understandably, as a species, we are the most superficial, self-absorbed, idiotic beings on this planet. And quite possibly this side of the galaxy. But I could stand corrected on the latter.
(As an aside, this is a direct prejudice against the species with regard to their actions as a whole and has little to do with my views on how “enlightened” they may be. That said to clarify that although I will continually contradict myself as my knowledge and views change, I don’t think that, in this case, I am. See Enlighten Me.)
However, I’ve met and befriended many individuals that are, in their own right, amazing people. Intelligent people who have their own personality and mind which, in defiance of common society, they tend to actually use.
The question then raised is why do I do this and not the majority. It seems perfectly obvious to treat individuals as just that. Especially since that’s the mantra of this era. “I am my own person. Individual and unique.” cry the people who then join the groups that are as uniquely individual as they are.
Human people, for the most part, do need a sense of belonging. They wish to be part of the family, the societal groups, the clubs. But within those groups, they do not want to be stifled. That’s great. The issue is that those same individuals that demand their freedom to be themselves rebuke those not like them. Maybe, it’s a vengeance thing. I don’t know.
It’s obviously widespread enough that somebody treating another different to them as an equal warrants attention.
I have told many about a story that I read when I was, I dunno, between 5 and 8 years-old about a lop called Leo. Leo was different from his peers in that he had droopy ears while everyone else had straight ears that pointed to the sky. Think rabbits. Which is quite possibly what a lop is because that’s what the drawings of them looked like.
Being shunned by his peers, he attempted to straighten his ears only to have a wise possum tell him that he was normal with the floppy ones. Oh crap, thought everyone else, if he’s normal, that means we’re the problem. And so they all started floppirising their ears. Once again the possum popped up (or down rather, since he was hanging from a tree) and said, “Hang on, you all were normal. What are you doing?” Naturally, this confused everybody, until our wise possum explained that “normal is whatever you are.”
I hold to that. Just being female does not automatically imply physical weakness, for example. Being a gay male doesn’t automatically mean feather boas and musicals. Being a straight male doesn’t mean boas and musicals are all the rage.
Everybody is different. And, yes, we all exhibit certain common traits, desires, and interests that help us form social groups and, indeed, allow us to relate to each other. But that all needs to be discovered on an individual basis. Just because somebody is 48 years older than me does not mean I cannot relate to her. It doesn’t mean I can either. I’ve just got to make the effort and find out for myself.
Everyone is different, everyone is the same, everybody is normal.