Jan 29, 2012

[Technicolor Musings] Truly Embracing Diversity

In many campaigns geared towards promoting gay rights and pushing for true equality in the eyes of the law, a common rallying call is the need to embrace diversity - which is pretty much our reminder to the heterosexual world that there's enough room in this world for all walks of life. The term "normal" is often more offensive than intended since it's typically based on what is the statistical majority instead of some true definition of what could be considered typical or a-typical. The universe has so many different permutations and possibilities that to close your mind to any one angle without careful thought is both unfair and unrealistic.

But there are those times that those of us in the LGBT community still have difficulty with the concept. While it's easy for us to charge against the straight community when fighting for our rights, among ourselves we often practice the same type of discrimination that we constantly rally and protest against in terms of the rest of society.

How is it that a group as marginalized as the LGBT community can still turn around at practice the very same acts of hatred and discrimination that we constantly challenge in the courts, through our local politicians and whatever other venues?


Anyone in the queer community knows what I'm talking about. This goes beyond the kind of "requirements" people post on social networking sites geared towards hook-ups and murky IRC chat rooms. This is as based as everyday conversation, the kinds of things you say to one another while people watching at a local mall. The times we laugh or scoff at other members of the community only because they do things differently or dress in a manner you could never manage.

I'm not necessarily saying that everyone needs to go in drag or that we should all pledge alliance to Mariah Carey. We still have room to like different things, have different interests and be passionate about different issues. But what we do need to remember is that we should be the models of tolerance and embracing all that makes the LGBT community a true rainbow of human diversity.

I'm not saying we don't have right and wrong - those kinds of concepts still apply given careful thought into the reasons behind their being positive or negative for the community at large. But I am saying that we should be the ones who keep a more open mind about things and we should be more prepared to accept new ideas, new principles and new ways of living our respective lives. Embracing diversity does not mean that you need to practice all the stuff that other people practice. It just means that you respect their life choices, you let them live their lives as you see fit and you stop talking behind people's backs only because you have a more narrow view of things.

The fight for equality does not begin and end in the halls of congress and such. It begins with each individual and how we all live our lives. If we want to show the world that it's more than just possible to embrace all walks of life, all lifestyles and all gender identities, then it means that we too need to be able to embrace all the diverse walks of life.

You don't have to start dating drag queens now if that's really not your thing. I don't expect that you start speaking only in gay lingo in order to better identify with your peers. I'm not saying that you have to be able to carry the whole "straight-acting" routine and yet also be able to flash a limp wrist like the best of them.

What we need to remember is how important tolerance and acceptance is. It means treating one another like actual people instead of stereotypes, preconceptions and outdated ideas. I say this given how I've come to love drag queens in recent years, how I respect transsexuals who are brave enough to go through gender reassignment surgery and of course because Tobie, Prince and I are exploring an entirely new type of relationship between the three of us because of the love we share for one another.

It's a such a big and crazy world out there. We certainly have enough room for new ideas, new models for living and of course new ways of celebrating love.
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