I grew up in a very conservative place. I was fed the belief that marriage was between one man and one woman. Specifically, one man and one woman of the same color. However, my views on relationships are pretty different from what I was taught. It's hard to understand why blacks and whites shouldn't get married when you have an understanding that black people are people just like you. They like the same things you like. They want a lot of the same things you want. They believe a lot of the same things you do. But then there's one man and another man, or one woman and another. While understanding black people are people (even if you think marrying them is a sin, or immoral), you grow up learning that gay people are an abomination. Thankfully I wasn't exposed to transgenderism until I was grown, otherwise I would have learned that going into the bathroom you identify with rather than the one you were assigned makes you a pervert deserving of having your knees broken.
Some of you might read this and it will feel so alien to you. Black people are people, as are members of the LGBT community. Some of you reading this may agree with my upbringing more than you do me. And others may read this and feel like it's an all too familiar story. When you grow up thinking something is a sin, or that it's immoral, it can seriously skew how you view yourself and the world around you and you. For some of us, it takes a while to deprogram, even though the world around us tells things are not like what our parents tell us. It also stunts you in a way. I had a hard time speaking to white girls when everybody else was dating, but the people I could talk to the most easily were black girls. I can only imagine how things would have been if I hadn't kept myself closed minded out of a fear of breaking some unwritten rule. Of course, I should like to point out, this was a problem that ran both ways. Even now, in the area where I was raised, people still look scornfully on interracial couples.
Growing up, it's natural for teenagers to explore their sexuality. Sometimes it opens them up, and sometimes they comfortably settle back into what they assumed was the norm before puberty. Or maybe they do it when they're older. As with interracial coupling, this is another curiosity I spent my teenage years, despite my openly pro-gay attitudes, because I thought it was wrong, because God would hate me. But I guess it didn't help that the guys I knew weren't guys I would have been compatible with, even if did decide to be curious or I didn't prefer girls. Still, I was denied that due to societal pressures, not out of my own volition. I can certainly find guys attractive, enough so that I don't don't identify as being straight, despite my preference for women. It's enough to make me wonder about people who think being gay is a choice, whether or not they're more like me.
Some people aren't so lucky as to be bi, or to find both sex's attractive but to have a preference in the opposite direction. Some have strong attractions for the same sex, and thanks to places where I lived, thanks to the conditions I grew up in, they feel they have to hide who they are. They can't be themselves. They couldn't break from the norm growing up even though they really wanted to. They had to live with the terror of having families, friends, and communities that would disown them.
Now, when I say I prefer women, let me be clear: I count transwomen as women. However, as far as my region of birth is concerned, it would be a homosexual relationship, and her knees should be broken for entering the wrong bathroom and being a pervert. For me, that's unbelievably frustrating, but were I trans, that would be unbelievably terrifying. It's hard enough dealing with a world while being an atheist, and being pan, and being conditioned to think everybody's going to hate and fear you for that anyway, but I don't fear people beating me to death. If I identified as female, I would certainly be afraid of that.
When talking about the suicide rates of the LGBT community, a lot of people act like it's something wrong with LGBT people. They never stop to consider that society itself is why things are as they are. Sure, gender dysphoria can cause enough problems by itself, I won't say that it won't, but how does living in a culture full of people who actively treat you like you're a freak help with that? The answer: It hurts more than it helps. And this is true of being LGBT.
Now, I know I wrote quite a bit, but this isn't why I decided to make this journal. Recently, Scarlett Johansson made some statements about not seeing monogamy as natural, and in the comments of Foxnews and Huffington Post, people are scalding her over this. Slut shaming her. I find this so unfortunate because, just like with LGBT people, she is being treated as an immoral person because she doesn't conform to their worldview. Now, I'm not sure if she means that she doesn't think she can be in a relationship long term, or maybe she'd prefer to be in open relationships, or in polyamorous relationships, but the reaction is unfortunate because being in any of those does not make her horrible. Now, you may not like her acting, or her actions, but how you love someone shouldn't be part of the measuring stick that makes you a bad person. At least, not in this sense.
A lot of us are raised to believe that relationships are between two people. Just like how being raised to see interracial marriages, or same sex marriages as immoral can cripple how you see other decent people, so can being raised to see relationships as something that should only be had between two people. Loving two or three people makes you no more a whore than loving one person. Everybody's different, and it's inhumane to hold them to such standards.
It doesn't matter who you love, or how many people you love, but what does matter is how you love, and how you treat others around you. Accepting LGBT people, and polyamorous people, or any people, isn't a matter of being politically correct, but it is a matter of opening your mind. Once you move past seeing that other person as an abomination, you might find that you both love football, whether it's American, Rugby, or Soccer.