We are different.
Simple, but clear. Sometimes people complicate things unnecessarily. I am guilty of it and I am sure if you are honest you know that from time to time you make the same mistake. Too often our intent is lost, and instead, we judge one another on our perception of someone else’s meaning. This leads to confusion and misunderstandings. Which, as I have previously discussed in past articles, leads to fear and then dumps us at the doorstep of hate.
Life as a member of the LGBT+ community is different. As I have come to learn to be different isn’t always a bad thing. Sure we are persecuted because we love the same sex, identify differently than our biological gender, or even just refuse to be confined to loving someone because of their physical characteristics. And yes, hundreds of thousands of the LGBT+ community have died at the hands of what was formerly known as GRID (Gay-Related Immune Deficiency), today we call it AIDS, just because our nation was too homophobic to accept that this disease threatens all Americans. But all told, there are some positives to being different.
Nearly 25,000 children in the foster care system have a home today because of LGB parents. Straight women are more likely to trust gay men when it relates to their appearance and dating advice than other straight men or women (sorry guys). Generally speaking, if you don’t like sympathy, the LGBT+ community is the place to be. Rarely will you find us expressing deep sorrow for someone based on their unfortunate life events. In fact, lesbians and gays are the least sympathetic demographic group toward a member of their own community, bisexuals.
For when we succumb to fear we are helpless, but when we harness it, we are unstoppable.
While you may not catch our community outwardly expressing sympathy, it doesn’t mean we don’t care. I would contend that the LGBT+ community is the most capable of experiencing empathy. Notice that I said empathy. As opposed to merely feeling sorry for someone else we appear more likely to imagine ourselves in their situation and experience the emotions that come with it. This gives us the unique opportunity to provide insightful advice as opposed to simple grief. This can lead to strong emotions, and while you might not get us to admit it, we experience turbocharged feelings.
For years, I have experienced the most gut-wrenching and heart-pounding emotions. Although, if you ask my friends and family they might say otherwise. Colleagues have frequently described me as stoic and occasionally cold. Be that as it may, those I am closest to, probably a total of two to three people, would tell you that I experience strong emotions.
When the first person I ever truly fell in love with and got engaged to refused to fight for our relationship I developed separation anxiety issues and signs of obsessive personality (not the same as OCD). Nearly a year later when he took his life, I blamed myself.
Sure these are things that anyone can experience, but most people show clear signs that they are facing these emotions. I tend to keep mine down inside.
“Hate builds in the gut and scales to the top of your chest. It feels hot on the face before rushing to every part of your body.” I wrote that in January. It is similar to how I experience anger. However, for me, anger stops in the throat. It constricts my airways and forces me to either bite my tongue and say nothing or spit shrewd comments that nip at people’s personalities.
I hid for years. I hid from my friends, my family, and from myself. I allowed fear to govern my behavior every day and, as much as I despise admitting it, I still submit to fear frequently.
But fear, like differences, isn’t all bad. It can be powerful and practical. For when we succumb to fear we are helpless, but when we harness it, we are unstoppable. Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” I would add that we must fear hate. If we tremble at the temple of hate, we can learn to fight back against fear.
Yes, we are different. I am different. The LGBT+ community lives in the deep darkness of emotional uncertainty. Like all darkness, there is nothing to fear for the darkness is not bad. It is quiet. It is calm. And, if we are not careful it can consume us, but we don’t need the light to see multiple paths. We just need faith to find the right path. From faith comes hope for a better tomorrow. A tomorrow where humanity can appreciate differences and celebrate our common longing, love.
Just this past week I caught one of my YouTube fans in a pissing match with someone wielding a ‘shotgun bible.’ I was disturbed to see two groups, both rooted in love, fighting over love because of fear and because of differences. I decided to speak up and said:
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs,” 1 Corinthians 13:4-5.
We, the lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgenders, pansexuals, queers, and questioning individuals are a community fighting for love. Let us demand it and let us show it unconditionally. For we are the 3% of the population who asks for but one thing: to love and to be loved free from fear.