Do things really get better or do they just change? That is the question I have been asking myself lately. For some of us things didn’t really get better as much as things just change.
As I read stories of individuals that were bullied when they were younger, I can relate, as I was bullied as well when I was younger. I was bullied because I was smart, quiet and a good kid. It wasn’t till high school the teasing for being gay came about. I can remember going through my youth with very few, if any friends.
I couldn’t wait to leave for college and re-invent myself. Well I left and began that re-invention of who I was but it wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. Because it was at this time I started to realize that I was gay. So instead of re-inventing myself I spent years fighting who I was.
When I finally accepted that I was gay I was so excited to embrace this next phase of my life. Finally my life would change for the better. Well it only changed and not necessarily for the better. It didn’t get worse, but for me it felt like high school all over again and that was a time of my life I did not enjoy.
You see as much as a community we want to rally against bullying we don’t see what is happening within our own community. We have traded one set of bullies for another, those bullies being us. Now some of you reading this may think I’m being a little harsh with that statement. However, if you stop and think about it, you will begin to see what I mean.
Yes society in general is broken into subsets, each one of those having their own characteristics which brings these subsets together. And yes not all of these subsets interact or even know about the others. However the gay community is a lot smaller than the larger society so our subsets are much more aware of one another and do interact frequently because of limited areas for socialization, or more recently, our fight for equality.
Yet once you remove that fight for equality, for instance, the bullying between groups becomes apparent. Now this bullying is not the same that some of us experienced when we were younger. The bullying now doesn’t consist of being beaten up, shoved while walking the hallway or even teased as you walk by some one. Now it is more subtle such as not being invited to events, unreturned messages or thinly veiled insults on Facebook.
The bullying that consists in the LGBTQ community is centered on things like body type, status, how much money you have or where you live. Yes a few of those are the same as our youth, yet you would think that since the majority of us were bullied when we were younger we would have grown passed it. Sadly we have not.
I’m not naive enough to believe just because we all happen to be gay that we should all hold hands and sing kum ba yah. Though is it really too much to ask for us to just accept one another for who we are. Isn’t this what we are asking for society as a whole, even though we don’t seem capable of doing it within in our own community?
Yes we all want to surround ourselves with people that we enjoy and I respect that. We shouldn’t though, exclude people from these groups because they don’t fit certain criteria. People should be judged on who they are not what they have or how they look or where they shop. These criteria are childish and should be left behind where they belong, in our past.
The only way, as a community, we are going to obtain equality, is if as a community we treat each other as equals and with the respect that everyone deserves.