I am guilty of it.
You are too.
The values module has really had me thinking about bias, more importantly the unconscious bias which we all hold to some degree. I never considered myself a homophobe, especially considering the fact that I am gay. However, my way of thinking has since been challenged. This video shown in one of our earlier inputs highlights the point of ingrained homophobia in us all.
The particular part of the video where Panti Noble discusses how society causes us all to be unconsciously homophobic in our thoughts or actions has allowed me to realise how this applies to my own life. We are all guilty of it. I can easily recall a time where I have looked at someone who I would assume to be a stereotypical gay or lesbian and automatically categorise them as that. Think about the last time you saw a flamboyant man and thought “he’s so gay!” It’s hard not to, right? It is deeply ingrained into us all. As much as I know that this is wrong, I still struggle to break out of this way of thinking. Every day I try and stop myself thinking in this old-fashioned mindset. The mindset that would have me think “she is too pretty to be a lesbian” or simply pointing out the sexuality of someone as if it is an important aspect of who they are.
My fellow education student, Blaze, captures it perfectly in her blog post. Highlighting the absolute absurdness of people having to “come out”. When was the last time a straight person had to announce to every important person in their lives that they are attracted to the opposite sex? Or when was the last time a heterosexual person could feel their heart pounding out of their chest at the thought of slipping into conversation that they are straight? Though I understand the argument that heterosexuality is the norm and that everyone is assumed to be straight and therefore there is no need to come out, I don’t think this means it is right. I believe we need to stop assuming the sexuality of our children. Why are we making people announce their sexual preference?
I am envious; I am frustrated; I am gay.
Every single time I meet a new person, I have to think to myself, “how will I tell them? When will I come out?” as though I have some big dirty secret. Like I’m about to announce I’ve murdered someone or that I am, god forbid, a vegan. My straight friends simply cannot relate to that. They have never felt the fear of being rejected for who they love. They never have to consider if they are going to be safe when they go to a foreign country, or if they are even going to be illegal there. Imagine that, being illegal. They didn’t have to be reminded in school that they were sinning and reminded of very selective parts of the bible. I cannot wait for the day I don’t feel that way or I don’t have to fear being judged for something that is ultimately a small part of who I am as a person. I am so much more than my sexuality.
I do recognise that as a LGBT+ person, my experience of “coming out” could have been much harder and much worse, I am very fortunate in that sense. People often ask me when I came out but the reality is that I have to come out every day. You are never really “out”. There is always a new person you need to break the news to, whether that be friends, family or colleagues.
Once again, I am lucky. I have never received any homophobia in a physical sense. I can cope with a confused or judgemental stare from a stranger when I hold my girlfriend’s hand in public. However, the homophobia that hurts me most is the remarks or questions that people don’t even perceive to be homophobic. “You don’t look like a lesbian, you look normal!” I am not sure what a lesbian is supposed to look like – I did not receive the official uniform when I joined the club unfortunately. I am baffled by statements like that, do people not think about how bizarre these things sound?
I feel like we still have a long way to come but once we can start to acknowledge our prejudices and where our unconscious bias lies, we can begin to move past this as a society.