Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Thoughts still in the closet

Today in a Philosophy class, a fellow classmate aiming to expand on his understanding of determinism with regards to outside influences, stated that the homosexual lifestyle is now glorified on national television, sold as the new trend of coolness, and that as a result people who are perhaps more easily influenced would be more inclined to become homosexual despite not being so predisposed in any other regard. Let us not dwell for too long on the shaky logic of his proposition, for if this were the case the same would hold true for the LGBT community who have been for most, if not all of their lives subject to countless images  and teachings not only supporting but promoting a heterosexual lifestyle. This is the first time in my life I have heard anyone say that television influences sexuality. I don't think television influences one's sexuality but it may however, influence the way in which we view and understand sexuality which is why it is so important for the LGBT community to be represented in the media. Unfortunately, for the most part the representation of our community has consisted of a certain stereotype most of us have a hard time relating to, much less admiring. Nonetheless, I find their presence in the media to be anything but threatening to the safety of the heterosexual drive.

Following his original comment he proceeded to close with a kind of gay friendly disclosure, the typical backhanded remark that says "even though they should remain in the closet, I have no problem with gay people" Of course, he left the closet part out, but it seemed to be implied by the manner in which he spoke. It is no longer politically correct to dismiss or verbally disrespect the LGBT community in classroom discussions, and out of habit I am compelled to say "Thank God" but I will not say that, I will say thank activists, pioneers, brave, and open minded people, and anyone who has had the courage to live their lives in the open, thank them. Yet I can not help but wonder if this expectation of political correctness is always and in every case a good thing. Part of me wishes my classmate could have articulated in an intelligent manner how he truly felt about us. I do not want heterosexual people to be silenced with shame, and hatred, I know too well how that feels. What I want from them is the respect that leads to an honest discussion. If your education, your family, your religion, or even your intuition has in any way made you biased against the LGBT community, I invite you to also be brave enough to express your thoughts. We cannot coexist in silence, for silence has a very dangerous distorting quality where thoughts can often appear to us in the form of hatred, prejudice and resentment. It is my conviction that only through a respectful commitment to self-expression, we can aim to break down the barriers that keep us divided. Silence is certainly a huge and dangerous barrier, let us not be afraid to share our thoughts, they are so much clearer when spoken.