yeah yeah, i accept you, just stop talking about it: why we still need to talk about sexuality/gender

god, it’s awfully hard to write about (my) sexuality. the conversation is very complex these days. much more so than back in the day when you were either heterosexual or heterosexual- shakes head– or a closeted gay. now people are coming out of all sorts of closets, and, though the national conversation says that it’s inclusive, is it?

i read last week that ellen page comes out as gay. she gives a speech, appears on the ellen degeneres show. she says she is the most nervous she’s ever been, but that the relief and connection she feels is great. in the comment’s section of numerous websites where the story was repeatedly aired, however, there were hoards of chiding comments, many with this ethos- we’re tired of the gay conversation! we don’t care what you are, but we just don’t want you to keep ramming it down our throats! the chiders continue, yes, we’re inclusive, we just don’t want to hear about it anymore! likewise, this morning i see a video of a queer person on upworthy giving a poetry slam about being in their body, how boobs identify per, how they wish there was space for them to be who they are, etc. yes, there has been a lot of this kind of same slam poetry going on for a while now, but is the message any less important? again, i go to the comment’s section of the upworthy page & the majority are bashing this person for speaking out. again, the same mantra from the majority of commenters- haven’t we heard enough already? okay, you’re not heterosexual and your gender isn’t cut and dry, we accept you- we just don’t want to hear about it anymore! you don’t see me screaming about being straight, do you?

no, i don’t. mainly because you don’t have to. your sexual preference is the norm, which means it is already accepted. it is. it exists and it is not disputed. i remember a few years back when i was living on a mountain with an old hippy dude, who was really awesome and open-minded in a lot of his philosophies. however, when the subject of a gay pride parade came up one day on the radio, he had some commentary on it: i wish they would just stop parading around! you don’t see straight people parading around, do you? why do they feel the need to go scream it from the rooftops?

perhaps people who aren’t in the non-boxed-in-minority cannot understand. people who haven’t had a voice before can’t just remain silent and expect to be seen & accepted. in order for new ideas to reach the cultural consciousness, people have to talk about them. even have a parade around them. it’s how things get accepted. as a child i didn’t understand why black people had black pride events and groups. now i do (at least i understand how it makes sense to me). people groups who have been subjugated, enslaved, oppressed, violated, etc, need time and space to gain their respect and support one another. this isn’t necessarily exclusive (though sometimes it can be); it is more about gaining a strong sense of identity and support for that growth.

so when people say, no- i accept you, let’s just not talk about it anymore, i have to question if the subject has really been accepted. is the pain of hearing about other people’s individual and unique expressions too painful for the mainstream heteronomy to hear? is it so troubling to hear the dialogue and voice of people who for a long time have not had space & the courage to speak? i reckon that we need more conversations about this. the fact that it is on upworthy in a slam poetry format says something. the conversation is still happening on an in your face powerful, catchy-tone. to me this points to the fact that it isn’t accepted. if it was accepted fully, people may not have any energy to keep breaking through all of the barriers of the culture. the slam poetry is a response to the boxes still existing in our culture – it takes powerful words said with force to get through strong and entrenched paradigms.

yesterday, i wrote a piece declaring that i am going to come out of many of the boxes i sometimes i feel i am in in my life. like the boxes of sexuality, gender, religion, spirituality, government, etc. people who live in the boxes may not realize that there is anything to come out of, which is why dialogue about these things is so important. yet, when the dominant cultural forces repeat, yeah, yeah, we heard it before! we get it! puhlease stop sharing yourself with us! it doesn’t create a safe atmosphere for people. why do they have the charge to continue saying, effectively, shut up! ?

when i sat down to write today, i realized that sharing about my sexuality; sharing my thoughts on gender or any other controversial, ever-changing, charged topic is a very scary thing to do. people act differently on the internet than they do in person — or perhaps people just share more of their true thoughts/feelings than they would ever dare do to someone’s face. i’ve heard recently of many many stories of women receiving rape threats when they share their personal stories. one woman even received a host of rape threats after it was announced that she had a part in campaigning to get jane austen on the £10 note in england. this is not okay! the fact that many women, through sharing their voices or passions/pursuits, are threatened with sexual abuse & violence! no one has the right to threaten anyone with rape, ever!

it is not okay that people are still threatened today for being who they are. there is still a huge culture of non-acceptance trolling around, putting their shut-down opinions all over the internet and voicing/acting on their feelings in real life. this makes me hesitant in sharing my feelings and self. the truth is that we need SPACE for people who are “different than us” in our culture. sexually and otherwise. i’m not talking about condoning harmful behavior, but just because someone looks, acts, talks differently than something you have seen before doesn’t mean that they’re harmful.

the dialogue about sexuality & gender expression must continue until there is enough space carved out for people to be whoever they are when they wanna be it. enough of the, i accept you, just please stop talking about it! in many native american traditions in north america, the tribes recognized a third gender, often referred to as two-spirit persons. these people didn’t have to do slam poetry all over the place because they had an accepted role in the culture. i reckon we need such a space for inclusivity within our own cultural mind-set. otherwise people are going to keep doing the new pc form of silencing: yes, we accept you, just stop talking about it already! maybe if the mainstream gave space for people to talk about it without bashing them, the need to make it a huge and charged conversation would dampen. you know the old saying, whatever you resist persists. and as for me sharing tidbits about my own sexuality, for now, that will have to happen at another time, once i’m more at peace about revealing parts of myself on the internet.

Edit: Okay, I did write about my sexual-coming-out-of-the-box later that day and it actually felt really really good. i felt my heart open (i first wrote hopen– haha) and felt an inner hug in the sharing.

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