Today I was once again reminded of the general ignorance among people around me. My office is right next to the break room so I can hear pretty much anything that’s said in there. Today I heard a colleague express such ignorance and unwillingness to even try to think differently that it shocked me to the core. This person is someone whom I generally do respect and whom, in addition, is in a position where they should be a support to everyone who works in our workplace. And yet this person was sitting there talking in a somewhat exasperated, derogatory way about LGBT and Pride-festivals. The quote that shook me the most was this:
“They [the ones participating in Pride-festivals] say they want to be considered normal, but if that’s so, why are they doing things with guys [if they’re guys themselves]?”
That statement was made with the full assumption that hetero is to be considered the only normal, everything else is abnormal. Sadly that seems to be the opinion anti- (or even just neutral-) LGBT people likes to nurture the most. In that instance I really wanted to just shoot out of my office chair, run out and blatantly ask that person if their head was screwed on right. But I lost my chance, being stuck doing some actual work. Either way, it got me thinking. Why is it that hetero is “normal” to the point that no one even questions the assumption that that is to be the norm?
Looking at mythology and history, they’re riddled with stories about same sex relationships. Alexander the Great was reported to have male lovers; Achilles had his Patroclus, not to mention the whole tradition of Japanese Shudo. The last one is, by the way, believed to have been inspired by homosexuality in ancient China, where it was, according to Wikipedia (and hopefully other, more reliable sources) fairly common until the mid-1800s when Western culture began to change the mindsets.
Anyway, what do the examples above have in common? All of them were pre-Christianity and pre-Islamic. And the conclusion then is? Yeah, that’s right. Heterosexuality as “normal” is something we have been brainwashed to believe because of organized religion.
I live in a country where religion typically doesn’t have a particularly strong hold any longer. And yet, outdated, bigoted Christian beliefs and doctrines are still very much alive and kicking up trouble. Those doctrines and whatnot were “penned” down during a period of time where procreation was more or less a matter of sheer survival. We don’t have that problem any longer, one could even argue it’s quite the opposite today, really. And yet those old misconceptions still linger on, causing lots of heart ache, persecution, pain and sheer misunderstandings to a lot of people. It truly saddens me. And, to be honest, I doubt I’ll ever be able to see my colleague the same way from now on, knowing that they, too, are victims of age-old bigotry that serves no practical purpose in today’s society.