This blog post is a recipe dear to my heart. One I’ve never shared before, and one that is most definately needs to be shared. My need to write this post has nothing to do with my kitchen, or my quest to eat healthier and shed pounds. It does, however have EVERYTHING to do with shedding the weight that other people quite often place on you (sometimes, hopefully, without ever realizing it, but often unfortunately, quite purposefully). So please bear with me as I take our blog on a quick left turn. I promise I will return to the regularly scheduled programming in the very next post ok??
This post began when I took the time to read a freshly pressed blog Straight Men Explain Things to Me. just the other day. I found it struck me deeply. The author takes the time to paint a clear and descriptive picture of his situation, and the situation of many other men who reside in areas like his. I know that the current social climate has been a breeding ground for topics such as “male” priviledge and “white” priviledge and their effects on society. Alan however takes the time to explain how, while male, he does not get to walk the road of “male” priviledge. In his account of how his being gay seems to see society strip him of his masculinity because he does not fit a norm, and how he (and many others) in many ways live in fear of their future at every moment, as without adequate legislation much of what they have (jobs, security even families) can be taken, destroyed, without a moments thought.
I chose to embed a link to his blog above, so that you may read it if you wish. It paints a tale of angst, of being second class, of not feeling like enough. I found it thought provoking, and not necessarily only tied to the gay narritive as so many people would like to make believe it is. Why do I say that? Because I have had the priviledge of HAVING white priviledge, and MALE priviledge. I have passed as straight for many years (even believed I WAS straight for many of them). I have visited places where men Who I would now claim brotherhood with feel repressed and unsafe, and had to check my behaviour so as not to attract attention to myself, and conversely, I have had the priviledge of living in a country where my sexual orientation hinders me very little, my personal freedoms are enshrined in law, and remarkably few people take issue with who I am.
While I have had many varied experiences, through every period of my life, I have found reasons to feel as Alan does. Growing up in my family, heavily involved in church as I was, I always felt an outsider. I was always looking over my shoulder, having to prove myself, prove my worthiness, never feeling like I had value. This was my experience of religion, EVEN BEFORE I knew I was gay, so you can imagine how I feel about religion now (but that`s a whole other blog post). In school, I was never the athletic one, always the geeky nerdy one. Never “popular with the ladies”, (except as a friend), or “one of the guys.” I was always overlooked in some respect, and most often bullied. Even in college things did not improve that much. I was never cool, and expect that I never will be. (I’m still dreaming of the day when I will make my fortune and watch others pretend I’m cool just to see what it feels like).
I have spent much of my life being uncomfortable in my own skin. But I now have what I would probably call “GAY” priviledge. I have the ability (since I live in Canada) to, how shall we say it politely. “Not give a F*&$!” (Oh how I love that sound of music meme “look at all the F#%*s I give!”). To me that is the best priviledge I could ever be granted. Many people had to fight, and lobby and push and force the issue so that I can have that right. I cannot thank them enough. But my gratitude is not the only price I’m required to pay for my new found freedom to feel like my true self. The biggest and most important price? Remembering where I came from, how I was made to feel, and what my past was like, so that I can make conscious choices NOT to do the same to others….
My recipe for tolerance, in a wierd ironic twist, goes back to my religious upbringing….. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” and THAT my friends, is poetic justic don’t you think???