June 23, 2011

A side benefit of being gay?

When you're gay, you're born into a society of aliens. Chances are, your parents and siblings aren't gay, their friends aren't gay, and at school, the teachers aren't gay (or aren't saying). And lord knows, at church no one is gay. (Ha!)

As a result, you're forced to invent yourself from whole cloth. You have no role models at first, so you develop survival tactics on an ad hoc basis -- whatever gets you through the night (and day). I think the most important survival tactic for a young gay or transgender person is not caring what others think. And I believe this mental attitude is healthy and useful for all people, not just GLBTs.

What brings this to mind is that I encounter so many people who are paralyzed by fears about how others see them. They literally hunger for other people's approval and think about it all the time. Now, surely many GLBT people are like this, too. But I'll bet there's a higher affliction rate among straight people because they weren't forced as youngsters to ignore the bigoted opinions of others. They don't know how to do the secret, magic trick that makes you not care.

I don't care what people think of me. This seems both rational and comfortable to me. It's my life, not someone else's. What people think of me is irrelevant. I expect many gay people would echo this sentiment (and quite a few straight people, too, of course.) I'll say it again: not caring about how you look to others is a positive behavior (unless you're a sociopath, but that's another story entirely).

It's a crazy disease, this concern over how others see us. What others think of you literally has no effect on your life -- unless they think you're Frankenstein and are coming down the street for you with torches in their hands.

Do you care what other people think of you? Now, I'm not talking about friends and family, just people in general. I think most of us rightly care about what our circle of family and friends think of us. The question is: do you care what generic people out there think of you?


Artichoke Annie said...

"Do you care what other people think of you?"

What do you think? LOL

writenow said...

Just trying to bring out a lurker or two. My usual fare doesn't seem to have driven them from the shadows.