Our lives today have never been more influenced by others and outside pressures than it is now. Independent thinking has given way to repetitive reasoning as strongly (or officially) suggested by those in charge, in positions of power, or in their self-prescribed strategic staging to which they state their “so-called” expertise. Is this good? Bad? Expected? Refutable?
I’ll come back to this thought…
I’ve had my own little light show recently on changing perspectives. My adolescence was the 70s, my college life the early 80s—before the internet…(I used to record my favorite songs off the radio on my cassette player.) I just missed the “Hippie Age” but suffered through the disco phase and Hard Rock that one couldn’t dance to at Prom (the boys begging the band to play something slow so we could hold our dates close.)
Is the world more accepting of the LGBTQ community today? I lived through a couple of examples that might surprise some of you…it actually did me as I thought back on them. When I was in college, a local (well-populated by college kids-drinking age was 19) bar held a male beauty pageant. In the Midwest, in Iowa no less. You might guess correctly that it more than piqued my interest—I wasn’t a contestant. I happened to have been married for three years, already put on notice by her after being caught in her prom dress, and her being pregnant with our first child. I was doing all I could to suppress those “fetish” desires of the time to wear nylons and high heels. Those were my “go-to” items of doctor prescribed stress relief…kidding. Not too much, though…
My campus was abuzz with the idea. None of us knew what a male beauty pageant was. We couldn’t google it, and it sure didn’t show up in the reference section of the library. I wanted to go, for many reasons. In hindsight, I understand more about that young adult now than ever before. He fought the feminine presence within, sometimes by being cruel (I let the stress get to me and being of quick tongue I would let a poor waitress or clerk have it…) No excuses and I do my best to make sure that I don’t ever slip into that role again…ever.
I didn’t go…how could I? My ex was not accepting. I pondered all kinds of ways to go by lying and sneaking out. I had some acquaintances who did, and they shared their experiences. There were pictures and a write-up in the local paper and the college paper. The place was packed, curiosity high, and the beer was on special. Twelve to fifteen had entered the pageant. A few presented as caricatures of women—stuffed bra to the fullest and bright red lipstick while wearing a skirt and heels with hairy legs. They got plenty of applause. There were many who went all in, and a few that my friends shyly stated while blushing “they were damn beautiful.”
My heart beat hard at the thought of what I missed. Yeah, probably was a pretty strong sign that I didn’t recognize back then. It came down to the talent portion and one of the contestants juggled flaming batons. They won. Perspective…this is the same group of college kids that beat up my brand new Toyota because it wasn’t made in America. Yet…they (mostly—as some hecklers were rude and escorted out) embraced a difference, a change of perspective.
My senior year of college I took the most wanted class on campus—1984 “Human Relationships and Sexuality.” Again… a huge sign that I indulged but didn’t understand why at the time. I didn’t tell my ex… another sign… I’m attracted to femininity. I didn’t understand that then or even for nearly 40 years, but boy (girl) does it make sense now. I thought you couldn’t be this without being that…you get the idea…society stating my norms for me.
It was an eye-opening experience and one that altered my perception forever on many notions. I was raised chauvinistically by my parents and my brood that I hung with. I was bullied and was a bully at times. Women were objects and to objectified. Lesser humans were to be put down and told their place. I never felt right doing so and cried many times afterward in the silence of my pillow. I didn’t understand the conflict raging inside of me. This class helped me to put that into perspective and move away from it and embrace the beginning of becoming a decent human.
The first session had the class dividing up into mixed groups of 8-10. Our task was to come up with all the slang terminology for a long list of body parts, sexual acts, and various other things. I, for one, found it hard to start because of the girls in our group, not wanting to be leud and offend them. First on the list was male masturbation. One guy made a comment and we all snickered, and then…the girls let us have it. Not in a condescending way but in their total database of terminology that they threw out. Every guy there had his mouth hanging on the floor. It was one of the most memorable experiences of my life. I was but a novice compared to what those girls knew. We (the guys) had no clue as to how and what they knew…perceptions… I learned a lot from them and the class.
The instructor took our lists and then gave a slide show of all the ones collected from his past classes. This was a class in 1984…can you imagine? I never understood how significant it was until seeing all the fighting going on today between all the “GROUPS” with non-socialistic labels. We watched porn movies and the guys cheered when the girls got it on and hid their eyes when it was the guys doing it—though many of us looked to see who might be looking… as the girls whooped and hollered. That’s my point; perspectives were changed by taking that class, and I learned something about myself…maybe I didn’t know it yet, but it was still learned.
The last week was all about the panel of volunteers who talked to the class (all 140 of us.) It included gay, lesbian, bisexuals, and two transexuals—transgender wasn’t used at the time. I was enthralled and fascinated. One of the transexuals was in their early 50s and had just begun to transition, having had breast surgery and some facial operations. She had to wear a wig because of male baldness. Bottom surgery was in her future. She spoke very feminine and then dropped into her male voice. “Wow! Deep base.” The other transexual would have been considered more gender-questioning by today’s standards, as she felt more comfortable living as a woman. I want to stress that there were hoards of questions and not one of them was derogatory. We wanted to understand, to learn, to see their perspective.
I believe that 80% of the population is accepting—even if cautious. The problem has always been, and even more so today, the voices that spew the hate. The proliferation of the internet and social media has made it easier for them to have a platform and to seduce the ill-informed. Politics, covid-19, vaccinations, transgender, religion, you name it, and it is up for debate. No one is ever considered to be a decent human, patriotic, or undecided. The only option is for and against (Good versus Evil.) The bullies push the buttons and control the narrative.
My perspective has changed on how I view myself, really the world in general. I still believe in the decency of most people, but I do feel as if the world is going to clash on human rights issues before the masses finally have enough and reassert control. The “Love One Another” generation of the 1960’s-to early 70’s stalled when technology exploded and I’m beginning to see some parallels that strongly suggest another rights revolution is coming. We’ve seen it start with BLM, Transgender rights (athletes and children also), Me too, and others. I can only hope and pray that when the air clears we have moved forward. These two sites are prime examples of what a better future can be.
Be safe, be well, and may you find your perspective.
Until next time…
**Did you see the old lady or the young lady in the picture?