Reality is 90% subjective. It is interpreted by individuals through a variety of sources. While we think we understand the struggle of others, we never really do. We are only capable of understanding what they share with us and what they are open about.
In order to try to make the process of understanding people easier, we tend to put people into groups and categories. People like to “belong” to something, to be part of a group or a movement or a tribe. And so we come to think of individuals as black or white, gay or straight, Democrat or Republican, spiritual or scientific. We designate people as being part of oppressed groups or part of groups that aren’t oppressed, as minority groups or majority groups, and we believe that, based on our own view of things, certain groups need more attention and support than others. Sometimes we come to believe some groups are the enemy and some groups are our allies.
When we come to define people as members of groups, or subsets of humanity, we take away their individuality. We may be pushing for “equal rights” for a group of people without considering that not every “member” of that group feels, or acts, or thinks the same way as every other “member” of that group. Whether we choose to group those folks together, or they choose to define them as belonging to a group, we forget they are individuals. We take that away from them, and sometimes they are complicit and sometimes they are not.
We gather here on this website because we seek support, encouragement, friendship, and to share experiences with others who identify as part of the CD/TG spectrum. And yet we are not simply CD/TG persons here. We are all individuals who have different lifestyles, different types of relationships, different careers, different motivations, and widely varied political and spiritual beliefs. Do any of us here want to place ourselves into a box marked “CD/TG” and be judged on the merits of that, for good or for evil?
Most of us just want to be treated the same as anyone else, to not be singled out for ridicule or abuse simply because we embrace this part of ourselves. Most of us don’t want some noble minded group going out and telling others what we want or telling us how we need to go about getting treated fairly. And we don’t want anyone looking at us as a group and then judging us on the behavior of a select few who make headlines or do outrageous things.
We are human beings. The world is made up of a broad spectrum of human beings with varied experiences, cultures, interests, so on and so forth. No individual is the same, but some have things in common they identify with others because of. It doesn’t make them the same.
There is a lot of rage in the world. Much of this rage comes from the feeling that your group is being belittled or mistreated by other groups. That rage leads to members of that oppressed group lurching back to attack the group or groups they feel are oppressing them. Words like “homophobe” and “white privilege” and “cis” are thrown around like grenades in an effort, conscious or unconscious, to “hit back.”
We are all responsible for tragedies like the one over this past weekend in Orlando. We are responsible for it with our hatred, our rhetoric, our personal attacks on groups (and individuals as perceived flag bearers for those groups), and our unquenchable desire for vengeance against those we feel have done us wrong.
When you attack a person for what they have said, or what they believe in, or think, you drive them into a foxhole. They look for support and acceptance anywhere they can find it. Often they find that support and acceptance in the arms of groups who take hatred to the next level.
Love one another. Be kind to one another. We are all individuals trying to find our way in this world, to make the best out of our existence. Judge not, lest ye be judged. Being hated does not give one an excuse to hate in return. Love your enemies.
And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.