Acceptance may be part of the contemporary discourse but the LGBT people have a way to go before internal discrimination is eradicated, says Dr Christian Moretti, Mr Gay Limerick 2016-2017
How many times did we hear the phrase: ‘I was born this way’? Perhaps chanting at a Pride parade, in a club. Maybe we read it on numerous articles, perhaps we even wrote them on our social media.
We are filled with pride when we pronounce those words, sometimes we shout them too, when we do that our head is invaded by a haze of emotions, waves of liberation run through our spine and melt any anxiety away.
We feel free, we feel determined and nothing can touch us until we face our own demons.
We think we accept our own identity but, do we really?
The more I immerse myself into the LGBT culture, the more I learn about identities, their varieties, their nuances and their importance. However, how much do we really know about the idea of ‘identity’? I always question myself if I am able to grapple it, I try to never assume anything.
Despite the little pieces of freedom that we have achieved in the last few years we are still left to stitch them all together. We are a community which is lost, without guidance, without instructions.
We Are All Homophobic
As the magnificent Panti Bliss stated: “We are all homophobic”. We grow up in a society which is phallocentric, patriarchal, misogynist, homophobic and tolerating.
The very term ‘tolerance’ is what feeds our demons. It is natural to assimilate the values of the society we are in. I am not intending to criticise, don’t get me wrong, but we cannot pretend to live in a bubble where everything is provided to us, where we can expect legislations and rights as we would live a life with no hope and dreams.
The harsh reality is that we are granted rights but nothing else. Nobody gives us and the society a background, nobody offers any instruction, any guidance. We are lost and, of course, we try to manage the best we can.
No wonder a lot of misinterpretations of reality, prejudice and discrimination within our community is rampant. I do not justify this, of course, but it is important to consider where all our demons come from.
You will allow me one consideration though; why don’t we educate ourselves? Why do we not grab the books, leaflets, researches, etc…? Why do we insist in burying our own identities under a pile of sand which is only destined to make our wellbeing sink more and more?
No Fats, No Femmes, No Asians
Social media, hookup apps, websites are rich with comments like: ’no queens’, ’no camp’, ‘masc only’, ’no asians’, no blacks’, ’no muslims’, ‘discreet’, ‘clean only’ (and this last one isn’t referring to personal hygiene).
Why do not we just stop for a second and reflect: ‘What do I mean by that?’
We will soon realise that the only ‘unclean’ part of us is our mind, rusted with the same old barriers and stuck in the same old social patterns which dominated a past that excluded us.
We exercise a terrible amount of pressure on ourselves, our identities, our communities. We make the same mistakes that discriminatory societies make by imposing gender and sexuality roles, social statuses and socially acceptable truths. Why do we do that to ourselves? Why do not we start to put all the pieces together and create those instructions that we are lacking?
Open Your Mind
We need to grab the books, we need to read the history that you never studied in school, that part that curricula do not include, we need to get the scientific information and learn about ourselves, our identities.
We need to open our minds instead of restricting them, we are not boxes, we are not categories and only knowledge can prove that to us.
Once we do it, our approach to life, society, community, sex will dramatically change, we will be able to see that huge part of complexity that we had ignored our whole life. Once we accept that there is no place for internal discrimination, we will set ourselves free and we will truly let go our demons.
Dr Christian Moretti is a secondary school teacher in County Limerick, is a published novelist, journalist and activist. He is also Mr Gay Limerick 2016-2017 and contestant for Mr Gay Ireland 2017. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter: @chrisgmoretti and Instagram: @mr_gay_limerick1617