Originally Posted by nycindie
I survived a horrible childhood, which I won't discuss here, but suffice it to say that I have had to overcome my own seemingly insurmountable odds. You think that just because I'm straight, I "don't know, from the inside, what it is like to have feared honest self-disclosure at a tender young age about a matter that could prove emotionally or physically deadly," but that is not true. No, my issues did not pertain to my sexuality, but I had secrets to keep about myself/my family that were very damaging to do so. However, this is not about who has the "best worst story."
More to the point... I just do not see the correlation that makes one who has been the victim of discrimination more open-minded or more in touch with emotions than anyone else. In fact, people who've been victimized can be even more shut down emotionally. What I was taking exception to is the almost-blanket statement that LGBT people are just more open-minded and emotionally evolved than heteros. Perhaps they are when it comes to matters of sex, sexuality, sexual identity, gender, but not necessarily love and relationships, nor anything else. You seem to be asserting that, since LGBT people have had to struggle with the issues surrounding their sexual identity and coming out that it makes them more sympathetic and sensitive overall, and therefore more in tune with their feelings and emotional development. This is similar to when someone says that poly people are more evolved than mono people.
I am not saying that LGBT folks have not suffered at the hands and attitudes of others. I am not saying they haven't been treated unfairly. I am not challenging the idea that LGBT people have had to overcome many obstacles and deep hurts to accept and overcome any issue surrounding sex, sexuality, sexual orientation, identity, etc, including the risk of danger for doing so. I am simply saying that hetero people can be just as emotionally developed, evolved, sensitive, and in touch with their inner lives than anyone else, and can have struggled with similarly devastating or radically life-impacting issues. Different paths to self-knowledge and emotional development, but pain is pain, confusion is confusion, and loss is loss. People can be marginalized for any reason. It is part of the human condition to question who we are and what we're about, so gender and orientation doesn't make one more adept at doing so in general, though one's experiences may make one more adept at such inner exploration in a particular area of life and/or personal identity.
Well, I had a big response all ready to go when Firefox decided to crash.
Hopefully that doesn't happen this time....
I, too, had a horrible childhood. But those circumstances were not related to my sexual orientation. The journey I took to heal those wounds was vastly different from the one I took to accept and be proud of my queerness.
Because itís the dominant paradigm, it doesnít take any introspection to have acceptance of your orientation and live your life as a healthy, out and proud heterosexual. It just is the expected way to be. It does take a huge amount of internal work to be a healthy, out and proud homosexual or bisexual. I donít know anyone who has attempted or committed suicide because they were straight. I do know of a large number of people who did because they were queer. Itís my observation, over nearly 30 years, that queer folks in general are open minded about many things because of the work they did coming to terms with their sexual orientation. This is also true for poly folks in general, because of the work required to live a different kind of life than is socially ordained. Is it possible to be straight and open minded? Absolutely. I just find the percentage of straight folks who are open minded to be smaller than the percentage of queer folks.
I can tell you that living life as an assumed heterosexual is very different from living life as an assumed homosexual. (Iím using the word assumed because on the surface thatís what people see, unless they are close enough to me that I bother to explain being bisexual/biamorous.) My first primary partners were women, so the first 20 years of my adult life I publicly identified as lesbian. For the last 9 Iíve been with a man. The amount of heterosexual privilege in our society is astounding. Among other things, I donít have to worry about being beaten up or worse because Iím holding my partnerís hand or giving him a kiss. Now those things get benevolent smiles if they get any reaction at all. I have no societal struggle associated with being in a heterosexual relationship whereas being in a homosexual one was always a societal struggle.
Because of my struggles and internal work, Iím hyper-aware that I canít know what itís like to live in our society as part of other groups. And I believe that work has made me more open minded and more tolerant than I would have been had I been born straight.