Celebrating Difference

Warning: This post contains frank references to sex and sexual organs. If you don’t want to encounter such words then I suggest you don’t read on.

It makes me angry when I hear people make disparaging comments about somebody based on their appearance or mannerisms. The unspoken assumption that those people are somehow inferior because they do not fit into a neat little box in a neat little life.

There’s denial of a person’s self: “You can’t be disabled. You don’t look disabled.” Deliberately using the pronouns of their previous gender to refer to a trans person. Suggesting that a woman is only lesbian because she’s not had sex with a “real” man (whatever that means).

There’s the imposition of one’s own standards on another: of a sexually-provocative woman, “She looks like a tart. She’s all over those men, whoring herself.”

Guess what? There are a host of disabilities that don’t affect a person’s physical appearance: that man with Tourette’s didn’t get issued with a badge along with his diagnosis. And somebody who does have a physical sign of disability? Odds are they are aware of this themselves and don’t actually need your help in pointing it out.

A trans person who transitions knows who they are. Your crass attempts to suggest that you know better than they do only serve to paint you as ignorant, narrow-minded and prejudiced. Yes, I used to present as a man: I know this only too well, after all I was there. But I’m a woman. I don’t need or want to be reminded of who I appeared to be before. That life is in the past.

Some people are attracted to people of the same sex. For a man to suggest that a lesbian should prefer sex with a man, and that experiencing it would change her sexual orientation, demonstrates a staggering lack of understanding. If he thinks being penetrated by a penis is so wonderful perhaps he should try it. After all, speaking from personal experience would carry more weight!

And that woman wearing revealing clothes? Well, I guess she’s feeling confident and attractive. Getting attention from the opposite sex probably makes her feel empowered and can be a turn on. And maybe — shock, horror! — she enjoys sex?

There are a whole lot of people in this world of ours, and that means there’s a lot of scope for differences. Instead of feeling insecure or threatened by this I would hope that people can approach others with an open mind. We are all people and we are all different. Different does not mean less. It does not mean wrong. It’s time to accept and celebrate these differences as what make people unique and special, each in their own way.

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8 thoughts on “Celebrating Difference

  1. Right on!

    Just one little nit to pick: women who wear revealing clothes can also feel enpowered and turned on by getting attention from other women, not just from the opposite gender. Just sayin’. 😉

    • Thank you. 🙂

      In my experience it’s often people who accept their own differences who are most accepting of differences in others.

  2. Hear, hear! Well put.
    It’s annoying me more and more. Though I am aware of being more judgemental in the past, so I try not to be too hard on people who are. They still have to learn. Or that condescending? 🙂
    I have this friend who I thought was quite open-minded, but lately I am realizing more and more that this was really within the limited scope of people she met (intelligent, relatively well-off). Now she finished her study, got a job, and meets more diverse people. The judgements are harsh! I’m still trying to find a way to point this out to her, without immediately alienating her. Not in the sense of ‘she’ll never meet me again’, but in a sense of ‘if I come down to hard she won’t be listening to my point’. She doesn’t realize how privileged she is. A lot of people don’t, and they judge from this privileged narrow scope of life.

    • Thank you, Petra. It’s hard to point the fact out to people who are being judgmental in a way that they will listen to and think about. I’ve found it’s all to easy to trigger a defensive reaction by appearing critical.

      Perhaps being autistic helps me because I’ve had a lifetime of trying consciously to work out what other people think and feel without the benefit of NT intuition. Plus there’s nothing like the feeling of being an outsider yourself to make you sympathetic to other people who don’t fit into the “normal” mold.

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