Sunday, 25 April 2010

... but she's really nice

I lost it at lunch today over an issue that comes up time and time again.

The guy says something to the effect of, "We saw Joe last week. And you know Joe's daughter is gay, but she's really nice". After a few hours of nothing but negativity about every type of person different to him, this was the last straw.

Someone's sexual orientation has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with their personality - whether they're nice or not. This guy's comment (he's not alone - this is a common one) implies that, collectively, people who are attracted to the same gender are nasty people. Their clarification, "but she's really nice" separates the person they're talking about from the masses because, unlike 'them', "she's nice".

Consider a heterosexual couple. Let's say that I'm telling you what I did over the weekend. "I saw Jane on Saturday for coffee. She's married to John, but she's really nice." This isn't something you'd hear because it doesn't need qualification. Why then does a person's personality require qualification if they are not hetro?

Since what happens behind closed doors [generally] stays behind closed doors, heteros have the benefit of not being judged over their sexual preferences, which may range from vanilla to bizarre fetishes. For all I know, the dude at lunch may like dressing in lycra and getting his wife to spank him every Friday night. Either way, it is irrelevant.

Just as I believe in a genetic continuum or Bell Curve (possibly an inverted curve with 'normal' in the middle) of sexual development (intersex*) so I also believe in a continuum of sexual preferences.

Who you do and what you do does not determine whether you are nice or not. People are just people.

* The conversation went the Semenya-hermaphrodite-intersex direction and the dude got another blast from me on this issue. He lives an existence of ignorance and prejudice. These excellent articles by sport scientist Ross Tucker on intersex conditions, written in response to the Caster Semenya issues, make for interesting reading - on The Science of Sport and, more in depth, on Competitor Running.

1 comment:

Uncharted W said...

I hope you've sent him the link to your blog Lisa:)

Jokes aside, I completely agree with you and it's quite typical of (some) people to form perceptions of peoples’ characters based on some external/completely different factor.

However, on the flip side of your comment in the *. I myself have sit on the opposite side of the coin. Often people with a more traditional view are labelled as the uneducated, ages-behind, uniformed dorks of society.

I have also found that 'open minded people' (the perceived informed and educated) are very narrow minded (selective) in their open 'mindedness'. For instance, just try and argue with an 'open minded' individual that there might be some credit to an old traditional view, which stands in direct contrast with their educated, humanistic view and they'll most often hear nothing of it.

Let me illustrate my point. Imagine telling a group of well read, worldly wise, highly informed homosexuals that: "Same sex attraction, normally related to acute depression, is an identifiable and curable disorder." How open do you think they'll be to accept the possibility and to investigate this? Please note that I am not making this statement here and now, as it opens up a whole new can of worms for another argument, but I’m simply using it to express my point.

In general, we should be more mindful of the perceptions we formulate of people and especially about what we say of others.
The dude at your table deserved a klap, I agree – by the standard we judge him anyway.