Thursday, February 21, 2013

Comfort

I stand by a few rules in life; one of them being, "no should ever be forced to do something or forced to be in a situation they are uncomfortable with." The key word in this thought is the word "DO".

Too many people hide behind "discomfort". One might say, "I don't like gay people, they make me uncomfortable. I don't like people who are of a different race, they make me uncomfortable." Well, here's the thing, if you don't like these people, then don't BE them. No one's asking you to be gay or to be a different race. But simply denouncing someone's rights to exist, their rights to equality, and their rights to BE, is not because you're uncomfortable, but more likely comes from a place of ignorance.

I was very uncomfortable, for many years, with being gay. And that was my right to be uncomfortable with- it wasn't something I had grown up hearing about, believing in, understanding, or something I was okay with. So I was uncomfortable that it was a part of me. Over time, I worked and strove to find comfort with who I am, and still work to this day to test my limits and learn my comforts and discomforts as part of being gay. But most importantly, not understanding something for whatever reason- because it's new to you, because it goes against your religion, or just because you don't know enough- shouldn't make you "uncomfortable", and doesn't give you a right to hate. It gives reason to avoid someone or something that makes you uncomfortable- a gay bar, perhaps- but not a right to be hurtful.

There is a fine line between discomfort and ignorance. Often times, I find myself "uncomfortable" with something, simply because I was/am ignorant to it. I don't know about this other culture, other lifestyle, other way of behaving, and my initial reaction is "it makes me uncomfortable". But more recently I learn to express my discomfort by asking questions, striving to grow and to learn instead of running away in discomfort. I seek to become less ignorant, and therefore more "comfortable".

If you don't like gay people, don't be gay. If you don't like gay marriage, don't get gay married. But don't go around claiming "discomfort" as a rationalization for your ignorance and hate. Acknowledge your flaw, and if you so choose, strive to grow to a place of tolerance and comfort.

2 comments:

  1. In addition to the egregious usage of a semicolon in your first paragraph, I find your primary point here short-sighted. Why do you assume someone can be uncomfortable with 'gay' or 'black' ONLY if they are themselves gay or black? Isn't is possible for someone to be uncomfortable with homosexuality and/or race, even if *they* aren't gay or black? And even if you try to argue that they are ignorant, what if people are knowledgable (i.e. interact with and try to understand differences and diversity) and yet are STILL uncomfortable - not with BEING gay, but with the concept of someone else being gay? I'm sure you've met people like that - I know I have. Being uncomfortable with someone who is gay is no unheard of, ignorance aside. My brother is gay and my dad interacts with him all the time and has really tried to wrap his head around the concept of homosexuality....and yet is still uncomfortable with it. I think it's just as closed-minded of you to discredit someone's discomforts...you can't invalidate someone's feelings - and discomfort is very much so a feeling.

    I'm not saying I disagree with you...but "to each their own." People shouldn't be forced to do something they don't feel comfortable doing, but you have no idea what that discomfort stems from. Just like you were uncomfortable with your own gay-ness, I'm sure many people in this world are, too. And it might take a long time to change the world's mind, but meanwhile, we can't discredit their feelings and emotions. We can work with what we have to try and change their mindset, but not their emotional, visceral disposition.

    In the words of a gay, Jewish blogger - "haters' gonna hate." And that's just the way things are, unfortunately. (In my opinion, anyways)

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  2. Anon 12:33, in addition to your obnoxious correction of Ely's grammar, I find your reading of his blog post to be short-sighted. I don't think Ely meant to say that people cannot at all feel discomfort. He's saying they shouldn't hide behind it. They should try and understand what exactly is making them uncomfortable and see if they can strive to work past that or work with it in a way that doesn't cause pain (bullying, loss of rights, etc.) to others. Your father seems to be a prime example of someone who is trying to work within his discomfort to still have a relationship with your brother. Many parents do not.
    It's not about discrediting people's feelings, it's about trying to work past the discomfort with them and hopefully reach a better place of understanding.

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