Somehow my little pile of books I am supposed to be reading at the moment has gotten a little bit out of control…
When I was about 12 years old, not too long in to life at secondary school I had a realisation. I found out that gay people existed. I also found out that straight people existed.
This came as a shock to me. As did discovering that I had to be a ‘man’ and that all the females I knew had to be ‘women’.
Up until that point in my life I genuinely had no concept of these things. I thought people were attracted to people. I couldn’t understand, and still don’t, why there was an expected norm by society and why everyone fell into it without question.
My thoughts didn’t gain me any friends and I fell in line through fear. It’s taken me 22 years to begin to shake that social conditioning, and I fear it will never truly go.
Of all the realisations I’ve had in my life this is the one that brings me the most joy and the most sadness.
Sadness because it broke my view of the world and made me aware of society and its unthinking adherence to ‘tradition’.
Sadness because it put me in a cage and made me a novelty.
Joy because there was a point when I was truly free of that influence, and the younger me saw the world as an untainted beautiful place where people were who they wanted to be, not what others would have them be.
Joy because there is a chance that other younger generations may contain people who think like that and that my generation has a chance to ensure they never lose that bright eyed idealistic hope for freedom of expression.