Bigotry: why the bigots are creating a hell for themselves
6 years ago I wouldn’t in my wildest dreams even think about the possibility that I was mentally ill, a survivor of trauma, and bisexual. It is like finding out that you automatically “ousted” from a position of power: straight, normal, “not crazy”, etc. Metaphorically, it seems like I have dropped down a few levels from my original socio-economic position, like some sort of monopoly game where you roll the dice and “uh oh, you’re in jail”.
It is true that I am now subject to the widespread hate against the LGBTQ+ communities and mentally-ill folks upon recognizing this new identity for myself. But that doesn’t mean that my life is now a living hell. I was lucky enough to have friends my age who are going through the same things, actually, almost half my friends are queer and almost all of them have varying levels of mental distress. There is a weird sense of solidarity that said, “hey this really sucks, but at least I am not suffering alone, we have each other”. In fact, I was one of the “normal straights” among my friends until I discovered more and more about myself.
Now I know what the homophobes and prejudiced boomers are thinking: she’s “converted” by the gays! This generation is so weak they only use mental illness as an excuse for their incompetence! And this hate and prejudice is what that is actually harming everyone, not just the minority, but actually the majority.
Let’s time-travel back to 6 years ago when I was completely unaware of my true identity. What would be the case for me if I wasn’t surrounded by my friends, learning about queer culture and mental health, and developing acceptance for differences even though I don’t quite understand them? I may be thinking I am straight and normal until somewhere in my 20s and 30s, I have a full on crisis about who I am and just completely lose my sense of self. I may have harbored so much hate towards the minority thanks to society and upon discovering I am what I despised in the past, grow a new fear of what I would be facing as I reluctantly accept my true identity. Or worse, I spend my entire life in the shadows, unable to be my true self for fear of the hatred I once helped contribute to.
The moral of the story, in a rather cynical perspective, is that there is always the possibility that one may realize they are part of the minority. I am sure the baseline for all the biphobes, homophobes and prejudiced boomers is that the gays and the mentally-ill DO exist. And the reality is that one may never know whether they will wake up one day realizing they are not who they think they are. Imagine the tragic irony that is for a die-hard homophobe to wake up one day, realize they are undeniably gay and become fearful of how their homophobic community will treat them. It is almost like karma, isn’t it?
Of course, the reason why one should not discriminate and hate ANYONE are for the moral values of kindness, reciprocity and the basic decency to treat people has human beings. Sadly, this basic demand for people to treat the minority as people can’t even be achieved. I find it hard to even argue as a person to people who don’t treat me like one in the first place. The cynical perspective I proposed, however, might be the way out. Fear is a great motivator, as anxiety has taught me, and by tapping into the greatest fears of the bigots, this may be more effective than trying to convince them to treat us like people. Who doesn’t have the nightmare of becoming the very thing you despise?
I understand if other people of my communities don’t like this approach. It is almost villainous in a way, targeting the fears of others, spreading paranoia. But I’d also like to remind you that the minority has tried to be nice, and it simply doesn’t work. The reality of being in the minority is that you may very well be walking outside on your way home and be told they are a sex object, you may very well be minding your own business and suddenly be tackled and shot by the police, you may very well be trying to have a relationship with someone you love and be abused the moment you reveal you are queer. These things are what makes it impossible to be nice, being nice is what gets us exploited in the first place.
Now I am not asking for people bring more hatred to the world, but only to point out the cynical realities for the bigots out there. It is not a coincidence that a lot of the queer community and mentally-ill folks have internalized phobia of their own identity, and probably phobia against other people. And that only goes to prove that prejudice is harming everyone, not just the minority, but the majority. Don’t create a hell you don’t want to live in, because one day you might find yourselves burning amongst the gays, damned to hell like the gays you’ve damned to hell in the past.
The bright side of this story is that I am lucky enough to recognize my true identity and problems as a teen and seek help as soon as possible. You’d be surprise to know that not only is it better for ensuring the healthy development of teens, but also it is so much cheaper getting therapy and medication as a student. Why choose to have a full identity crisis as an adult and pay expensive medical fees when you can get the same thing for free as a student?
Bigots will always exist, but at least, be a bigot who is well aware of the risks a bigot has to face. You can keep creating hell for us, and if you really are straight and “normal”, let’s see whether God lets you into heaven after you die. But on the off chance you find out you are one of us, well baby, welcome to the dark side.