Who Am I? Identity and Acceptance In Today's Society

Who Am I? - by D. P. Balding


It has long been said that words are the most powerful weapon at mankind’s disposal. This has long been proven over the years, from letters of love to declarations of war. Messages of peace have been sent and received, and notifications of the loss of loved ones. Words are exceptionally powerful, but there are some that have been put together by almost everyone at some time of their lives, three little words that can change the entire course of a person’s life, or even the course of history. If I asked most people what those three words were, a great deal of people would say I Love You. But there are three more important words that I want to discuss, that need to be talked about.

Who Am I?

Who am I? Those three words alone have had so much of an effect on people. Students wondering what path to take, men and women wondering what kind of people they are. Are they good people? Are they bad people? But these words have brought clarity to some, and destroyed others. Why? Because many people don’t know who they are, or they are someone else, someone that others either don’t expect or don’t know about, not until the words can bring acceptance.

A friend once told me they were bisexual. I was proud that they told me, because it meant they trusted me, when they hadn’t told anyone else. I told them they should be proud of themselves. But they weren’t. They felt shame for it because of how they were raised. They were taught that to love someone of the same gender was wrong. I was shocked to hear that, but then I realised that, despite the fact that we live in the 21stcentury, people still act like it’s the 18th.

The sad part about that story is that they aren’t alone in their fear and shame. Many people who are bisexual, lesbian, gay, transgender, autistic, bi-polar…anything that isn’t along the lines of societal norms face a huge uphill struggle, because there is something that everyone wants in life, and that’s to be accepted. They want to be accepted by society because they think that’s what has to happen. When someone tells the world they are different, oftentimes they are greeted with fear, mistrust, disgust, loathing…emotions that shouldn’t ever be felt, not in this day and age. I think one of the most common questions when someone reveals they are different is “Are you sure it isn’t just a phase? Have you tried not being…” and frankly, that’s what societal norms make us ask. Let’s take, for example, a friend who came out as transgender.

This person is a wonderful friend, with a kind heart, and frankly, one of the most amazing people I know. They (And I use that term simply to cover the identity, because they know who they are, but I don’t want to embarrass them too much, or betray any confidence) have been one of the best friends I could ask for. When I was finding something of myself out, they were there. They gave me much to think about when it came to philosophical views on something I’m writing about and have always been supportive. But when they came out to their family, they were disowned, because their family were transphobic. That broke my heart, hearing what they went through.

I hate the word Phobic, in some instances. There are cases, like arachnophobia, which is normal, because they have a genuine fear. But to use transphobic, or homophobic…well, phobic means a fear, and in those cases it isn’t fear. It’s a case of a person being an asshole. No one is transphobic, because there is nothing to fear. It’s pure bigotry, so call it what it is. Don’t cover up and say people are afraid. If you were a space alien looking to eat humans, then yes, fear is fine. But in this case, it’s not warranted or right.

But why do people say they are afraid? Once again, society. For a supposed advanced culture, we’re not very advanced, are we? In fact, recently, I was talking to my partner, who is an Aspie, like myself, and we were talking about society, and the fact that we are forced to fit into society.

 But this is something that I have always hated. Why must we fit into society? There is an old saying: “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world. The unreasonable man forces the world to adapt to him. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”

I want to tell you something very important: I’m Pansexual. I’m telling the world this because for me, it doesn’t matter what gender someone is, all that matters is that love is love. I believe love is enough of a description. Bisexual, lesbian, gay…it doesn’t matter. All that matters is who you love. I know some people will agree with me, some won’t, but that’s the beautiful thing about this world: we can have our own opinions. But please, please, don’t let the asshole’s opinions hurt you, because words shouldn’t have that much of an effect. You need to be happy.

But that is a very tall order, isn’t it? Happiness, being happy in life. It’s hard to be happy when we’re all judged by others, especially when many who judge claim something isn’t in the bible. Well, guess what? It also says in the bible that you shouldn’t judge, so they can shove it up their asses. It says in the bible I can burn my mother in a small family gathering for wearing clothes made of two threads. It says that we should put to death anyone who works on a Sunday. It says that we can sell our children into slavery. It’s funny how those facts seem to be missed when people are laying judgement.

I say to hell with those who judge. I say we shouldn’t try to fit in with society, but make society adapt to us, because we have every right to exist as anyone else. Just because we’re different, doesn’t make us wrong, or disgusting or a freak. It just means we’re different. From being transgender to being in love with someone society says is wrong.

I want to tell you now, all of you, that you are loved. I love all of you, even if I haven’t met you yet. You are admired for having the courage to be yourself. So take a step forward into the light, and then another, and another, and keep going. Don’t ever stop being yourself, because you are a wonderful person. You have the light of life and humanity inside of yourself, so don’t ever lose that. If you ever need a friend to talk to, I’ll always be on hand to listen. So will many others.

Stand up in the light, be who you want to be. If your family are against you, then be in our family, a family of love, because all of us who are different love you all for who you are.

And if you ask yourself that question, Who Am I? then answer it like this:

I AM ME, AND I AM PROUD!

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