“Today,” the girl announced, slapping down her papers and slipping into her desk, “we’re going to talk about homos.”
I winced. Others giggled. Sure, she was bisexual herself, but it was still an… unconventional way to start discussion.
“Let’s call them homosexuals,” our teacher advised mildly.
“K.” She flipped through her papers. “First question. Is being gay a choice?”
There was an awkward silence. Finally I offered, “I don’t know. Maybe we should… ask someone?”
Maybe it was just a way to get the discussion moving, but I did, in effect, bring up an important point. We can’t really know, unless that’s our situation. To invoke the old cliché – they stick around because they work, you know – you shouldn’t judge someone until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes. How can someone just say “Gays choose to be that way” or “It’s something they’re born to be” without being gay themselves? We can never know what’s going on in another person’s mind – heck, sometimes I don’t know what’s going on in mine.
I think as a culture, we’re too ready to make judgements that we really have no authority on. That girl is just full of herself. He’s a bully because he has a bad home life. She’s only religious because she’s afraid. He’s an atheist because he wants to be a rebel. I know I’ve made judgements when I shouldn’t have. But I think we should all take a step back and think – Do I really know this? Can I know it? Or am I just puffing myself up, giving myself a sense of stature by ‘knowing’ exactly what’s wrong with the world and everyone in it?
You may not like the answers, but it’s a question we all need to ask.