It’s tiresome to hear again and again in the news about so and so coming out as gay or lesbian. There are three main ways to react to this news (spoiler alert: only one of these reactions is worth talking about):
- You don’t care if people are gay, straight, or anywhere in between. You’re happy to see Tim Cook is happy today, and you stand by him and respect his privacy (all of my Twitter feed is this, which makes me happy).
- You are very angry about gay people, for any number of antiquated reasons (you’re the worst, but luckily, you’ll probably change when somebody you know comes out to you, and you’ll eventually die. Hopefully you aren’t successful in spreading your vitriol before you go.)
- You are gay, but haven’t told anybody or are afraid to come out publicly yourself. You worry you might lose your job, or be kicked out of your apartment, or bullied, or ostracized, or attacked. If you are this, maybe, just maybe, you get a chance to be hopeful of the future. If you can’t already where you live, you might one day be able to get married, have pretty basic human rights, and be able to openly love the person/people you care about. This is the important one, and that’s why a CEO in the Fortune 500 coming out is a big deal in 2014.
If you don’t care about this news, good. You’re not the problem. You can move on with your day, a little happier one more person doesn’t have to hide a part of themselves anymore. We’re all human.
This same logic applies to #gamergate, sexism, and many other kinds of discrimination. We need to keep talking about these issues. If sexist discrimination doesn’t happen to you, be happy for it and move on with your day, but be aware that it does happen. Speak up when you see it. Be part of the solution. It’s hard for men to see or be aware of sexism and harassment, because it doesn’t happen to us nearly as regularly as it does to women. And it doesn’t happen in Canada as much as it does in the States (please correct me if I am wrong on this, I know it happens here too). But it does happen everywhere there are misguided people. People who don’t realize what they’re doing or don’t care.
It’s not ok. But let’s work together to make sure there is a future where it will be a thing of the past.
Check out this week’s episode of the Ottawhat? podcast. New every Thursday!
Aleks Paleega is a pathology resident who has spent most of her life in Ottawa. Learn a little about autopsies, the tennis club scene in Ottawa, and where to go when El Camino has a 2-hour wait (which is all the time).
Ottawhat #24: Aleks Paleega