When it comes down to society's acceptance of the LGBT community, we have seemingly made significant progress. These improvements instill a sense of hopefulness for many - which is quickly demolished by attacks that are perceived as "hate crimes" such as the Orlando shooting. However, what if we stopped frantically attempting to put the blame on one single aspect of the shooter's life to pinpoint the motive? What if we quit identifying and analyzing the particular group of people who are being victimized in this situation, and looked at the much larger issue that no one seems to want to talk about?
My friend Sean had an interesting perspective on this issue, and I wanted to share it with you. Sean identifies as bisexual, but his views may differ from what you would expect.
Sara: Could you elaborate on your views of sexuality, specifically your own?
Sean: To me, sexuality has always just been a piece of who I am. I am bisexual, but in the end of the day it really just matters more to me that the person I'm with is kind and caring, rather than what gender they are. Society has become so obsessed with labeling sexuality, and it has led to immense issues with acceptance and understanding within different groups.
Sara: How is the issue of acceptance misconstrued in society today?
Sean: Society places a large amount of emphasis on acceptance - and rightfully so. Growing up, I constantly wanted three things - to be accepted, loved, and understood. The irony is, my family was always incredibly supportive. The problem wasn't them - it was me. I felt alienated constantly, but this wasn't limited to just sexuality. I was just as self-conscious about my foreign parents or my skin tone as I was about having a crush on my best guy friend and girl friend at the same time. It's all just confusion that is part of growing up in the human existence.
Sara: Your view is that incidents like the Orlando shooting cannot be attributed to one specific issue. Can you expand on that?
Sean: I have been reading countless articles, Facebook statuses, and tweets that all attempt to place the blame on one single aspect. The thing is, you can't. This is all just a product of hatred. It isn't a problem of a single religion or a single gender or a single sexuality. This is a global problem of the human condition.
Sara: How can we approach these situations differently?
Sean: First, we can start by asking questions. Omar Mateen may have hated gay people, but the question everyone refuses to discuss is - WHY did he hate them? What made one hateful opinion in this man's head explode into such a terrifying nightmare for the global community? We can speculate all we want, but the issue of self-doubt and insecurity comes up at any way we look at it. For some particular reason, he felt so beaten and weighed down by the judgment of society around him that he resorted to stone cold terrorism. That being said, I don't think that sitting around and talking about gun control or gay rights or immigration laws is going to solve the issue. That just means implementing more laws, and laws will always be broken.
Second, we can quit comparing America to other countries around the world. We are America, a unique country where 300+ million people are able to live together despite skin color, religion, personality, and sexuality in relative peace. The issue that is seemingly unique to America is the fact that minorities are large enough to actually have a voice about the racism, sexism, and discrimination. The only way to stop this unnecessary violence is for us to quit pointing fingers, and then raising our flags as high as possible to see which minority group is the most self-righteous.
Sara: So would you say that it all comes down to the fear of not being accepted?
Sean: Absolutely. We are all so afraid of being ostracized, and with good reason. However, if this fear is something that all "minority groups" have in common, then why are we blaming guns, or gays, or terrorist groups? This isn't a problem that needs laws to be fixed. The answer to this problem is much more simple than that. Accept the fact that you are you, and they are they and let's just live and let fucking live.