Saturday, January 07, 2012

Shattering Stereotypes

The process of recovering from a heavily conservative background involves a lengthy process of stripping away multiple layers of misinformation interspersed within years of baggage. Sometimes those old illusions disappear so quietly that their absence initially goes unnoticed.

Growing up I remember being taught that all lesbians were man-haters. That myth no doubt coincides (or at least overlaps) with the oft-repeated claim that all lesbians are victims of sexual abuse. I even remember once reading a quote by a lesbian activist (who knows if it was quoted in context) that supposedly proved that the political alliance between lesbians and gay men was purely temporary and borne of necessity.

Such ideas no doubt seem laughable to anyone who actually has female friends who happen to be gay. Not that individuals who genuinely hate members of the opposite sex don't exist - but they're far more likely to be straight than gay.

As I look back to the days when I accepted myths like that without question I'm torn between laughing and crying at the base ignorance that bred them. I can now count so many lesbians among my friends - people that I love and respect - that I find myself taking offense at such stereotypes. They deserve far better, not that those on the religious right would be likely to take the time to get to know one of the people they're demonizing.

As I post this, I'm getting ready to head out to spend the evening with two of my favorite people (who just happen to be lesbians). How much poorer would my life be if I were still hiding from people based on stereotypes that I was fed about them?

3 comments:

Craig L. Adams said...

Yes, well, generalizations are always dangerous.

Eugene said...

Including that one? :) No, seriously, point taken - although there is something to be said for one's sample size...

Nixon is Lord said...

Religion is a waste of time and effort and money.