Mandy's Musings: Labels Don't Matter
By Mandy Bates
One day I was watching Law & Order: Special Victims Unit when my son came into the room. Normally I turn the channel because that’s not exactly the kind of show a 12-year-old should be watching. But this was a scene where a transgendered had been beaten up for simply being herself, so I left it on. My son asked why she had been beaten up, what did she do wrong? I told him she was attacked because she is gay. He couldn’t understand that. He couldn’t fathom why in the world anyone would want to hurt someone for being gay. He said, “So what? It’s not like she killed anyone.”
This is either a testament to the new generation - that they are being taught from younger ages to respect others, no matter their differences, or this is just me, being a really good mom, making sure to teach him to accept people for who they are. Maybe it’s a bit of both. I’ve always tried to shield his ears from racial slurs that are pretty common in this area. When he hears them, I explain to him that they are negative, mean words and that he is not to repeat them. I explain what they supposedly mean and how they hurt someone, and he never uses them. In fact, when he hears words such as the N-word or the F- or Q-word, he actually gets uncomfortable because he knows they’re wrong. He’s known several gay people and he knows that they are just people who like to hang out andwatch movies and just generally be happy.
I’ve observed that many people who are anti-gay tend to bite their tongues when in the presence of someone who is gay. And after a while, they even forget that person is gay, and just seem them as a person. And those who don’t are usually the ones thinking that the gay person totally wants them. Yeah, ‘cause gay people really wanna be with someone who is a close-minded, arrogant, conceited jerk. Which can be realized by looking at the kind of straight people that person attracts – haha!
I guess what I’m getting at is this: if more people think the way my son thinks, then we will leave the world a better place, educating our youth about the importance of seeing who a person really is, not by the label society gives them.