Thursday, April 30, 2015
Love, Acceptance and Art
The world has changed dramatically in recent years. We have more and more people from various ethnic backgrounds, sexual orientations, religions, and transgenderism than ever before. Our communities are filled with cross-dressers (who by the way are more often straight than gay), Bears, Muslims, Buddhists, Otters, A-Listers, Bikers, Jews, Atheists, and Twinkies. From my perspective, this is exciting. I am curious about people and what makes each of us unique.
However, diversity can often make people feel uncomfortable. Not understanding why someone is agnostic or gay can create feelings of fear and even hostility. But does one really have to understand another culture and its beliefs in order to be accepting? Of course not. Does one have to understand the notion of transgender in order to honor and respect a transgender person? No. Not in my book.
A general sense of love and acceptance can trump any ignorance or feelings of ill will.
When I first came out I was only 15 years old. My parents were accepting, though they knew that being a happy and healthy gay man was more challenging than living life as a straight person. Although they didn’t fully understand my being gay, they never changed their unconditional love for me. And really there was nothing to understand. It’s not a choice, and I was happy with who and what I stand for (and still am). I am honest and compassionate. I care about my close friends and family, I work hard, and I’m an empathetic person. What more did I need to explain?
It’s almost like trying to explain why you like one piece of art over another. You just like it. You might like blue or magenta or orange, or prefer landscapes over portraiture, but it’s difficult to know why.
In this vein, I believe that art and life have parallels. I know collectors who only covet photography, and others who only revel in painting and sculpture. Just like I know people who prefer cats over dogs, and others who like older women instead of hot twenty-somethings. None of these preferences need explanations. It’s just part of how we are made up as human beings.
I’m not advocating being ignorant. Education can help us better relate to each other. However, my belief is that accepting life on lifes’ terms is powerful. Go with the flow. Our raw and innate capacity to love and accept is natural and freeing. If you don’t understand someone or something that seems foreign, try embracing its uniqueness. It’s easier than you think.