I will admit that when I photographed an all-male bellydance show for the first time, I was a bit uncomfortable, but I quickly loosened up and enjoyed the show. I’ll tell you when all the dancers, including Mark Bissell, gave me a group hug, I was really uncomfortable, but I somehow survived the massive shock (sarcasm) to my psyche. I know I will need countless hours of therapy to recover from the emotional pain from that event, but I think I will survive (again, sarcasm). In reality, I saw and photographed about a dozen performers put on an incredible show. And, contrary to what some people would have us all believe, there was zero, absolutely zero, damage to my psyche.
The point is, all sarcasm aside, that even though these men have a different orientation than myself, and even though that orientation can, on occasion, make me uncomfortable, doesn’t mean anything at all.
Lot’s of things in life make me uncomfortable. People say and do lots of things that are not the same as I say and do.
When I first saw Bonnie Margay Burke and Laura Sutherland together, I didn’t have any thought at all other than, wow, those two seem to be happy with each other. When I saw Mark and his husband kissing for the first time, my thought was “good for them” (I didn’t know they were together until that moment).
So if some four year old saw two men kissing and asked what that was about, I’d say pretty much the same thing I’d say if it was a man and a woman, or a woman and a woman. It might make me uncomfortable, but so what? I think I’d survive having to explain that to the child. Barely. With years of therapy, most likely 😉
Should these men or women be allowed to marry? Really, is that question even being asked in a serious tone of voice? Are we so “wise” that we can make such statements?
I remember when someone told me I should avoid people who are homosexual because I would “turn gay”. I just looked at that person as if they were crazy. To me, that’s as crazy as saying “avoid people who are black because, oh my god, you might turn black” (which someone else told me when I was a child, by the way) (Mardhavi Sakuntala and Khadijah Khadijah should get a kick out of that!). Or avoid tattooed people because I might find myself covered with tattoos (oh wait…). 😉
I am comfortable with myself, my own orientation, my own destiny, and I don’t feel I need to judge others based upon their sexual preferences (or skin color, or disability, or race, or nationality or …). People with differences are simply different. Different is not the same as dangerous or evil or anything like that. It’s just … different.
It IS sometimes necessary to judge other people. Choices need to be made. Should I be friends with this person? Should I loan them money? Should I give them a reference? These are all situations where judgement is required.
But I find it best to judge people on their behavior and actions and not on their beliefs and preferences and thoughts. So I absolutely will judge you if I see you using cocaine (and I almost certainly won’t give you a reference or loan you money in that case).
But if I find out you have a different orientation than myself, well, I’m not going to judge. I am simply going to celebrate the differences that make us all interesting.