I have had my reservations about this post.
On the one hand, I want to make sure that I do justice to the matter, without coming off too preachy or alienating to either side.
I trust you, the reader, know that I’m not angry at you, individually. The disappointment I will express is not a personal vendetta against anyone.
Also, I want to clearly state that it is not the purpose of this post for you to change a value. So far, I have tried to add to your list of values, not change yours. It is important that values be revisited daily but strengthened just as much, as this gives our life purpose.
All I aim to do with this post is to frame our conversation in a different manner.
I want to speak out against irrational comments I’ve heard and read in comments sections I should know better not to visit.
I’d like to think that if you’re reading this, you agree that Love is the best hope for a world that is constantly on the edge of tearing itself from the inside.
In every picture of a marginalized human fighting for their rights I see the beautiful struggle so many humanist and religious revolutionaries involved themselves in; a struggle to ensure that all, no matter the race, creed, or social status, receive the same respect, dignity and opportunity that is bestowed upon us. Bestowed by whom? Us, in the act of being born as a member of the same species, must bestow Love unto one another.
I’m going to start with a story, and I promise that with all its political connotations, this is not a political post. Or maybe it is, but I’m not sorry if actually is.
My disappointment started at a conversation I had with some friends. Somehow, a conversation about how our environment and the social media we take in affects our worldviews turned into the seemingly out-of-line actions of our president on a letter sent to schools.
In the anger I had, I repressed most of the conversation, except the part where the “adultier-adult” in the room (ask a millennial if you don’t know what that means) referred to transgendered individuals as “transvestites,” who could switch gender preference on a whim, like an actor deciding to cry on command.
No, a transvestite is not the same thing as a transgendered person. Not even close.
No, transgendered individuals don’t flip-flop between preference. Trans- means that they are transitioning, not ever feeling like they belonged to one group. There’s no desire to go back to something that is uncomfortable.
I’ve never left something I was uncomfortable with only to choose to go back the next day on a whim.
Here’s another one I’ve heard often:
“Traditional marriage is between a man and a woman, and the choice not to ascribe to that is unnatural.”
Why would I assume that another person chooses their inclination, if I never chose mine? “You were created this way,” I hear, “they were too.”
We weren’t made in a factory.
We were part of an extraordinary process in our mother’s womb, where a single cell gives way to a human being in the space of nine months. A human, with all our imperfections (what is perfection?) and thought processes.
To decide that something as complex (confusing) as Love is uniform in all of us is to deny that Love is one of the purest human traits. Just as we all look, smell and think different, we all love in our own way.
We say we love each other.
We also say we love burgers.
Which is the more “natural” love?
Please, I’m not telling you to adopt any specific lifestyle. I’m merely asking you to come to peace with a new way of having a conversation.
In my environment I’ve heard “love the sinner, not the sin.”
What a repulsive thing to do.
In this, we have automatically labeled a person “sinner,” degrading them to a single title.
“Love the human,” and the saying should stop there.
How strange it is that we can’t stomach each other.
I used to be grossed out when my parents kissed, but not anymore. I’ve grown to see that love is love, and the moment I withheld it from those that have a different definition I lost the right to own the definition of love.
Seriously, how can I say with a straight face what love is if I deny it? I only show that I don’t know what love is.
I completely understand the ethics vs. culture argument. I get that some of us come from a culture where a different definition of love is strange. In the macho, ultra conservative culture of a Hispanic country where I’m from, the thought might be repulsive. However, there are other things from my culture—such as eating and enjoying cow tongue—that are also repulsive to some.
My personal decision to love like Jesus did dictates I see the way he dealt with those that were considered unnatural by his generation.
Never did He throw their life in their face. Never did He tell me to do it either.
You might not adhere to a religion, but understanding that you can love everyone should be reason enough to love anyone, even if they don’t agree with you completely.
In the end, what we think of as “traditional” changes vastly from person to person, generation to generation, and even location to location.
Here, I’m going to borrow from and paraphrase the Chimamanda Adichie quote I cited in the post about loving women completely: “If extending love to all humans, regardless of how their love is defined, is not part of our culture, it’s time it became our culture.”
We cannot profess what we don’t represent. I’ve said it before: we must not parade our seemingly universal values if they don’t apply to everyone we meet.
The moment we cast the first stone we were destined to receive the same stone back at our heads.
And I have to take it.
Do I live in a culture of love? Do my ethics and culture allow me to love that which I don’t understand?
In our conversations about this subject, let us not forget that we are discussing humans, and people with their own beautiful story, as complex and important as ours.