Recently while on Facebook, I came across a status that made such a profound impact on me I couldn’t stop thinking about it.
This status took me back to a place in time. A place where it first became apparent to me that there were differences – beyond physical appearances – between me and those around me.
Sure, I saw people with different colored hair, eyes, skin color and clothes. I know there are several things that make each of us different, but I never thought about what might make us different beyond visible things.
The difference I’m talking about is homosexuality.
Looking back, I can’t imagine describing people for any reason other than physical characteristics. It never mattered to me what people chose to do or who they chose to be with.
Many of my friends are homosexual. It was never something we made a point to talk about because it was never a big deal. They’re still the same people.
I’ll admit, I have unfortunately prejudged people as gay or lesbian simply for the stereotypical way they might have said or done something.
However, after seeing that Facebook status, I realized gay men and women are not any different from straight men and women. We shouldn’t make it a point either way to teach others which is correct.
People might prefer the same sex. That doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with them. Or they might prefer the opposite sex. That’s OK, too.
I will also admit I have said things along the lines of how fun it would be to go shopping with my gay guy friend or to do other activities with him that may otherwise be stereotyped as “girly.”
While I never took into account how this might affect my friends, the Facebook status served as a wake-up call for me.
I took the time to reevaluate my friendships and take their feelings into account. I also realized it shouldn’t matter how my friends define themselves. I should be interested in going shopping with them based on the sole fact of what kind of person they are in general.
So, the next time you see someone say or do something and think about classifying them by a common stereotype, think about what might be on the inside, because that’s what really matters.