Someone Else’s Shoes

Recently, I read an article about whether or lesbians likes being referenced to as such or asking if they would rather be referred to as gay, or neither. It got me thinking about how others feel about the word lesbian, how I present myself, and how I have felt about the word lesbian most of my life.

Personally, I refer to myself as gay. When I came out to my friends and family, twice, I always said the words “I’m gay”, never “I’m a lesbian”. The word never seemed befitting of how I view myself. What I found interesting in this article was those who said that they liked to be called a lesbian, said that they felt a strong sense of femininity with the word. Being that I associate with a more masculine identity, it may be the reason that I always felt turned off by the word.

Those feelings bring me back to a moment when I was in high school when I was one of the only openly gay students. One Saturday night, I was at a friend’s house and a kids at the party asked me point blank, “so, you’re a full blown lesbian?” I cringed at this question, I knew that I was gay, but the word lesbian felt wrong to me. I replied that I was, but the word lesbian ’til this day doesn’t feel quite right.

However, just because this is how I feel about the word, it doesn’t mean all gay women feel this way. I can completely understand why lesbians feel connected and empowered by the word lesbian and the femininity it brings them.

One of the things I love about the LGBTQ community is that it doesn’t matter what anyone wants to be called, we don’t have to fit in a box, and we don’t have to be a certain way at all. We can feel fluid with our sexuality and our gender. We can state how we feel, and how we want to be referred to. At the end of the day, we get say “I want to be no one other than me.” The rest of the world could stand to learn a lot from our community. Nothing is black and white, in fact, many times it is shades of grey. There is always another side to the story, another perspective, and another way of looking at things.

We as the collective human race, need to start being better listeners and start working towards understanding each other better. Ask questions, listen to others, spend time thinking about how it would feel to be in their shoes. Each one of us was put on this earth, unique, different and special. We should spend more time applauding that versus bringing each other down.

This week, I challenge you, to take a moment to try and understand someone you know a just little bit better by asking them questions about how they view themselves and the world to not only learn more about them, but to truly try and understand how it feels to be in their shoes.

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