I was asked an interesting question last night. After I made the statement that I used to be very anti-homosexual, a friend told me that she had a hard time believing I had ever held those beliefs. She was unable to find a trace of it in me, for which I expressed silent gratitude. “How does that just disappear in a person?” she asked.
I’m sure it’s different for everybody.
For me, it was a completely experiential process. I was attending school part-time back in the late 80’s. One curriculum lasted for eighteen months, during which time I became very close friends with two women who were on the same path.
Of all of my classmates, I resonated most with them. We would often have meals together, study together, and do class projects together. I enjoyed their company, and we often discussed our love lives.
One of the women talked about her lover, Randall, on a very regular basis. The other was in the military and didn’t have a stable love life. I was recently divorced and busy with the dating scene, so we had lots of fodder for conversation, each from different perspectives.
About a month before we were to graduate from the program, both women revealed that they were lesbians. Shocked would be a mild expression for what I felt. After all, I was raised in a particular church environment that labeled many things sin, but homosexuality went beyond that, right into ABOMINATION.
Looking back on it, its easy to see the irony of that. The church leaders (and members) seemed to point to the “abomination” as the “real evil,” which gave them permission to overlook the fact that they were engaging in a vast majority of the other listed sins.
Isn’t human behavior fascinating?
Let’s rewind back to the big reveal.
I was stunned. If they were gay, what did that make me? After all, I had been taught that the only people who were friends with gays were gay themselves. I was pretty sure I wasn’t a lesbian, as I had tried that when I was younger and didn’t like it. It hadn’t rubbed off on me like I was told it would. Neither of them had ever made any advances toward me, so I knew they weren’t trying to “convert” me. As a matter of fact, it had never been an issue until their openness bumped up against my belief system.
Their openness won.
It became painfully obvious that my belief system was based on an entire set of fallacies. These were wonderful women, upstanding citizens, dear souls who were trying to live their lives as peacefully as possible in a society that hated them for no good reason.
Good reason is exactly what prevailed.
I was taught to fear something that I had no experience with. When I finally had experience, I learned there was nothing to fear.
Maybe that’s what makes it dissolve; having the experience of knowing someone as a worthwhile being at the soul level, then allowing that relationship to totally obliterate the learned beliefs.
After all, we are born with eye color, hair color, skin color, but there has never been a baby born with a belief.
Beliefs are learned.
Beliefs are learned from people who are just as flawed as we.
I adopted a new belief back then. People are people, no matter who they fall in love with. As long as both are at an appropriate age of consent, who am I to judge the validity of their relationship, and why would it have any effect on me?
The issue of Marriage Equality goes before the Supreme Court today. I sincerely hope that equality will be recognized, for I have yet to hear a good argument against it.
Tradition is not a reason to continue an unfair practice.
What beliefs are you re-examining today?
After all, it’s all about examining our beliefs, choosing the ones that work, letting go of the ones that no longer serve us, and re-engineering the rest.