It’s okay to be different

So I’ve been thinking about Orlando a lot this past week. I didn’t say anything about it last week because I just felt so helpless. I mean, I’m Canadian, it’s not as if US politicians are going to care if I call them up and say “for fuck’s sake fix your fucking gun control laws.” Besides, if those laws were going to get fixed, it would have happened after Sandy Hook.

Easy access to guns is only one of the problems, anyway. I believe the root causes of Orlando were a horrible mix of homophobia, toxic masculinity, racism, and possibly transphobia/transmisogyny. Let’s not forget that the murderer attacked Pulse on Latin night. I don’t know if that was intentional or coincidental, but either way it was devastating to the Latin community. All of these people, all of their hopes and dreams, all of the good they could have done in the world, are gone because some asshole with a gun hated gay people.

I can’t do shit about another country’s gun laws, but here’s what we can all do: tell people it’s okay to be different. Tell yourself it’s okay to be different too. Who does it harm to let gay people, bisexual people, pansexual people, queer people and everyone else who isn’t exclusively straight be who they are? Harming people is what makes someone a bad person, not being gay. Your sexual orientation has all the moral weight of your food preferences: none whatsoever. Being gay isn’t just morally neutral, it’s morally irrelevant. It simply has nothing to do with whether you’re a good person.

Whether you’re gay, trans, non-binary, a furry, a leather fetishist, a pervert in general or completely uninterested in kink, you are okay. If you have sex with strangers, with your friends, with multiple partners, with just one partner, or no one at all, you are okay. If you are asexual, grey-a, demisexual, you are okay. If you are mentally ill, just a little odd, neurodivergent, especially sensitive, socially awkward, you are okay. If you are a total dork, if you go hard when you love a game, a book, a movie, a tv show, if you never want to leave your workshop or your art studio, you are okay.

You are not bad or wrong because you’re different.

Here’s something else we can do: tell men it’s okay to have feelings. Raise boys to know it’s okay to have feelings. It’s not a coincidence that nearly all mass shootings are perpetrated by men. Something is terribly wrong with the way we as a society tell men they have to be and what we tell them the consequences of failing to measure up are. Men die of depression because admitting that you’re having a hard time and you need help is considered “unmanly.” Men hate themselves for being sensitive or nurturing or noncompetitive or god forbid, submissive because those things are seen as “unmanly”.

Guys, it’s okay to not be a robot. It’s okay to tell society to go fuck itself. You have the right to have feelings and be vulnerable. People who tell you otherwise are assholes who aren’t worth your time.

One last thing: fellow straight people, this blood is on our hands. Gay people did not teach the murderer that being gay is punishable by death. That was us. When you see homophobia, call that shit out.