National Coming Out Day came and went on Friday October 11, 2019 and I didn’t even know about it until I crawled into bed and saw a good friend’s Facebook post.
That’s a sign of my straight/heterosexual privilege - I get to go through my days, almost every day, without thinking about my sexuality and definitely without announcing my sexuality to those around me because it is assumed. I don’t have to worry that my family members, friends, boss, co-workers, clients, children’s friends’ parents may not accept me or my kids because I’m straight.
In the fall of 2019, a heterosexual man said to me, ‘I don’t get it. Why is it so hard to come out - it’s 2019. I don’t care what someone does behind closed doors.’
This is now 2020 and this is about closed doors, but in a different sense. This is about acts violence and discrimination and inaccurate representation in media and unequal financial, career, travel, property rental/ownership, tax, immigration, adoption, education, political, insurance, access to healthcare (and more) rights. There are deep and extensive social systems in place that make life harder, cause significant harm and oppress certain social groups and identities.
That is a fact in 2020.
Psychology, coaching, leadership development, therapy, counselling, healthcare, healing arts...fields that involve personal development, health, well-being...we've been neglecting and ignoring this intersection for far too long. In fact, we've been conditioned to unconsciously (and consciously) use a narrow biased reference point of 'normality', health, well-being and success that excludes, marginalizes and pathologizes wildly healthy, dynamic, necessary, life-giving qualities within individuals and groups of people in society. As a result, we are causing dis-ease in and death of individuals and groups of people. We cannot be integrity with health and healing unless we are truly contributing to health, healing, integration of the whole of life and recognizing this intersection between individual suffering and social bias.
My invitation to you with this musing is to provoke some new awareness around your own definitions of health, well-being, success. What do you marginalize or pathologize within you - that you tell yourself is not acceptable, not 'healthy', not welcome, not ok - as a result of what society values? What do you marginalize or pathologize in people around you - that you tell yourself is not acceptable, not 'healthy', not welcome, not ok - as a result of what society values?
For a deeper dive, check out David Bedrick's book Revisioning Activism: Bringing Depth, Dialogue and Diversity to Individual and Social Change
Also, it's Pride Month in several countries, if you are straight, cis-gendered (meaning your gender identity matches your sex assigned at birth) I've offered some resources below that may create some awareness around the privilege we hold in this world.
And one more worthy watch is the Disclosure Documentary on Netflix - "A look at Hollywood's depiction of transgender people and the impact of this on American culture."