There are mainly two types of articles on being different. Those articles that blatantly denounce being different based on some type of faith, belief of cultural upbringing. And the other type being the one that celebrates being different with an almost revered adoration.
Well to be honest I’m more of a rebel. I love to do things that I’m forbidden (except by law that is 😋) and overall to do things that aren’t considered mainstream. So naturally I consider myself a passionate voice of change to issues like the LGBT movement, gender equality, stereotyping and so forth.
I was in this state of mind until I was in the Royal College Pool when I came for a swim with my friend. As state college students we freeloaders get a lesser preference compared to the private coaches who pay to use the pool so we are advised to give way to incoming private swimmers. My goggles were foggy and I was halfway down my lap when I suddenly stopped.
Let me break down that 2 seconds to how my mind worked. With my poor vision I made out the shape of a swimming cap. Hence I made the connection that it was a girl. The only other girl in my vicinity was my friend and she was swimming parallel to me. This swimmer was perpendicular to me so it wasn’t my friend. So it was a female swimmer belonging to a private class.
What did I just do? I unconsciously stereotyped! Of all the people in the pool boys rarely wore swimming caps. Being afraid of what the onlookers might think of a guy bumping onto a girl I stopped. The voice of gender equality was hushed by something much more old, smart and evolved: the reflex arc.
So I thought of addressing this issue as a scientist. Analyzing just the facts with a cold heart.
At first I thought of my sister. To me she’s blood, she’s family. To psychology she’s someone with A.D.D. More commonly known as ADHD (Attention Deficient Hyperactive Disorder) I love her to the moon and back but if I just considered her as an individual her difference may or may not be advantageous to her. For example, she might get not be able to perform well at school because of getting constantly distracted. On another hand she might be an exceptional multitask-er in the future. Being able to constantly switch her concentration back and forth between several tasks.
Lost in my train of thought I wondered if this could be applied to the LGBT community. Well strictly speaking no other sexual orientation other than heterosexuality will produce offspring, leading to the continuity of a species (In species that have separate sexes). Yes there exists homosexuality in the animal kingdom but those are not reproductive behavior. Parthenogenesis, the process where reproduction occurs without fertilization too exists but this does not apply to mammals.
Next with stereotyping. Well simply put, stereotyping is a clever way to remember things in a group. Remember how we grouped animals who give birth to young ones as mammals? Animals who have feathers as birds? Well that’s stereotyping. Grouping individuals with similar characters into an easy to remember group. Same goes with today’s society. If you are having thin long eyes, chances are that you are far-east Asian.
So what is the cold hard facts tell us. Have we got it all wrong? Are those people with GOD HATE FAGS banners right?
Well for one I don’t believe in anything without evidence but in evolution we see that new, better adapted species evolved due to a change. Being different from the rest was almost always the cause for a new species. BUT that does not mean that EVERY case of being different led to an evolution. Only the advantageous ones were.
So what is the bottom-line? The final verdict?
There’s no good and bad different. Just the conditions of your surroundings. If you were born into ancient Hebrew culture and decided to come out of the closet, chances are you’d be stoned to death. A similar fate would have befallen if you’d proclaimed the sun was the center of the solar system during the Vatican golden age.
What’s considered normal now used to be ridiculous at some point or another. Question is, are you willing to wait till that time comes?