Another person's shoes

Posted: Thursday, October 14, 2010 by Travis Cody in
18

I have a great job.  I have an amazing family.  I love a Lady who loves me right back.  I survived Hodgkins Disease.  I can eat CAKE anytime I want.  I own a home.  I have friends.

I try not to borrow trouble.  


But what if any one of those things wasn't true?  What if all of them were exactly the opposite?  Or what if all those things were still true, but none of them mattered?


What if I faced discrimination simply because of a thing I could never change because that's how I was born?  


What would I do?  How would I react?  Could I live through it?  Could I deal with the harassment?  Would I have to hide?  Would I lie about who I really was?


I don't know.  I see what friends of mine go through simply because they are different.  And there I've done it.  I've used a code word.  


Different = Gay.


I have friends who are Gay.  I've always had friends who were Gay.  


And there's a part of me...a small part of me that I never acknowledged before.  It must have always been there.  How could I not be aware of it?  Why would it take reading some really ugly comments to realize that, at the age of 46, having known Gays all my life...why would I only now uncover this truth about myself?


I read a heinous comment about Tyler Clementi, and my mind silently said, "I'm so glad I never had to be subject to the kind of discrimination that would make me feel that the only escape from it was suicide".


As we count down to Blog Blast for Peace on 4 November 2010, I don't know what it says about me that I'm grateful for an accident of birth that made me a straight male and acceptable in our homophobic society.


But now I've acknowledged that I feel that.  So now instead of saying silently that I'm glad it's not me, I think I want to say loudly, "What if it were me?"


How would I feel to be discriminated against just for being who I am?


Can I put myself in another person's shoes and try to imagine the pain of being ostracized simply for being?


"I'm not concerned with your liking or disliking me...All I ask is that you respect me as a human being."  Jackie Robinson



18 comments:

  1. ANNA-LYS says:

    Lovely thoughts, Travis
    and tnx for sharing them

  1. Debra says:

    I hate what happened to that young man...I hate that people can hate each other with such passion.

    God help us all...

    Blessings Trav, deep and moving post.

  1. Ya know, despite our differences, we are all basically the same. We eat, sleep, breathe, and dream.

    What happened to that young man is inexcusable. Prayers for his loved ones.

  1. It's that 'human being' part that people forget . . . to the point that individuals can even forget it about themselves. Thanks for you post, Trav. I'm happy, too, but I do not get to eat cake whenver I want to!!! ;-)

  1. Jeni says:

    Very good words, Travis. How to get rid of the prejudices that exist in the world is a huge task but one that I think should be easy to do if all were to follow the words of "Love your brother (or sister) as yourself." Sadly, many may espouse those words but can't seem to follow through with that command as they still hate others based on things like race, ethnicity, religion and sexual preference. Why some think discrimination of others is the way to live their lives is beyond my reasoning and especially when it is based on things people have no control over, no ability to change, because they are born that way. And when it surfaces in such hateful ways as to cause another to take their own life, there really has to be something wrong deep inside those who created that kind of chaos.

  1. It's not that diversity need not be divisive; it's that it SHOULD not. It is, however sadly and unfortunately, human nature to be divisive. I know how judgmental I can be; the difference is that I strive to overcome it. Others do not; they embrace their hatred.

    I have been the "different" one, not because of sexuality but because of culture and skin color. It's difficult to be "different" when the world around you seems to be white or Christian or heterosexual. Those who can see past those things and rise above those things are the true winners.

  1. Trav,great posting. I did a Friday Flashback last week on Golch Central that was along a similar line of thought.I have a gay family friend,had several gay co-workers and for them to be treated any differnt that "strait" people is not in my volcabulary.

  1. Barb says:

    It is ghastly what they did to this young man, and sadly, many others before him, yet sadder still, more yet to come.

    I don't know why, but when I read your post my mind went to the Book of Ecclesiastes. Hatred is not new. Not one of us is the same as any other. Mankind as a whole has never yet been able to embrace our differences nor do I think it likely that we will. There is nothing new under the sun.

    "Vanity of vanities," says the Preacher, "Vanity of vanities! All is vanity." Ecclesiastes 1:1 (written by King Solomon, seeker of wisdom, about 1,000 years BC)

    That is not at all to say that I think we should not continue to try to embrace our differences. I do! However, I suppose that after 56 years of living I merely do not expect it to happen here on this earth.

  1. Travis, your words are spoken with love and compassion. Violation of privacy and the ultimate measure of meanness is the reason this beautiful young man died. There is no excuse for treating any person this way.

  1. Acceptance is one of the first things parents should teach their children. I always ask myself what if? I have taught my son that. And it shows.
    Great post once again Travis.
    <><

  1. Akelamalu says:

    This is a wonderful, thought provoking post Trav and I thank you for sharing it. x

  1. As a teenager growing up in the Bible belt I was convinced being gay was just wrong. Now I know how much biology plays a role, and I've met many gay folks who I get along with wonderfully. I realized they're not different after all. Good, bad, loving, and mean. There's all of that in more in every human being, no matter their orientation or race or whatever else there is.

  1. Cherie says:

    My heart bleeds for all the people that we don't hear about. It happens every day. It just doesn't usually make the news. And it's not just with homosexuals. It's anyone who is perceived to be "different." The mob mentality culls them out of the pack for "special" attention. The problem now is that we have the technology to make the act of public humiliation that much more public.

  1. I love your introspective days. Honest and raw. Universal thoughts.

    Clementi's story touched a nerve in so many. I can't stand the thought of this brilliant young man being in that much emotional pain. I hope he is at peace now...I wish he could still be here.
    That is the tragedy.

  1. Jamie says:

    Travis you have said the absolutely necessary. We are all much more alike than we are different. To hate someone for being straight or being among the GLBT community is to hate someone for having blue eyes or being left handed. We are all trying to find those we can love who will love us in return. How can anyone be against that?

  1. I haven't been gay, but I've tried suicide due to years of persecution, myself. Although I did manage to survive, I'm well aware of my own, deeply wounded nature. Sometimes "survive" is relative.
    No one should be treated with such derisiveness and disdain. No one should be hunted as a target for scorn and violence. No one.

  1. This is such an important post! Thank you for sharing your feelings. (And because you've written so movingly, you deserve a piece of that cake you eat anytime you want!)