24 June 2012

Love is Where You Find It

As a newby to Beyond the Veil, this first post is intimidating. Here I am, surrounded by interesting, smart people, all plugged in and wanting to have meaningful discussions about important stuff. I have an extremely curious mind and try to keep up-to-date on what’s going on around the world, but I’ll be honest and admit I’m often behind on pop culture. Looking at this month’s topic I wondered what I could contribute, then decided to just jump in. After all, this is a subject I happen to have very decided views on.

Perhaps I’m showing my age, but I remember watching the Star Trek, The Next Generation episode, The Host, which first aired in 1991. In that episode Dr. Beverly Crusher falls in love with the Trill negotiator Odan, not knowing the intellect and personality she loves belongs to a symbiotic life form—the outer shell is just a host. When the host body is fatally injured, Riker carries Odan for a while, and then the Trill send a new host, a woman. I was unreasonably and totally disappointed when Dr. Crusher couldn’t get her head around the fact it was still Odan, irrespective of the outer wrapping. I’d have liked to have seen her accept that love where she found it, recognizing although the universe is a huge place, true and abiding love is rare.

Intellectually I know the producers probably couldn’t afford to have her take that path—not at that time anyway. Equally if she were a real person, in a real situation, I’d shrug and say, “She’s straight,” and leave it at that. Yet there’s a cliché I happen to believe is true—love is love. And I wish that could have been illustrated through the medium of television way back then.

This is a hard-won attitude. I come from an extremely homophobic country. When I was young ‘same-sex couple’ wasn’t an expression I’d even heard. As I got into my teens and began to understand, the civility of our society was deteriorating and it wasn’t unusual for performers to call for the death of “batty-men”, and for homosexuals to be beaten, sometimes fatally. They were relegated to the shadows, few daring to be themselves. Yet somehow, and I honestly don’t know how, I instinctively didn’t buy into the prevailing atmosphere. I couldn’t honestly judge a fellow human being for their sexuality.

I had friends I knew probably were gay but they had to pretend and, in the guys’ cases, chase the girls so as to “fit in.” Deny themselves so as not to be hurt, in some cases by their own family members. I’m so happy that most of them left the island and were able to freely be themselves. I left too, and I’m proud to now live in a country where same-sex marriages are accepted, where if one of my kids were gay or lesbian it wouldn’t mean they’d be ostracized or have to call their lover their “roommate” or “friend.”

This is a great time to believe in love, to be writing about it, feeling it, recognizing it when it comes our way. We’re not all the way there yet, but we’ve come so far and I, for one, am grateful.
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