“P” is for People and Openness
It’s funny to look back now and think about the time when we were teenagers and we assumed that we thought we knew more about the world than what we actually did. It took a few years of traveling, going to college, working or other life changes that commonly come after attending high school to realize that we, maybe, we might not have had such a great handle on the world as we thought we did.
I’m completely embarrassed to say, but when I was a young teenager living in a small town and in my extremely closed-minded world, I felt as though I was accepting of all people, but I wrongly believed that bisexuality didn’t exist. I had shut myself off and closed my mind from any and all people who tried to tell me differently, and honestly believed that those in the bisexual community were either confused gay or lesbian individuals or attention seeking straight women. It took meeting new people and sitting down and speaking with individuals not of the small town mindset to persuade me into opening my mind and learning about those who were not like me.
I believe, from my experience in high school, that it takes exposure, education and conversation to open the minds of others. I believe that awareness is the key to acceptance, and that people should take the time to peacefully sit down with others and share their thoughts about things in a safe environment.
In commemoration with Asexuality Awareness week taking place right now, I read a Huffington Post article the other day titled, “Being Asexual In A Heteronormative World.” The article spoke about the Asexuality, which states on the website of the Asexuality Visibility and Education Network, that “unlike celibacy, which is a choice, asexuality is a sexual orientation. Asexual people have the same emotional needs as everybody else and are just as capable of forming intimate relationships.” The article went on to talk about the obstacles Asexual individuals have to over come and the struggles they go through in a heteronormative and sexually-focused society. I then looked at the comment section on Facebook underneath the story’s link.
I saw ignorant comments that denied the existence of Asexuality and undermined the struggles and obstacles that these individuals of the community faced. I was reminded of my ignorant self back in high school who had the same with those who were bisexual and realized the importance of raising awareness and encouraging education.
It’s after sitting down and learning about the world that we realize that not everyone is the same. We learn through others bringing awareness to certain issues and subjects that “we cannot put people in a binary box because we just do not fit in them,” according to a great blog post on Asexuality by the blog, Natasha Is Always Learning. We eventually learn after education that we should open our minds to new ideas and accept others for who they are instead of rejecting them because they just happen to be something that you are not, which is extremely important. Many have come to assume that we will never achieve world peace, or at least in our lifetime. However, if we take the steps to educate ourselves and others we may just come close.