People Are People

There is a time in our lives where meeting someone we may be attracted to leads to some somewhat embarrassing moments. That particular moment is when you approach someone at a bar or social setting and ask them out only to learn that they are gay or lesbian. Immediately the apologies and blushed faces are apparent where the brain exclaims, “I wish there were labels to identify who is who?”  Our obsession with labels or our own personal gaydar has become slightly problematic that when someone hears pansexual, gender non-binary or aromantic. It becomes a lesson defining moment sometimes leaving us more confused than educated. Even for the LGBT community, such labels create a learning moment. At least LGBT members embrace most anything thrown at them to learn and assimilate. It is a shame that same quality isn’t shared in the heterosexual community as a whole.

But when labels transfer away from sexual identity towards registered offenders, those on parole, individuals with criminal records, or just everyday humanity, then the labels become forms of weapons with mass destruction appeal. Often we hear of the stereotypical and somewhat sexist, racist or name-calling tone of “Tyrone, that black dude that looks like he was just released from prison” or “Chris, the guy that looks like a molester.”  There is no basis as to why people enjoy appalling and unpleasant descriptive values when attempting to describe one another. But such sarcasm spills over without defense from humanity to uncomfortably laugh at such descriptors. It is slightly similar to how Nazi’s attempted to label Jewish citizens by nose size, eye and hair color, or particular skull features. It was all hocus-pocus noise however people actually believed it – and some supremacists still do today.  Perhaps our obsession to label is a convenience? Somewhat like unofficial nicknames were given as a child that stuck with us. However, if someone has a criminal record, is a registered offender, or is a member of the LGBT community shouldn’t be the sole basis to stigmatize or label individuals. Doing so is not only wrong and hurtful but is nothing more than adult versions of bullying. The past is the past, but adults should learn to act like responsible adults.

I don’t introduce my friend Martin as, “this is my black friend Martin.” Instead, I introduce as “this is Martin.”   I don’t say, “this is my dike friend Carol.” Instead, I say, “this is Carol.” If an individual wants to learn more about them instead it is an LGBT or perhaps rumor that need put to rest, there are times and appropriate places to continue that conversation as long as it is respectful and allows open dialog.

Recently there was a discussion about how to label registered sex offenders.  This was perhaps a thorny issue to tackle. However, I strongly feel and suggest that all forms of labels that diminish the humanity value offer more harm than good. I suggested, “this is Steve” followed by “someone affected by the registry.” That way the conversation can begin if Steve is a registered offender or if Steve has a family member on the registry. But we will constantly learn that ill winded people will suggest “Steve, that dude that looks like a creeper.”  We see the postings and hear the noise all the time yet do very little to advocate or redirect improved language. Comedy is one thing if you are a skillful comedian. However, there is nothing funny about the misuse of labels and how it stigmatizes others.

Gender may create a bit of an issue for many trying desperately to become politically correct. First of all, there is no political correctness in the LGBT world. It is learned as you go because diversity knows no limits. The term mister goes a long way but can be interpreted as differences between LGBT members. However, straight men shouldn’t begin throwing the enthusiastic term of girlfriend around unless you are sensibly fashionable, have perfect teeth, and can recite all song lyrics by Madonna. I have discovered that titles should be a doctor, professor, queen, princess, mom, dad or other obtainable and qualified appropriate titles. Sure, the LGBT community does occasionally throw the term Miss Thing around, but in a lighthearted joking manner. The LGBT community is one of the communities that embraced people of color, those affected by HIV or AIDS, the homeless, transgendered, convicted, and registered offenders. Why? Because it was those labels and human beings that were shunned and abandoned as a second-class citizen. While the heterosexual community tends to forget its cruel past, the LGBT community continually reminds its members to not forget how we got there and keep moving forward. That is the real gay agenda to allow everyone to become inclusive and break down barriers that divide us.

There was a time where there was a gay club, and a lesbian bar usually separated miles apart from one another (because gay men could figure out where to put the pool table as it would take away from the dance floor). Today, the gay clubs are united dance clubs where people of all backgrounds are free to be themselves and sometimes experience conditions they never thought would be mentally possible. You don’t turn a person gay, lesbian, or bisexual. Just as you don’t make a criminal or sexually deviant. People make mistakes and poor judgments. Pay the price and move on. There are situations no matter how brief that people experience for themselves. Labels create obscurity of learning from one another. But labels are an eerie reminder of the pink triangles during the Holocaust. Never again will LGBT members be labeled and ridiculed by policy.

The musical artist Depeche Mode wrong a song called People Are People. The lyrics are:

People are people so why should it be

You and I should get along so awfully

So we’re different colors

And we’re different creeds

And different people have different needs

It’s obvious you hate me 

Though I’ve done nothing wrong

I never even met you

So what could I have done

I can’t understand

What makes a man

Hate another man

Help me understand

These lyrics from the 1980’s describe a time where racism, religion, sexuality, and only being different created a mound of labels. Perhaps people should learn from those lyrics as to become less obsessed with labels and more driven to become assimilated into a society that embraces and accepts them for face value.

Laughter Is The Best Medicine

Joan Rivers said it best, “comedy is about everyone laughing to deal with issues.” That always resonates with me because we have honestly forgotten how to laugh. We have become so politically divided mixed with safe spaces that I fear that comedy is officially dead. Where is the freedom of humor and expression? Other comedians have mentioned similar negative cultures at the way we dissect comedy or simple jokes. Not all of us are born to be comedic. However, we should be mindful that having some laughter is critical towards our survival of dealing with pain and issues.

I watched a recent comedy show by the talented Lewis Black. During his appearance, he mentions that telling a joke about President Donald Trump isn’t funny anymore. Lewis went on to say that simple jokes have become toxic and divisive. There was a time where we could openly joke and speak without becoming a headline of misinterpreted hatred or labeled as discriminatory. This is where comedy and the ability to laugh has become a secret society or deemed not appropriate because it may affect someone. Folks, we must become a bit more thick-skinned than taking everything personal or literally. Humorous stories have been replaced with hurtful gossip and accusations where only the professional comedian is allowed to tell the joke; not before feeling the audience reaction. In some cases, the joke may be bleeped or edited for a broader audience. Based on that path we have censored laughter or regulated it. This is sad as an American in that should be living in a free speech world. Instead, our national comedic value has become an innuendo or suggestive setup where we are supposed to understand the punch without actually saying it.

Perhaps Joan Rivers was right to say we have become uptight assholes. Her brazen comedic talent was in your face like a therapist forcing a patient to deal with the core issue. George Carlin also tacked the same attitude values of comedy, Carlin pointed to nervous laughs because of how others may judge us. The point Carlin stressed, was to laugh and move past the problem. We have become ultra sensitive and critical of anything. Safe spaces do not facilitate or help to deal with issues. Safe spaces are no different than those suffering from PTSD that refuse to immerse themselves in situations. Therefore safe spaces only foster isolation and depressive behaviors.

It is time for us to laugh again and stop attempting the utopian society of false free expression. Naturally, there is a time and a place for humor, but sometimes it is best for us to relax a bit and become human rather than preprogrammed and neutral. You won’t find honesty in that value statement. If laughter is known as the best medicine, then we certainly have run out of supply or the ingredients to help heal the world.

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