The makings of a positive friendship

BLOG | 24 JUN 2021

Some Pride Month Self-Reflections

“Why is it that, as a culture, we are more comfortable seeing two men holding guns than holding hands?” – Ernest Gaines

I can recall when I first read this quote. It was during my last year of high school. By this point I had close friends starting to ‘come out’ to those closest to them. I remember being at a friend’s place. This friend sat me and three of our other close friends down and told us their biggest secret; that they were attracted to people of the same sex. I remember my friend crying as they told us, mostly out of fear at first. I remember saying something along the lines of “I already knew, it’s fine, we all love you.” As the time passed those tears from my friend turned from tears of fear to tears of relief. Looking back, this is one of the most powerful things I have experienced, and something I will not forget.
Acceptance and commitment to being supportive of the LGBTQIA+ community came easy for me, but I do understand that for others it does not come that easy.

Growing up the word “gay” was thrown around as an insult. Often it was used to suggest that something was “lame” or “uncool.” I am almost certain I once described my school uniform as being gay. Thinking about it now, it makes no sense, but it was used almost religiously by everyone my age for quite a while. With close friends starting to identify as gay, I realised the importance of changing my language. I would catch myself frequently saying the wrong thing out of habit. It took persistence, self-awareness and a desire to be respectful, but I managed to eradicate such habits with time.

When you have been brought up in different times, cultures, and religions with different slang, values, views, and beliefs it can be hard to accept change and difference. As human beings, often our biggest fear is change and being different.

Everyone has the right to their own beliefs and values. But how can we continue to hold our own beliefs and values whilst still being mindful and respectful of human differences in changing times?

  • Listen to other people’s stories with curiosity, open ears, and an open mind
  • Be open to learning new things through education and research
  • Practice accepting that we all have differences
  • Treat others how you would like to be treated

How can those in the LGBTQIA+ community continue to be their true selves when not everyone is accepting of their differences?

  • Find your people (i.e. your key supporters/advocators who could be family, friends, or allied health etc.)
  • Advocate for your right to equality through educating others through conversation
  • Be kind to yourself (i.e. practice self-care to allow for self-love)
  • Face your fears with a mindset of “I can”

Now, back to the quote… This quote resonated with me back in high school and it continues to resonate with me today as part of my practice at Shoalhaven Psychology Services. As part of our culture at Shoalhaven Psychology Services we are inclusive and provide the same opportunities for all genders and sexual orientations. After all, one of our core values at Shoalhaven Psychology Services is EQUALITY.

At Shoalhaven Psychology Services our Psychologists are always here to listen to YOUR story.

Kaelan Jones
Psychologist

 

 

 

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