For all of human history we have sought to understand love. It is an emotion. It compels us to greatness, but it can also lead to ruin. It can be tragic, but also irreplaceable. It is simultaneously universal, but also ineffable. One thing is for sure however, love comes in many many different forms.
Family. Friends. Partners. Love has woven itself into the very fabric of society.
And with this, you would think that the ability to love whomever we wanted would be a given in day-to-day life. Sadly, we are not there yet. But we are working towards it.
For proof of that, I look no further than myself and my own learning experience. Growing up, I didn’t think of love beyond that of love between a man and a woman. My parents, family, and friends; that was all that I saw, and so that was what I thought the norm was.
This was certainly evident with how my friends and I treated the word “gay”. Growing up, being called gay was considered an insult. It was thrown like one. And because of that, it was received as such. I’m ashamed to say that I participated in that practice growing up. I contributed to a culture that degraded being gay and created an environment of fear around being gay.
I was wrong, short-sighted, and mean. I caused pain by saying those hurtful words. And for that, I am sorry. I can be better than that.
And I think I’ve made progress. Which is what gives me hope.
I have had the pleasure of interacting with the LGBTQ+ community. I’ve made friends, some of whom I would count as my closest of friends.
It is through interacting with them that I have come to understand the challenges they face. As a cisgender heterosexual Asian male in Hong Kong, I have enormous privilege. I can be myself in public. I can walk down the street hand-in-hand with my significant other, give them a kiss, and no one would give us a second glance. That is a privilege that not many of my LGBTQ+ friends can say they have.
The ability to live and love life to the fullest, regardless of who you are. Ultimately when we talk about equality, acceptance, and inclusion; I think this is what it boils down to. It’s an over-simplification, and a lot of work still needs to be done. We have a long, arduous, and complex journey ahead of us. But together we can get there, and I genuinely believe that we will be better for it.
There was an exchange I saw, that I think captures this sentiment especially well:
Essek: “This world was so much easier when it was black and white." Beau: “But it’s so much more beautiful in all the shades of colors."
And what could be more beautiful than love? ❤️