It is important to remember that the following blog is not the views of CARE, but are the views of its President/ Founder Christopher Hall. The following is a blog in which he has taken the last 2 weeks to prepare for. In those two weeks, he had set a goal of attending as many bear and trans meetings as he possibly could. It was his mission to learn more about the smaller community networks within the larger LGBT spectrum. "We often fail to see similarities within ourselves and our own community. If we are able to find even a single commodity that we happen to share, with those we never thought about having common interest with, then it is my belief that we will begin to appreciate the few similarities that we do recognize a lot more than we sometimes do.", says Hall. The rest of the this blog is Chris's experience in these past two weeks.
As an individual who has never set a New Year's resolution, I am for some reason compelled to do so this year. Often times, New Year's resolutions are set to better ourselves whether it be our weight, our financial well-being, schooling, or any other area of life, and in sharing my resolution with all of you, I hope that people will see that such resolutions are more about others just as much as they are about ourselves.
In 2010, I will be participating in several activities that are new to me. Some of these areas, such as the bear and trans community, will be areas that I am comfortable with, but I do plan to challenge my own biases of certain groups that I am currently uncomfortable with. In order to grow, I truely believe we must put ourselves in "akward" positions. If we hang with only those who are like us, we are leading our lives with room for the exclusion of others. If we are a true LGBT community, we need to socialize more outside of our own comfort zone with those that identify differently. I understand that the support of others who identify with our scenario is something that is needed in life, but let us live life with a more balanced network to work on the seclusion of others that I was talking about.
Some individuals may think they hold no biases and that they are against no group due to a lack of understanding, but I ask that each of you look deep within yourselves as I think each of us hold the elements to be biased more than we lead ourselves to believe. Think about how you feel towards religion, pedifiles, those with a need for a sexual appetite, and other areas of life. We probably all hold biases to some degree, but that is inevitable. As long as the effort not to be biased exists within our very soul, that is where the growth to become a better person will occur. Once we accept our biases, our prejudices, and our judgments that we put upon others, it is then our job to work on these issues and come up with solutions for them.
None of us will ever fully understand one another. Whether we are both bears, both trans individuals, or a combination of the two. Our understanding of the human mind can only go as far as we seek. My first blog, as promised, is about the comparison of the trans community and the bear community, as I felt they are both a minority within a minority that is supressed by their own majority. The majority in this instance is the rest of the LGB population.
That in itself is a major common point in which we must not overlook. Not all individuals will agree that they are suppressed by the community, but many would. As stated earlier, no two people will fully understand one another and that is because no two people think alike nor do they experience the same life events that make them the person they are today.
An interesting talking point that I found intriguing is our use of terminology. In the trans community the difference between transgender and transexual is debatable. Well, in the bear community the term cub and bear is also debatable. It all depends on who you ask and both groups had seemed to agree that this was true. I think this goes beyond our community to encompass all of humanity, but that is exactly what I mean. We are much more alike than we think. Yes, we are different, but who is not?
Speaking of terminology, it is important to realize that the term bear is a noun while the term transgender is an adjective used to describe what kind of person one identifies as. For instance a gay man can be a bear. Gay is their adjective, but yet the term bear is more of a person, place, thing or idea and therefore constitutes it as a noun.
Sadly we put a weight on certain issues as if one is worse than the other. For instance, I have a friend who smokes. He said, "at least I am not an alcoholic" as if it were worse than his own habits. Is it? Or do we often look for faults in others to justify our own doing such as the religious community often does towards the LGBT community, a biased that I myself plan to work on. I think consuming any product that has the potential to kill, should be on the same level and one should not be above the other. No community is better than another. We are an LGBT community who needs the help of our straight allies as well.
With each passing day, I sit and wonder about the many challenges of life that is thrown in front of each and every one of us. Some of us embrace these challenges with a silver spoon. Not to say those individuals do not face obstacles beyond their own control, but it is thought to be that they face problems less often than those without such said spoon. Do they? I equate having a silver spoon to a certain area of life. For instance, singers were granted with a silver spoon for their gift to sing, authors for their gift to write, and much more. What remains to be an issue for many is their ego and that is something we must all work on. Again we may not think so, but we do to some degree. Some more obvious than others, yes, but ahead of us all is twork to become more inclusive and to be more understanding towards others that will never stop.
What are some similarities that you see within the bear and trans community? Have the communities ever come together to socialize? I ask that you remain positive in your responses as the purpose of this blog is to truely see our connections within our own selves while connecting it to all of humanity.