LGBTQ pride month: An invitation to truly accept our differences
We are currently building a more pleasant, more open, and inclusive society for everyone. Now we are more respectful of our differences. The celebration of LGTBQ pride month in June is proof of that.
However, we continue hearing phrases such as: "It's ok that they are "like this," but it would be better if they wouldn't show it so much, they should hide it a little bit." "He shouldn't be so sensitive." "I wish she was more feminine." "I don't care what others do with their lives, but I wouldn't be please if one of my children tells me they are lesbian or gay." "Very respectable and all, but I don't accept that."
You may feel uncomfortable reading these sentences because you don't agree with some people's choices or haven't heard these words from someone you know or love. You might have made similar comments in the past or have similar thoughts. These phrases usually come from friends or family, making it much more painful.
Conditional acceptance at the end feels like disapproval, and although adolescents and young people have this feeling more often, it can be experienced at any time in life. So today, I would like to invite you to accept our differences truly. To put aside the need for categories or social labels and focus on taking the time to get to know and love others just the way they are.
According to Taylor (2001), recognition is a vital human need, not merely a courtesy that we owe to others or a pledge of kindness from "good people." It's a crucial human need, is intimate, is personal, and is part of the unique history of each human being. It has a strong connection with identity and self-recognition. It is built-in while we connect with others through self-affirmation and self-discovery. When it arises, it's vulnerable, and it is exposed to the kind of recognition that can be obtained from others. That is mutual recognition in the words of Ricœur (2006). Therefore, recognition as a vital human need is public. It is not enough for a human being to build his identity and self-recognition by himself. People need to be able to express their need for recognition and recognize others and recognize themselves in them.
Mutual recognition is based on the idea that no human being should be isolated, on the sidelines, or excluded. People are worthy because they are human beings. This type of recognition allows people to flourish as the best version of themselves and be proud of their personalities. So, mutual recognition goes through visibility, making yourself visible to yourself and others. To recognize is to see again with genuine interest. Seeing again is trying to see with other eyes, with the eyes of the other.
Today I invite you to recognize others truly. To approach other people, greet them, talk to them, and listen to them. Spend time listening and understanding. Take the risk of getting to know people, so they stop being strangers. Human connection starts with truly accepting and valuing our differences.
Levinas, Emmanuel. (1982). Ethical and infinite. Madrid, Spain: Fuenlabrada.
Mélich, J. C. (1994). From stranger to accomplice: Education in everyday life. Barcelona, Spain: Editiorial anthropos.
Nussbaum, Martha C. (2001). Landscapes of thought. The intelligence of emotions. Editorial Paidós Ibérica S.A., Barcelona Spain.
Taylor, Charles (2001) Multiculturalism and "the politics of recognition" Essay by Charles Taylor. Mexico: economic culture fund.