Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Musically Inspired - The Complexity of Human Behaviour

     How do we describe people? How is it possible to capture someone's entire identity in just a few words? These quizzes that ask you to describe your personality in five words - it's not possible. At least, not if you want a true understanding of them. Humans are complex, emotional and dynamic creatures. It would take years to fully understand everything that goes on inside one individual's mind. And their mind can be very different to what one might expect.
    Humans are complicated. We are constantly changing and learning as we experience the world, and the way someone might describe you now is probably very different to how they would have several years ago. Our behaviour doesn't just change over time though; it often changes dramatically depending on who we are with. The way you act with your friends is probably very different to your behaviour with your grandparents, for example. Emotions also play a huge role in how we act, including the things that affect us emotionally and how we deal with these emotions, as these are different for everyone.
     People can surprise us though. No matter how well you may think you know someone, one day they could do something entirely unexpected. The homebody books a trip around the world. The nerd gets a tattoo. Because who we are and who we want to be are not always the same thing. Sometimes it can take a long time to become comfortable showing the world who you really want to be. It can be a scary thing as well, taking an action that you know others will find strange or potentially shocking. However, it can also be liberating and triumphant and exciting.
     Perhaps it shouldn't be surprising though. People are not simple, and we all have multiple personae and attitudes. It is entirely possible for people to have oppositional behaviours that arise in different situations. And just because you suddenly act unexpectedly does not mean you are an entirely different person. Old and new versions of yourself can exist together. Identity is not clear-cut, black and white - it is constant, dynamic, varying and fluctuating. It can be just as confusing trying to understand yourself as it is to understand someone else. A single person can be confident, shy, clever, stupid, serious, funny, motivated, lazy, brave and scared. This is perfectly normal human behaviour. The world is huge and scary and exotic, and we change in order to accommodate, experience and understand it.

Song: Mz Hyde - Halestorm

Monday, 2 December 2013

The Ever Present Bigotry of Our Medieval Society

     Today I've decided to write about a topic that is a major issue in society nowadays - the LGBT community. I've never discussed homosexuality before, simply because I never felt it was something that needs to be discussed. For me, it's simple. Everyone should be allowed to love whomever they choose, regardless of that person's gender. I'm generally quite good at seeing both sides of arguments, but not in this case. I honestly cannot understand why it bothers people so much, and therefore why it is still an issue nowadays. However, for as long as it continues to be one, we should all keeping fighting for equality and an end to homophobia. Sure, we've come a long long way from where we used to be, but there are still far too many people who believe homosexuality is something evil, and far too many people suffering because of this bigotry.

     The reason I chose to write about this today was in light of Tom Daley's video, where he announces his relationship with a man (watch here). Initially, I was so pleased for him and think that this is a great example for other members of the LGBT community afraid to admit it. However, I still question why we are still living in a society where people feel the need to announce things like this. It should be something natural and accepted. The need to announce it arises from the fact that it is still considered different and unusual to so many people. We assume people are heterosexual, unless they state otherwise. But we shouldn't make any sort of assumption like this. Most of the people I know who are LGBT have never told me so explicitly, it's merely something that has been dropped into conversation. However, I am not close friends with these people, and I imagine they've all "come out" to family and friends already. But at least they don't feel the need to identify themselves in this way to everyone they meet, as they quite rightly shouldn't have to.

     What I really noticed about this video though, was the lack of identifying terms. Not once does he use terms such as "coming out", "gay" or "bisexual". He merely states that he is in a relationship with a man. He even admits to still fancying girls. And I liked the way he did this, as people shouldn't have to label or identify themselves. Some people may wish to, and that's fine, but we don't have to try to stick everyone in a box or category. Sexuality is complicated and confusing. What we may think about ourselves could be completely disproved, if we happen to meet the right person. Some people only discover their homosexuality much later in life. Personally, I've kissed girls and have "girl crushes", but would still generally identify myself as straight, as I'm primarily interested in men. But how am I to know that won't change one day? It is said that people are born homosexual, and that cannot be changed. And while I do believe this to be true, and the people who try to "cure" homosexuality are complete idiots, I think everyone is a little bisexual in one way or another. Sexuality cannot be defined in one term for the whole of your life.

     However, what has really prompted me to write this, is not Daley's video itself, but rather the reactions it has received. While plenty of people have been nothing but supportive, there are many other who are not. This article shows just a few examples of the less encouraging responses he has received. This absolutely disgusts me. Someone else's sexuality is none of your business. How does their happiness make other people so angry? I was particularly appalled by the message that said he shouldn't be representing our country. This is complete bullshit. How does his sexuality lessen his sporting ability in any way whatsoever? I simply cannot fathom what goes on in these people's heads. Everyone should have the same rights (I'm especially thinking of the marriage laws here), and be allowed to love who they want. In fact, "be allowed" isn't the right term here. No one has to give heterosexuals permission to love, so why do homosexuals need it? They should simply be able to love who they want without being judged or hated for it. I won't delve into the religious reasoning some people claim, as I could go on about that for a very long time. I'll simply ask why people allow a book that is hundreds of years old decide their opinions for them. Times have changed a lot since then.

     I could write a whole separate post about why bullying of any kind is wrong, and homophobia is a major part of this larger problem. We read so many stories about teenagers bullied about their sexuality to the point of suicide. This is just so completely and utterly wrong, there's no other way to put it. No one's life is worth any less because of who they love. It infuriates me that people can be so cruel over something which, in the larger scheme of things, is quite trivial. The entire issue surrounding homosexuality is just something that I wish was not an issue at all, but until that day comes, we need to defend this cause. But honestly, why can't we just accept everyone for who they are?
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