I had the chance to be born and raised in a less complicated society. There was a great respect towards scientific education and religion was kept inside churches and homes. Religious belief was not a norm but it wasn’t forbidden either.
My parents were free thinkers and they held no prejudice against anyone. I have never encountered discrimination or bullying in my life, either against me, or against anybody else around. This wasn’t by far a perfect society but certain aspects of social behavior were missing from the everyday life.
Though homosexuality was outlawed and was considered a health problem, people were not pursued or persecuted, or seldom. Information was scarce, attention and interest in this field almost zero. My basic knowledge came mainly from literature (novels, short stories) and magazines from a neighboring country that was at the time largely opened to a wide range of information.
Since by nature I’m interested in everything concerning human behavior, feelings and diversity, I kept an open mind about gender diversity. Never had a chance to talk about, since the subject was a taboo. Even before I had read about the genetics of gender identity, I knew deep inside that this was not a personal choice and that gay people were just like anybody else. Nothing more, nothing less.
Then the revolution came, along with freedom and democracy, or least it looked like. Religion emerged from its den and claimed a bigger chunk in everyday life…then took over whatever it could, hand in hand with the mediocre politicians ruling the country. As a free thinker, I became for the first time member of a mostly silent minority. Along with religion, prejudice surfaced and the moment somebody spoke out publicly in the name of gay people, I saw the ugly face of bigotry and hate.
This was something I would’ve gladly missed. Tens of years I had been oblivious how full of prejudice my fellow countrymen were. Tens of years I’d seen no such ugliness around me, nor did I suspect that they are capable of it. My faith in humanity and the people around me was deeply affected. It still recovers from the initial blow. Ignorance had been bliss for such a long time.
Well, this is childhood’s end. No more innocence. The moment the truth was revealed, I couldn’t pretend I knew nothing about. I started to read and learn. Now there are days when what I learn about human downsides wear me down and I’m unable to read another paragraph. But I know that the dragon is still out there and it feeds on blissful ignorance. So I take a deep breath and keep on reading, writing and learning.
As long as I had no means of proper information, I had an excuse for my ignorance and naivete. Now I live in a troubled, complicated and not very functional democracy but I have access to proper information. In this case, my ignorance would be a matter of choice. I cannot afford this; people who are hurt and discriminated cannot afford my ignorance. That would only mean that I support their tormenters. I would not.
I would not silently support injustice, discrimination, murder in the name of narrow mindedness and mental comfort of people who are disrespectful towards other’s basic human rights. AWARENESS IS MY REAL CHOICE.