Wednesday, July 29, 2009

An Exercise in Gay Acceptance for Heterosexuals

This video is an exercise that was given at a seminar in how it feels to be isolated and discriminated against as a gay person. This video is an exercise to let straight people imagine what it would feel like if the world was gay, and heterosexuals considered deviant outcasts. It is eye opening video into heterosexual privilege and highly recommended!

12 comments: said...

I saw that video just the other day and couldn't help but wonder what sort of group this was - any ideas?

I think it may be PFLAG. I noted one of the audience members wearing a red ribbon as well.

Anonymous said...

would like to see the same thing for transsexuals..

Anonymous said...

Wow, interesting thought experiment. Flip the tables and see how it feels. That's one of the things we're missing in this society, empathy.

Queers United said...

Jay - at first i thought it was some kinda liberal church, the guy seems preacherish.

Dee I- believe I posted something similar for trans people about a year ago. Let me do some digging, but if there isn't you are right there should be.

truth - you are absolutely right, it gets people really thinking

Anonymous said...

this is one of the most beautiful things I have seen

Nox said...

It applies to pretty much every minority group that's ostracized. and every version I've heard runs about the same, and breaks my heart every time.

Anonymous said...

Is there a transcript for interested deaf persons?

Nox said...

@Anon: enjoy (forgive any mistakes, aimed at accurate transcript, rather than fixing the meaning)

So if you're comfortable closing your eyes, do so.
And think back into your own life to when you were 13 years old.

Now for the sake of the exercise, I'd like you to pretend that, regardless of your sexual orientation, you've always been attracted to people of the other sex. If you're a woman sitting in this audience, your first crush was on a boy, or on a man. Likewise if you're a man sitting in this audience, your first crush was on a woman or on a girl.

But let's pretend that when you were a baby you were adopted. You were adopted by either a gay male or lesbian couple. Don't try and figure it out, just go with your feelings. Just go with your feelings. What would it feel like to be raised by either two women or two men. These people love you very much. For the sake of the fantasy pick either two women or two men for yourself. They love you very much. they want you to be happy. But they have an idea of what's going to make you happy.

now in this fantasy family, you have an older brother or sister who is 17 years old, perhaps, who's openly gay. You have an openly gay or lesbian brother or sister and they bring home a boyfriend or a girlfriend, and that boyfriend or girlfriend is always welcome at the dinner table. their photograph is taken. people wait up when they come back from dances to find out what a great time they had. and they, and, you notice that people are looking at you and they're sort of letting you know that they expect that of you too. That if you always want to be cherished in this family then you'd better bring home someobody of the same sex. that's what we want for you, that's what you need to do to make us proud.

What would it feel like if every billboard that you passed featured two people of the same sex. If every comic book hero was gay. what would if feel like if every station you turned on the radio or television, featured gay people; every movie you went to featured gay people. What would that feel like? What would it feel like if your homeroom teacher was gay? and the librarian, and the principal, and the guidance counselor? what would it feel like if everyone in school thought that you were too. Now not everybody in this fantasy is gay.

There are people who are sexually interested in, attracted to, people of the other gender. You'll learn this word later in your life, they're called heterosexuals. Most people though, when you're youger, mean people particularly, they don't call them heterosexual, they call them "breeders". "Make love, not breeder babies" the bumper stickers says. When a couple, uh when a handful of breeders try to get legislation passed so that they wouldn't lose their apartment, or their job, you saw a bumper sticker that said "Kill a breeder for Christ". "These people want special rights for what they do in the bedroom the night before". "Breeders"; the boy thought to be a breeder is the boy hit in the head with the dodgeball in 7th grade. Your best friend in 7th grade whispered in your ear that god would vomit in the the presence of a breeder. That's what you think you are.

It's tuesday night, the second week of school, the phone rings, you're at home, come to the phone and talk to sombody. If you're a man sitting in this room, talk to Bob. Bob's 16, he's on the wrestling team and student government, and Bob wants to take you to your first high school dance. Bob and his friend have seen you walking in the halls and Bob and they think you're cute. If you're a woman sitting in this room, it's Susan. Susan sits next to you in homeroom, she's been smiling at your for a week. She wants to take you to the dance. Now on friday night, the gymnasium is filled with same sex couples. Right, you're fourteen years old, and by the end of the evening you're in the arms of a person of the same sex. Slow dance after slow dance. They're nuzzling your neck, they're whispering in your ear, "are you having fun?". How do you feel? and who do you tell how you feel?

Nox said...

And now they take you to the door and Bob takes you in his arms, or Susan takes you in her arms, and they pull you nervously, but exitedly close to them, and they give you your first good night kiss. And you walk inside and your gay family says to you "honey, you look so cute". "tell us all about it, did you have fun?".

Do you think there's a book on being a heterosexual in your Highschool library? And if there is, do you have the courage at fourteen to take it off the shelf and hand it to the gay librarian? And pull the little index card out and write your name in ink on it and risk it for the next three or four years of your life: somebody walks through the halls of the school saying "guess who checked out the breeder book". So you get a boyfriend if you're a boy, or a girlfriend if you're a girl, and you date them, and you go to gay movies and you hold their hands, and you learn how to french kiss. and you bring them home to meet your family, and you say I love you.

And you go to college hoping things will be different. but in college everyone seems to be dating someone of the same sex. Except for a local group of kids, heterosexual students, who gather in the student union periodically for meeting, but every time they put an announcement, somebody tears it down or writes breeder accross it. And so you date somebody of the same sex because, all of these heterosexual students, no one wants them in their dorm room. and no one wants them in their social groups. and no one wants to sit next to them in class.

As a junior you finally have your first gay sexual experience, how do you feel about that? As a senior you're walking down the street and you see a newstand ahead of you it's on the corner, it's a gay newsstand, but every newsstand is a gay newstand. And there's a gay man standing at it and he's pointing and laughing at something and as you get closer you find out what he's pointing and laughing at. there's a little stack of newspapers that says "heterosexual community news". He elbows you and he says "what do you think of that?".

And when he walks away, what do you do? well you reach down, you grab that breeder newspaper, and you stick it in between two gay magazines, and you hurry home and you lock the door to your room, and you think of a hiding place, perhaps under your mattress, where you can tuck it, because if your gay roommate finds it you're out on your ear; Everyone's going to know about you.

And you find, on page six, an advertisment for a bar, where people just like you gather every night. Men who are attracted to women, and women who are attracted to men, gather in this bar, and you want to go, you want to take that bus accross town, in a section of town you might not otherwise go, but you've got to go meet these people because you may make a new friend. You may finally be able to tell somebody who you are. You finally get up the nerve to go to the bar, you walk in, then you order a drink and then a second and then a third, and you notice that there are men and women laughing and talking and dancing together. And an attractive person of the other sex smiles at you and walks over and introduces themselves to you. And they ask you to dance. How do you feel about that?

Nox said...

(last segment)
And the next day when your gay friend says to you "boy are you in a good mood, where were you last night" what do you tell them? After dating this person for a long period of time, they say "well let's live together". well how're going to do that? How are you going to live with this person and never have your family over? Your gay friends, and your gay family? well you get a two bedroom apartment. You put your possesions in one bedroom and they put their possesions in the other bedroom. and always pull the shades at night. And if you're reall nervous get two telephones. And don't let anyone at work call you on the wrong line; and never pick up their telephone. And don't put their picture on your desk at work. And don't call them from the office because somebody might overhear you. And always bring a gay date to office functions. And introduce them as your friend. And maybe you'll double date, just to make sure no one knows. now how do you feel about that?

And you walk home one day, on your way to your apartment from work, and somebody you barely know comes up to you and says "hey did they make it? how are they?". And you find the most important person in your life was taken to the hospital eight hours earlier, and no one called you, because no one knew. Because there was no ID on their person that said "in case of an emergency, call" you because you were afraid that if the wallet or purse was stolen, you would be found out. and there they are on the other side of the plate glass window in the intensive care unit, fighting for their life all by themselves. And you've got to decide, do you go in and let the gay Dr's and gay nurses know that this person laying there is your "most significant other". The person you love most in the whole world. This person of the other sex. Or do you worry about the reaction and just sit outside and wait. And if you sit outside that room and wait, can you call your gay office mate, or can you call your gay office manager, and tell them who you are and why you won't be into work for the rest of the week?

When you feel comfortable doing so could you open your eyes? and if you can think of a word or two to describe the feelings that came up for you, could you share a word or two? what did you feel?

[???-can't hear it]
Speaker: (repeating for the mic?) You felt cringing. what did that feel like?
Speaker: (repeating) all the time it hurt

Speaker: who else, yes?
Speaker: (repeating) you felt nervous.
Speaker: tell me about that.
Woman1: uhm, I just had the sense that someone or something was going to get me all the time
Speaker: (repeating) was going to get you all the time.
Speaker: watch over your shoulder? watch what you say? be careful about not betraying your truth? right? thank you.

Speaker: who else? yes?
Speaker: (repeating) you felt fear.
Speaker: what did that feel like?
Woman2: I couldn't move or I couldn't do certain things that I wanted to do because, uhm, because I would be found out.
Speaker: (repeating) because you would be found out.
Speaker: and what would happen to you if you were found out?
Woman2: well, uhm, I might lose friends
Speaker: (repeating) might lose friends...
Woman2: and my family...
Speaker: (repeating) you might lose your family
Woman2: my job... or...
Speaker: (repeating) and your job
Woman2: or.. all of it.
Speaker: all because of what?
Woman2: all because I was relating to someone of the sa.. of the opposite sex
Speaker: and why were you relating to them?
Woman2: because I loved them
Speaker: (repeating) because you loved them.
Speaker: and why did you love them?
Woman2: (sigh) well I don't know why, I just did
Speaker: that's right
Woman2: I just did
Speaker: that's right, you don't know why
Woman2: no

Speaker: you don't know why. why am I different? Why can't I create feels for these people of the other se.., it would've been so easy for me. If I could've created erotic feeling for women I wouldn't be gay would I?

Queers United said...

Nox that's so sweet of you to write it all down, I looked for a transcript but couldn't find one. But now we have one yay :)

Ahuv said...

Video was removed from youtube. Any idea of a copy?

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