Sometimes, my greatest writing inspiration comes from other blogs I read on a consistent basis, most of which are listed under "Favorite Sites," along the left-hand side.
This past weekend, I read an uplifting and hopeful post about gay people, that gave me pause at the end. It talked about young gays and lesbians being more self-confident than in the past, requiring fewer resources at a post-secondary institution, because the environment they grew up in was more accepting of them. (Unfortunately, for reasons that should be obvious, this hasn't been the case so much for those raised in rural areas.)
Then, to paraphrase, the blogger wrote that gay people appear to hate themselves only a little; "they have never hated themselves less in history than they do now."
I know what the blogger meant, and I was encouraged by his words and sentiments. This, after all, is what my blog is about: trying to help gay and lesbian people move from a place of self-loathing to one of self-respect and self-love. And I've also seen changes in young people, who seem to be freer to be true to themselves than I was at their ages, which is most gratifying. That's progress, and I applaud it.
That said, let's be clear: self-hate is still self-hate. I don't think you can hate yourself a little and love yourself the rest. It doesn't work that way. It would be like saying, most of the time, I'm straight, but sometimes I'm gay. Or, most of the time, I'm Catholic, but sometimes I'm Jewish. There aren't degrees of being straight, gay, Catholic, or Jewish, any more than there are degrees of self-hatred. You either are or you aren't, do or you don't.
But, for the sake or argument, let's say you could hate yourself a little. A little self-hatred is still too much, because it's like a disease. Sure, as a rule, you might feel great about yourself most of the time. But, if there's even a little self-loathing inside, then it wouldn't take much to bring you down, to topple all those good feelings.
All somebody would have to do is look at you funny, or talk to the person next to him while looking at you, or make a passing comment you happen to overhear a few words of, and that lingering seed of self-hatred would sprout, growing into something big and ugly. You don't want that. None of us do.
Yes, I understand, we're getting there. I get that our young people, more than ever, have accepted themselves and are further ahead in their development, in terms of improving their self-esteem, than many of us from my generation.
But let's not lose sight of the goal: To eliminate self-loathing, due to sexual orientation, in all of us. Because, make no mistake, as long as we continue to hate ourselves, even a little bit, our potential will be compromised, our choices will be affected, and our lives will be less than what they were meant to be.