We grow up thinking that love is a good thing. That it’s the most special feeling. And then society shows us otherwise. A lot of it was reflected in the recent hearing of petitions for marriage equality – where so many of us were mere spectators. We all had an opinion, we all HAVE an opinion. So, there were cisgender heterosexual men and women fighting against marriage equality on Twitter in the Supreme Court, over choices that do not concern them.
But it’s not that simple. I read a tweet, where a lawyer shared that they were exhausted and triggered with the language that was used in the Supreme Court. And all this insensitivity exists because none of us ever made the effort. One fine day, people decided that being queer was against the culture and the society, and started a fight that hardly makes sense. Because who is anyone to stop anyone else from falling in love? And all this chaos points at the different ways we fail people who have to live through it, each day.
A Reddit user recently shared her story of being a lesbian in a small town in our country. She talks about something very close to her heart, which we hardly acknowledge in this self-inflicted mayhem. Calling it a rant, she shares that being in a small town meant that she couldn’t date people, while in school. And so, she constantly hoped to get into a good college in a metro-city – in order to be herself. Imagine being young and in love; now imagine not getting the chance or choice to know that feeling. The person shares that she couldn’t come out to a lot of people, which also means that a number of other people from the LGBTQIA+ community in the town felt that.
“I always had this hope when I first came to terms with my sexuality that I’ll go to college in like, a good city and I’ll meet great people and then maybe I’ll not be lonely anymore (or just a little bit less lonely at least).”
Just hearing or reading this feels restricting, right? And anyone would want out of the place, the system that makes us feel like we don’t belong. In her case, the ‘way out’ meant studying hard and getting into a college that was in a city where it would be easier. After her entrance exams for getting admitted to a medical college, she shares, that both her personal and professional life rely on this future college. That’s a lot of pressure. And in so many ways, it’s the society and the system that are at fault.
I could say that I get it, and share how so many other people feel the same thing. But how would I know? This is not my story, and this is also not the story of the many cisgender heterosexual people who “think” that being queer is wrong. Others (read: some) who take a stand make it sound like a cause, like some chapter out of the constitution (and I include myself when I say this). We forget that this is not just one big fight, but instead, lives of many people who do not want anything that they do not deserve.
This specific person says that she’s scared of being lonely and miserable. And no one should feel that. Dating, being in a relationship – even if that means being with the wrong people – are experiences. But they are our experiences. And for some reason, some of us control this for others. For this person, her concern is that her life wouldn’t be as “normal” as it deserves to be – which is scary and so valid. It’s like dominoes, where ending up in a city that isn’t accepting would mean not being able to date. And so, she would never know what it’s like to be in love. How’s that fair? Moreover, how’s wanting a sweet romance wrong or in any way, harmful, to the rest of the world?
“Sometimes I feel as if I will never find anyone at all. And I will just be lonely throughout. I understand that I am young and I’ll meet a lot of different kinds of people in the future. But I am just so scared that I’ll end up in a terrible city for college with absolutely no dating pool, and simply be lonely and single throughout my 20s.”
The worst part is that feeling all these feelings is not nothing. But our society conditions people into thinking that it’s ‘not such a big deal’. On other days, it makes them feel bad and less for just being someone, which for some reason, it does not get. People also argue that being in a small town means that you are exposed to different ideas and opinions as compared to a metro city. A) Metro cities aren’t doing a great job either. B) I don’t understand why we need to “feel comfortable” with someone’s sexuality.
Being a lesbian in a small town is not a concept for some of us to feel comfortable about. It’s a life, much like the rest of ours. There’s this person who either has to wait for people to come around, or wait for her life to change. All of it, because of our faults and lack of empathy as a society. A 20-something shouldn’t have to worry about the rest of her life, because of her sexuality. And if we somehow justify controlling her life, like the many other lives that we control, then we’ve failed as humans.
This is more than a story that we came across during the pride month. It’s a person waiting to explore and live life like she wishes to – which is definitely not a big ask. All I understand is, no one should be made to feel lonely. No one should have to wait to start their lives. And it’s simple, to let live, it’s fighting that complicates everything. Which is why there’s no real debate here.
Because, marriage equality shouldn’t be a debate. Being a lesbian in a small town shouldn’t be a debate. And love shouldn’t be a debate. We need to do better, we need to be better.
Note – The article was written with the permission of the person in discussion, and they have chosen to remain anonymous.