What is your lifestyle?
Do you like to drive sports cars, or Subarus?
Do you rather the country to live in, or the city?
Home cooked foods, or restaurant dining?
Cats or dogs?
Straight or gay? NOT.
What question doesn’t look like the others?
I know that I have said this here before, and at many other places, but it bears repeating, just because it does.
My sexual orientation, nor anyone who identifies themselves as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender, is NOT a lifestyle.
It isn’t something that we try on to see if we prefer it. Sure, we may have relationships that are not related to our true orientation. There are persons with a heterosexual orientation who do that at times, have relationships with others who are the same gender, even though they still consider themselves as heterosexual.
What I am talking about here is much deeper, more thoughtful, more part of who we are than what kind of car we drive, or where we prefer to live. It is our identity. Not a tag line or a word of the day.
Oh, the power of prayer is mighty, for sure. But so is the power of the word.
I train as often as I can. And, I often train on topics of diversity, and the idea that the words that we use to describe a person, a group of people, a behavior, has a lot of power behind it. Words are not merely, words. They have meaning and are always used in a very specific way. Sometimes, the words that we choose are chosen out of fear. Sometimes out of ignorance of additional information. But, powerful nonetheless.
Words are at the root of effective, and ineffective, communication. I mean, communication is a two way street. When we are communicating with one another, we are giving and receiving information. So, depending on the words that we use and the words that we hear, we can either get along well, or not so well.
Words are powerful, meaningful, and purposeful.
I have come to understand as I conduct trainings, and try to give people additional information and points of view to consider, that some people will use alternate language in order to be more inclusive, and less restrictive. For example, I always encourage others, instead of using the word “tolerance”, which seems to send a message of s0mething that needs to be tolerated, to use the word “understanding” or “appreciation”, to indicate that we all bring gifts to the human table. However, there are always other people that I meet, that will continue to use language that is noninclusive and divisive, in order to maintain a level of assumed power and control over a group. In the past, the word “lifestyle” has been used as a verbal weapon against me and my friends. I am a bit sensitive about it, but then again, shouldn’t we all be?
I absolutely love meeting and connecting with people. However, I know that I try to be cognizant of how to show the greatest, deepest respect for another person by the language that I use, and the assumptions that I try not to make. We are all human; we have all learned certain ideas about others, and it can take a long time to understand what is truth, and what is not.
So, what’s your lifestyle? Truth teller, or passive listener?