‘Why do gay people need to display their sexuality? Why can’t they just keep it quiet? Why do they need to make a big deal about it?’
I keep hearing this, and other versions of this, regarding other sections of society that have been repressed and are attempting to step forward and be accepted as equals.
I’ve heard it about the Black Lives Matter campaign, that some feel should be ‘all lives matter.’ I’ve heard it in relation to feminism as well. Why do women have to rave on and on about how they were treated in the past? Or ‘pull the woman card?’
So, here’s my attempt at an explanation.
There’s a genie in a bottle story — I’m fuzzy on the details but my version goes like this…
If you take a genie and you put him in a bottle and leave him there for 2 weeks, then let him out, he’s gonna be relieved to be out of the bottle, he’s gonna be relieved to be able to move around and to feel free again. He may even thank you for letting him out.
If you leave the genie in the bottle for 6 months, then you let him out, he’s gonna be relieved to be out and to have his freedom, but he’s also gonna be a little pissed at you for squeezing him into the bottle in the first place and leaving him there for so long.
If you leave the genie in the bottle for 2 years, he’s gonna come out and primarily be pissed at you for leaving him in there so long. He’s gonna be angry, upset and hurt. Maybe even confused as to why you did this to him.
If you leave the genie in the bottle for 10 years, he’s gonna come out mad as hell. He just lost 10 years of his life. A decade of feeling like he isn’t important and of not being heard.
At this 10 year mark, before he decks you, he’s probably gonna scream every obscenity at you, and attempt to get you to understand how you’ve made him feel. He will probably want you to acknowledge what you’ve done and maybe even want to get some kind of redemption or compensation for it. Then he will never talk to you again. And he will only ever remember you as the asshole who inflicted so much pain onto him.
Imagine, then, what the genie might feel and want to do if you left him in the bottle for thousands of years.
Thousands, of years.
The genie is not going to be mad as hell, he’s going to be explosive. He’s going to be outraged.
He isn’t going to feel like the fight is over just because he’s out of the bottle. He’s going to want justice. He’s going to want you, the bottler, to be held accountable.
I can see why some people might want to think it’s easier to not let the genie out of the bottle if you’ve left it in there for so long, for the very reason that they may have such a huge reaction and be so disruptive once let out. Much less mess if we just keep the lid on it.
But that isn’t humane. And when we shift our minds from the genie analogy to our very real social minorities, then we should see it humanly — because we ARE talking about humans.
You cannot repress people for just being who they are — for just not being a man, or not being heterosexual, or not being white, and then expect them to not fight back, get angry, want justice, make noise, and seek redemption and acknowledgement.
And you cannot expect them to not dance in the streets and rejoice publicly when they make progress in their quest to be seen as equals.
So, the very act of wanting a once repressed person to repress their joy when they are no longer repressed, is nonsensical.
I hope, in moving forward, that I am witness to many more public displays of love and joy when the repressed become seen, heard and accepted.
I look forward to seeing dancing, singing, hugging, kissing, confetti, and loads of loud and disruptive displays of celebration as each step of equality is reached.
With understanding and compassion we can change.u