Every year I take a break from blogging for the last two weeks of December. I will be sharing some of my old favourites in the meantime and will be back in January with new material. This post was originally published on April 13, 2015.
Several years ago I wrote a blog post about figuring out when to share certain things with other people. It’s a short post, so go read it before you continue on with this one.
When I was writing it, my sexual orientation and (lack of) religious affiliation were on my mind. Some people are also occasionally shocked by my complete disinterest in having kids or my willingness to consider polyamory.
At the time, I didn’t want any of these labels to be the first thing other people learned about me for reasons I discussed in that post.
I’ve since changed my mind for five reasons:
1. Honesty Weeds People Out. There’s something to be said for knowing early on if someone is going to have a problem with such an important part of who you are as a human being. I’m at a point where I want to focus the vast majority of my energy on the positive, supportive people in my life. Figuring out who belongs on this list is critical.
2. It’s Less Awkward. The problem with revealing these kinds of things gradually is that some people let their guard down in truly bizarre ways in private. When they realize that you’re part of the group they just stereotyped or insulted, the conversation can get awkward quickly.
3. You Can Get That Conversation Over With Quickly. For anyone who doesn’t know what I’m talking about, there are certain questions that people who are part of minority groups hear over and over and over again. For example, “How can you be moral if you don’t believe in God?” or “Do you have a lot of threesomes?”
4. Visibility Improves Everyone’s Lives. Being open about these kinds of things isn’t the right decision for everyone. Some people’s jobs, education, or access to a safe home depends on them keeping certain parts of their lives incredibly quiet. With that being said, one of the best ways to fight against prejudice and stereotypes is to live your life openly and honestly. It’s easy to hate or misunderstand an abstract group of people. It’s harder to do the same thing to a friend, family member, or coworker.
5. You Might Not Be the Only One. One of the most interesting things I noticed about Drew’s tendency to be brutally honest about his life is how often he meets other people who share the same beliefs. Yes, he met others who were completely weirded out by him sometimes, but he also met new friends who found his ideas fascinating.