Monthly Archives: December 2011

A Place To Belong

The other day, one of my closest friends made the excellent point that – while the LGBTQIA community may, indeed, be a logical place to start looking for stories of people striving for acceptance – these stories are not limited to, nor do they end there. More than just revolutionizing the members of the LGBTQIA community’s acceptance of one another, this movement can really be applied to the human experience as a whole. As she put it, “There’s nothing more painful than being rejected by those who once accepted you,” and that’s an experience with which many people – regardless of their gender or orientation – have been intimately familiar at some point or another in their lives.  Be it a falling out with family members over miscommunications or disagreements over life choices, a child being bullied or ostracized in school and not understanding why, or even loss of friends who are forced to take sides in the instance of a messy divorce or breakup, most of us have at least had a taste of what rejection and loss of community feels like.

When psychologist Abraham Maslow developed his theory of human beings’ hierarchy of needs, feelings of acceptance and belonging were secondary only to basic physiological needs (ie: food, water, air, etc.) and shelter. So needless to say, whoever you are, wherever you’re from, and however the loss of those feelings of being accepted and having somewhere to belong may have manifested in your life, the accompanying pain is real, and it matters. But it is also where we can find the comfort in the overlaps, establishing common ground with those who may, on the surface, seem so vastly different from us…. because where our respective experiences may be as utterly different as night and day, the general, underlying feelings are the same. And, by this token, the acceptance revolution is for everyone, an all-inclusive community that opens its arms to anyone who’s ever felt they didn’t fit in for any reason and says: “Here is where you fit. Here is your place to belong. Be you, and be at home.”

And that right there? Is unity and power at its finest.

© Kristin Despina for Acceptance Revolution, 2011

Justifying My Love

I have a profile on a free online dating site in which I’m pretty much as open and upfront about who I am and what I’m looking for as I am with those I meet in person. In it, I explain that I’m really only on there because I feel that meeting new people that way vs trying to forge connections via shouted conversations over the music in clubs and bars is still the proverbial lesser of two evils in many respects. I also put my dating history out there (ie: “I’ve been with women and FtMs so please be open-minded about that and respectful/accepting of people’s differences if you want to talk to me”). And honestly, I don’t really have any major complaints as far as the overall experience goes; I’ve actually met some really cool people and developed some awesome friendships out of the deal.

I’ve gotten my share of fun bar stories too, like the guy who reasoned that maybe I’d be more attracted to him if he looked like a girl and tried to dress up in my clothes (I’m 5’2″, he was around 6 feet or more, and the result was pretty hilarious). And, not too surprisingly, there are also plenty of cisgender guys who have a million and one questions about my choice of partners in my dating history. One recent conversation I had covered the primary question and comments I get, so I figured I’d transcribe the gist here:

Random Cis Guy: What attracted you to an FtM?

Kristin: I was just attracted to him as a person, but what really made the dynamic so great and intense was that I was kinda the ying to his yang in that, where I’ve always been super-comfy in my own skin, he had to go through so much to get to that point for himself. And he also expressed to me that my liking him simply for who he was helped him be even more comfortable with himself; so that’s a pretty cool feeling, too.

RCG: Yeah, but I don’t see how this could be enough to date them. What is wrong with a guy who doesn’t have severe mental and identity issues?

K: What do you mean by that?

RCG: I guess I’m saying I would never be able to do what you did. You must be an incredible person to see past all that.

K: I guess I didn’t really view it as “seeing past” anything. The way I see it, I crossed paths with an amazing human being who’d had some incredible life experiences that were vastly different from my own, and we were able to learn from and grow with each other on an entirely different level than a lot of couples get to; that’s pretty awesome in my book.

RCG: Well, wait til you hear my experiences.

Suffice to say, based on that conversation, he wasn’t about to hold my interest as someone I viewed as a like-minded individual. And as I was never privy to hearing about said experiences,  I am merely presuming when I say that I imagine this last statement chalked up to little more than some strange variation of a pissing contest… but given how bent he got upon realizing that I was less than overwhelmed by his charms, I somehow doubt I’m that far off base.

In any event, while I “shouldn’t” necessarily  have to worry about things like being called upon to justify to random strangers whom I choose to spend my time on and why, I also don’t always mind having the opportunity to put it out there to people either. Worst case scenario, they’re rude about it, and I don’t talk to them again; best case scenario I shed some light and new understanding for someone on an issue that’s important to me. And either way, I’m reminded of the amazing people in my life and just how blessed I am to know them… and yeah, that is most definitely beyond awesome in my book.

© Kristin Despina for Acceptance Revolution, 2011