As a professor at the USC School of Social Work and as a marriage and sex therapist, I have been embracing the changes going on regarding sexuality, gender and sexual preference. Over 30 states have legalized gay marriage. A few sport celebrities are coming out as gay.
Most recently we have the case of Caitlyn Jenner, formerly Bruce Jenner, a celebrated Olympic decathlon gold medal athlete, who has opened up to the public about his process of becoming the gender that he always felt he was- a female.
I know of other transgendered people, several who have gone from male to female and several from female to male. Caitlyn has truly brought the issue of gender transition to the mainstream. As a heterosexual male who is free to express my gender and sexual preference freely, it is gratifying to see increasing tolerance for the LGBTQ community.
And of course, it should not end with tolerance; we should all not just tolerate but celebrate when people are free to express who they are. And let’s be honest; what has prevented this acceptance from happening earlier was ignorance, close-mindedness and certain majority groups projecting their own discomfort (of something they did not relate to or understand) onto these minority populations. This projection of one’s own discomfort can lead to discrimination and marginalization.
We all need to be responsible for our own feelings and not take out our own discomfort on people who are different from us. It is time for us to treat all people as human beings and not discriminate in any way others who are just trying to be themselves. Self-expression is key to happiness and citizens of this country know that is what makes this county as great as it is. Let’s keep expanding on this ideal of self-expression to all!