The Evolution of Understanding

For many thousands of years, everyone on the planet who cared to think about it knew that the Sun revolved around the Earth.

It was obvious. You could see it happen every day with your own eyes. The Sun rose in the east, traveled across the sky, and set in the west in its endless trek around our world.

The Sun obviously orbited Earth further out than the Moon — so perfectly matched in size with its blazing counterpart — since the Moon would occasionally cross the Sun’s path and blot it out, but the relationship between the Earth and its orbiting bodies was clear.

Until keen and creative observers like Copernicus and Galileo deduced and observed the truth that the obvious belied.

The Earth, in fact, orbited the Sun. And the obvious conclusion that it was the other way around was born of an illusion caused by the Earth’s own spin.

Nothing had changed in the relationship between the Earth and the Sun. It was as it had always been, and how it will always be, until the Sun swells and incinerates the Earth billions of years from now.

But new information, and a new perspective, eventually changed humanity’s understanding of something they thought they had always known everything about.

It is the same with our culture’s and our world’s evolving understanding of gender, sexuality, and gender identity.

We have known for as long as we have existed that there are men and there are women. That you are either one or the other physically, mentally, and emotionally. That the two are meant first and foremost to mate, produce offspring, and continue the species.

It’s obvious. You can see it with your own eyes. Every day the world, our towns, our streets, our lives teem with men and women. Cis-gendered, heterosexual women and men carrying out their biological imperatives.

But this obvious truth belies the actual facts. And like so many times before, new information (to most of us), and new perspectives, are changing humanity’s understanding of something they thought they had always known everything about.

The fact that neither gender, nor sexuality, nor gender identity are binary. The fact that all those things (and, indeed, all things) exist on a spectrum. The fact that there have always been non-cis-gendered people, non-heterosexuals, and non-binary gender identities.

Nothing has changed with respect to these cross-spectrum identities and people. They are as they have always been, and always will be, until humanity finally succeeds in wiping itself out of existence.

The embrace of the heliocentric solar system was too slow, too painful, and too fiercely opposed by those who refused to accept that they were, that they always had been, that they even could be, wrong.

But its acceptance was inevitable. Because facts, truth, and reality can’t be altered, no matter how much you may deny them. 

And so it is with the facts, the truth, and the reality of LGBTQ+ people and identities. 

They have always been here. They always will be. No amount of denial will change that. 

Their acceptance is inevitable.

It’s only a matter of how long we must suffer the pain inflicted on us all by those who refuse to accept the growing understanding of yet another reality that has always existed.

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