I have been known to get angry now and then. My struggles with depression are even more well documented. I would like to keep a cheerful demeanor all the time, but that is not always possible. Overall, however, I think I am a positive person. I love my family and friends unconditionally and even the rest of humanity, even, maybe especially, when they are driving me up the wall. This happens more often than I am comfortable with, and in particular when I have to read how my unhappiness comes simply from being the person I am.
Homophobes and transphobes like to point out the increased rates of depression and suicide among us queer folk as some sort of evidence that we are deviant. This is no new tactic, and it is one relying on faulty reasoning that has been torn down repeatedly. We are not depressed because we are trans or gay, we are depressed because we live in a society that still treats us as second class citizens. We are depressed and angry because the world still think it is perfectly reasonable to debate whether we should be executed just for being.
I get this coming from another front as well. My oft-written about withholding of belief, my agnosticism. Again, I am told that as a non-believer I must be unhappy, because what else could a non-believer be? Again, it escapes their notice that maybe we are unhappy because so much of our dialogue in this country, despite the fact that non-belief is the fastest growing belief in our communities, centers around religion as normal and irreligion being “deviant.” Whole states have laws prohibiting us from holding office, but yeah, we should just grin and bear it.
In truth I do not believe the people spreading these ideas, the notions that being queer or being a non-believer are inherently cause for unhappiness. I think they are quite aware of the effect they have on people’s sense of self-worth, but like the bully that points calls his victim a “psycho” when the victim finally stands up for his or herself, they revel in being able to control the dialogue.
The good news is people are becoming increasingly wise to this. The good news is more folks like me, queer and/or non-believing, have friends and family who respect who and what we are. More people are mindful of how what they say and do influences other folks’ sense of self-worth. That does not mean it is time to stop talking about these issues though. The more we call out the bullies, the more their victims feel empowered, and the better we make the world.