Monday, October 18, 2010

A Box Lunch

I went to a luncheon last week in recognition of National Coming Out Day, observed nationally last Monday. As I work on a state university campus, there is an active GLBT group on campus and staff frequently receives email regarding the inclusive atmosphere the university promotes. It was a nice meal with two excellent speakers; a student and a faculty member. Without consulting each other, they both spoke on the same aspect of their individual coming out stories: Stop putting people in boxes. A couple of the examples given were that not all lesbians wear plaid flannel and carry at least one tool at all times and not all gay men are promiscuous, disdaining monogamous relationships.
Interesting. I ran into someone there, a friend of a friend, who introduced me to her partner. Our mutual friend has apparently loudly voiced her disagreement with their lifestyle. And as such, the second statement after our 'nice to meet you' was, "Do you subscribe to the same belief system as X ?" Wow, right to the point. "Ummmm, I really don't know, I don't think so, we've never talked about it. I think that love is more important than judgment." (That's why I was there. She also said that there is a church in town that says they 'Love God. Love People. Period.' Had I heard of it? Yes, I have!  ;o)  )  So, that was strange, I was just put in a box, all because of knowing this person.

And then I started seeing boxes everywhere.
The boxes I put my kids in, and try to squeeze my husband into. The boxes I live in, afraid to leave the safe atmosphere of my cardboard home. Who makes these boxes?
We dress them up, decide who is right, who is wrong, what their box is, and tell them to stay in it. Stay in it over there where I don't have to think about if that's the right box for you or not. It's still a box. And I don't want to be in a box anymore. One of the best ways to get out of my box may be to stop putting other people in boxes.
Maybe then we can see people for who they are, see the real people instead of just their box. And then next year when I attend this luncheon, no one will expect me to pull out a Got Aids Yet? sign just because I'm a Christian. Instead, I hope they see something else, like the big box Jesus carries bearing the words 'Everyone welcome! There's room for YOU here.'


  1. also pete seeger has a great song about boxes. check it out:

  2. (not exactly the same idea but since we were on boxes i thought it appropriate...)