Our society has changed…for the better. When I write blogs, I try to write from the heart rather than backing up my “claims” with a ton of research. I try to relate my opinions and world views to personal experiences. Some of you may have read the first sentence and thought, “Our society has changed for the worse, not better.” Hear me out for 350 words or so…
I’ve been watching the Netflix series called “Black Mirror” which is a social commentary about the black mirror that we stare at all day, whether that be a computer, ipad, phone, television, etc. The premise of the series is how these devices and the power they give us to do certain things is actually destroying us. In this futuristic yet plausible TV series, our society has changed most certainly for the worse. In one particular episode, humans are rated as an adult out of a maximum of 5 stars. Every interaction you have with other adults can be rated and is rated on the spot. If you are a 4.0 or lower there are certain conditions that you have to live with: 1. You have to wait in long lines to rent a car 2. You must have a guarantor for a home loan. 3. You will not be invited to certain social gatherings, nor will people with higher ratings associate with you for fear of bringing down their own ratings.
While I am completely engulfed in the game of social media on a professional level, it bothers me that we measure our business success by the amount of engagement we get on Twitter. We measure our personal success by the amount of likes we get on Facebook. We rate our Über drivers on our journey in their vehicle and they rate us as passengers. Their job success depends on our rating. Our pick-up insurance can depend on the ratings we hold. The horrifying scenarios depicted in “Black Mirror” are not that far off from becoming reality.
Recently, James and I announced our marriage engagement forthcoming in January of 2018. We did so across most of the social media platforms we regularly engage in: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc. I was shocked at how many likes and comments we received on a personal level. Nearly 1,200 likes and 283 comments. It is was amazing to see how many of our friends and acquaintances believe we’re as wonderful for each other as we are. It was heartwarming to read the well wishes of so many people of every demographic. You see, as a gay man, this is new territory. Marriage? Up until two years ago, we only dreamed of it. I spent my entire life thinking that the society we live in, including our own family unit does not want me to get married. I paid attention to all of the sound bites that said gay relationships were an abomination and even went so far as to do some research on checking myself into gay conversion therapy. On a professional level, we received just as much elation to our announcement. What I was surprised most about is that not a single person on our professional Twitter, Instagram or Facebook pages wrote anything negative. All of the combined 165 comments, many from strangers, were all lovely and positive. That was public information that any “troll” could have shot down, yet no one said a negative word. Our society has changed for the better.
If you were to go back and read the comments below the youtube videos from my time on America’s Got Talent you would see a different world and a different time represented. People spewed hate about my sexuality, about my Mom’s former opinions on my sexuality and of course my talents. That was only 4 years ago. So you see, our society has changed for the better. We may be divided at the moment and we may say hateful things about all things political and moral and relational, but at least some forms of our acceptance toward others has evolved.
One huge thing I’ve learned from being in the entertainment business is that it takes a person of great moral character to handle scrutiny. I’m still learning how to take it all on, but for the most part if someone has a problem with who I am, I am able to quickly remind myself that their issue is about who they are, not about who I am.