Sometimes, they're just clueless like my intern, Innocent Idina. A fledgling communications student, Idina is the epitome of what it means to be a sheltered child in a rapidly advancing world. A result which I've attributed to her upbringing, overseen by a strict patriarch with an iron fist whose conventional Muslim sensibilities is only second to his traditional Pakistani values.
Idina is a bubble child; you would think that she had spent the last 20 years of her life living in a cave distant from civilization. Her thinking sometimes amuses me, so much so that I sometimes wonder if she was playing the fool or just plain silly.
But in all fairness, I've come to appreciate her strange sense of humor and her sheltered outlook on life. Because when you get to know Idina, you get to know this wondrous, innate sense of excitement and curiosity that seemingly emanates from within her. It's like seeing the world with a fresh pair of eyes for the first time.
So it didn't surprise me when she discovered my sexuality and was taken aback, nor did it offend me when she tried to probe (mind the pun) my life for a deeper (mind the pun, again) understanding about what it means to be homosexual.
|Everything is fabulous.|
Me: Being gay is not a choice. A lot of people find it hard to accept themselves, but it gets better.
Idina: My mother says it's bad to be gay.
Me: Why? Does being gay affect moral judgment?
Idina: Why can't you love a woman?
Me: Partially because I'm not into tacos and oysters, but mostly because I love sausages and eggs.
Idina: It's very sad. You make me sad.
Me: What's sad is the ignorance the world has for gender identity and sexuality.
Obviously the child got a long lecture from me about life on the bright side of the rainbow, but only if it was to make her understand that no one in their right mind would choose the harder life against all odds. To struggle against peer pressure, societal norms and familial responsibilities.
An hour after we started talking, Idina finally understood why it gets better. And underneath it all, I saw a bright young girl emerge from the bubble.