The Real World

It's very common for people to say things along the lines of "In the real world, people aren't going to accept your gender identity/sexual orientation/anything else I personally find icky or confusing" to demonstrate just how tough and edgy they are.

You'd think the solution to this problem would be more kindness and acceptance of other people, but then we couldn't be dicks to each other on the internet.

While having a conversation with a good friend of mine who also happens to be doing some really amazing work on disability theory, we were venting about academia - me because of my exams (and I'm procrastinating right now, aaaargh), her because MA students are surprisingly immature. In my year I've had problems with some quite prejudiced people.

There are myriad possible reasons to be horrible to other people, from sport to competition to the fact that there are many, many more ways to be a jerk to someone than there are to be kind. What distresses me about the kind of prejudice I see around me is that it's born out of wilful ignorance.

So here's what I have to say to these people:

You're in the real world now.

In the real world, not everyone comes from a sheltered middle-class background with married parents and a white picket fence. Not everyone grows up straight or comfortable with their assigned gender. Not everyone grows up neurotypical, sane or physically abled. Not everyone grows up solely around people who are neurotypical, sane or physically abled. And you're just going to have to accept that.

Not everyone lives like you. Deal with it.