Sunday 28 June 2015

From left field

My mother told me that as a little girl in school, she would instinctively do things with her left hand. But apparently that was not considered 'right' in those days; kids would be beaten for being left-handed, and forced to write with their right hands. She wasn't thrashed, but she was forced to use her right hand, and it became her dominant hand for most things. But toss her something without notice - a key or something like that - and she would instinctively catch it with her left hand.
By the time I was in school, the belief, the superstition (or whatever it was) that left-handedness was bad had long vanished. Lefties were still a minority and still are and will continue to be (statistically we are a right-handed species: only about 10% of people are left-handed).
The world is more hospitable to right-handed people on seemingly trivial things like the hand we use to for handshakes, through any number of utensils and tools, computer keyboards and mice, even for potentially dangerous power tools.
The bias against lefties remains in our language (in Latin, left is 'sinister,' in French, 'gauche,' and left itself meant, in Old English, weak, while right, as I've used it several times here, is correct), and in some customs (for instance money, in some parts of India, I have been told, must be handed over with the right hand, and parts of some religious observances must be performed with the right hand) but we no longer think left-handedness is evil or against the way of god. We accept that some people just ARE lefties. They don't choose it, they aren't tempted into it by bad company or decadent western morals or whatever someone's pet bias is. People aren't refused jobs if they're left-handed; we're okay with our kids associating with them, or, heck, even being lefties themselves. Lefties are 'normal' members of society in every way, even though the world we make around us is, quite literally, not always 'designed' for their needs.
All of which is to say, I wonder when we'll reach the same societal consensus on people who are sexually attracted to the same sex as themselves. (The stats are roughly the same, if I remember right: around 9% to 10% of humans are same-sex oriented.)
Oh, I'm right-handed, for the record.