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Father, Husband, computer geek, gamer, aspiring fitness nerd. I architect and code by day, and often keep at it into the dark of night. Currently fascinated by Python / Django, PostgreSQL, MongoDB, and CentOS. Always on the lookout for a new Oracle DB challenge.

Matt Chamlee

Also recently "deleted" my membership. That felt REALLY good. Thank you /r/exmormon and

Matt Chamlee

The Legend of Korra, it's ending, and my hope for the future

6 min read

I have a lot of thoughts. MANY thoughts. I'm still trying to gather them all. There have been so many amazing write-ups on the outcome of the ending two-parter, recaps of the series, the final episode, and of course that final moment. It's been a lot to digest.

Bryan, in his "Korrasami is cannon" Tumblr post related some of his personal feelings on experiences with those in the LGBT community and the ideal's/controversy around it, which mirrored much of my own:

"It has been my experience that by and large this kind of mindset is a result of a lack of exposure to people whose lives and struggles are different from one’s own, and due to a deficiency in empathy––the latter being a key theme in Book 4. (Despite what you might have heard, bisexual people are real!) I have held plenty of stupid notions throughout my life that were planted there in any number of ways, or even grown out of my own ignorance and flawed personality. Yet through getting to know people from all walks of life, listening to the stories of their experiences, and employing some empathy to try to imagine what it might be like to walk in their shoes, I have been able to shed many hurtful mindsets. I still have a long way to go, and I still have a lot to learn. It is a humbling process and hard work, but nothing on the scale of what anyone who has been marginalized has experienced. It is a worthwhile, lifelong endeavor to try to understand where people are coming from."

It's my feeling that, aside from some religious belief or dedication, those that fight against or mock the LGBT ideals simply lack any empathy to those whose lives are driven by feelings and emotions "out of the ordinary", in particular those that feel love towards others of the same sex, and those that might have the capacity to feel emotions for both those of the same sex as well as the opposite. Being born and raised in a religious Mormon household I found myself very against the "lifestyles" of individuals who would "dare" to have intimate relations with someone of the same sex, and it was especially wrong when someone "swung both ways". It was against God's plan, vile, a sin.

Gladly I have changed quite a bit in the past 12 years, and while some of that can be attributed simply to being away from the religious influence, most of it is no doubt due to exposure to those of the LGBT community and a desire to understand and be more open minded.

To be honest, I don't even like using the term "LGBT Community". To me they're just people who love differently than I do, and that isn't different in a bad way, it's simply different. Women loving Men is different than Men loving Women, or Women loving Women, or Men loving both Men and Women. This is the thing I find the most powerful and wonderful about the world Korra lives in. When we see, officially, Korra and Asami go off to be together, there's no hiding, no secrets, no acting like they're doing something subversive. They just go off together, in love, ready to give their relationship a chance (yes, it's not guaranteed that they will stay together...after all, they're just dating...). It was a very powerful statement for them to simply be in that relationship, to not have to answer to anyone about why two women are heading off together, no secrecy. Their relationship, and love, just is. They both dated a man, now they're going to date each other, and nothing matters other than those feelings they share for each other.

A big part in all this discussion around the show and it's ending is the misguided need to hide these relationships from our kids, telling them indirectly (or directly) that these feelings or ways of expressing feelings are wrong. I am proud of Nickelodeon permitting what they did. As Bryan said maybe it wasn't taken as far as it should have, but for what is ostensibly a kids show I get the reluctance to "go too far". Love is love. I have no idea how, or with whom, my daughter is going to want to express her love when she comes of age, but I sure as hell don't want her to think that certain kinds of love are okay, while others are not. I am a heterosexual male, I've never had romantic feelings for another man, but that is because of how I'm wired. If my daughter is wired to feel romantic love toward women, or has the capacity to love both men and women, I don't want her to feel she has to hide them away. She, and every child in this world, should know that love is love, no matter how you show it, express it, or with whom you choose to share it.

There is another amazing article by Juliet Kahn of Comics Alliance where she relates how the world of Korra drew her in, allowed her to escape, to be in a place not dominated by racial and sexual biases.

From the last paragraph:

"I have seen myself reflected in Korra, at long last, and I have seen her triumphant, in her world and my own. She began a naïve, hotheaded teenager collapsing beneath divine responsibility. She ends it a beacon of hope and healing. She ends it all of these things in addition to being brown, muscular, female, and, as the ending implies, bisexual. We loved her and we loved her story and we believed in it. And if we believed in that, as people from a world of restriction and limits—we can accomplish anything."

I, like Juliet, wish we could all live in this world. Why does it matter who, or how, you love? It shouldn't. Ultimately, it doesn't. Hopefully some day soon we'll live in a world like Korra's where it doesn't matter, that we can love equally, openly, without fear of being mocked or shunned. There will no longer be a closet to come out of, the closet will no longer need to exist.