Strive for Excellence Despite Unfairness
As a young person, I learned to protect myself by doing well. Finding solace in accomplishments that went above societal prejudice was important to me as a black, gender non-conforming, gay guy. After learning about the effects of discrimination on marginalised individuals, especially those who share my intersecting identities, I came to see achieving brilliance as more than just a personal ambition.
Identity and Ambition: Where They Meet
I was always the “smart boy” or “talented boy” until I realised my sexual orientation. My sense of self was tied to my accomplishments, so any setbacks hurt deeply. My success was still important, but my identity was more nuanced after I transferred to a school with students of all races and sexual orientations. My reputation preceded me as “the smart, talented, gay boy.”
On the other hand, my interests evolved and my orientation became more central to who I am as I entered puberty. A traumatic event at school highlighted the gravity of this change.
The Importance of Exceptionalism, and How It’s Changing
My mother blamed my sexuality when I got in trouble for destroying a classmate’s books. My view of perfection has shifted since she encouraged me to concentrate on my studies and develop my innate abilities. The focus shifted from simple identification to the affirmation of who I am as a multifaceted being.
Succeeding in the Fight Against Homophobia
The queer community as a whole has a burning ambition to succeed. Many of us find the strength to confront our own biases by embracing our sense of exceptionality. However, success doesn’t shield us from self-doubt or social criticism. We just play up our strengths to elevate ourselves politically and socially.
According to the “Human Rights Campaign Foundation” in South Africa, more than forty percent of the LGBTQ community there feels pressure to outperform their straight coworkers. This exemplifies a widespread pattern, showing how many people find comfort in their pursuit of perfection.
Using Uniqueness as a Force for Progress
Our strengths as individuals, as well as the constructive actions we take and the introspection we engage in, are our greatest weapons in a society where minorities are under continual attack. My self-definition as a gay guy has always been entwined with my pursuit of excellence. But now I view it as an extension of who I am, unrestrained by convention.
Famous LGBTQ rights activist Sizwe Ndlovu, with whom I chatted, said:
“One member of the gay community once said, “What makes the queer community unique is not just our ability to strive for excellence, but how we channel that excellence to inspire change, break stereotypes, and uplift each other.”
Reaching True Superiority
The path that led me from being a befuddled young man to the man I am now was long and illuminating. The pursuit of excellence has moulded me, tested me, and opened my eyes to possibilities outside the narrow boundaries of prejudice. While I still place a premium on striving for greatness, these days I do so out of a genuine interest in making a positive difference in the world.
Let this serve as motivation for others who are at a similar crossroads of identity and aspiration. Keep in mind that our skills are more than just defences; they are potent weapons with which we may alter the world. Let us make excellence our goal not simply to get approval but to show the world who we are.
About the Author:
Edmore Nkosi is a riveting South African journalist, specializing in entertainment and current affairs. With his unique ability to blend pop culture with real-world events, Edmore has carved a niche in providing captivating narratives that resonate with a diverse readership.