It’s no small feat. It took a leader hiding pain and exhaustion under a careless laugh, an artist brimming with inspiration despite his tears, a friend with a big heart and warm hands to take away the difficult times; a dreamer with ambition and hope to inspire confidence, and an intelligent soul with the wisdom to make the tough decisions in a midst of awe and confusion, to paint this canvas. Here is to five incredible men who work so hard to fill the voids in our hearts with holes in their own. Here is to five brave men who stand to fight the odds again. Here is to Highlight.
Today, I had an interesting conversation with a group of coworkers about normalizing the word “partner”– typically used for your significant other if you’re queer– for use by everyone.
“It’s common on my college campus,” said one of my coworkers, Katy, “like girls calling their boyfriend their ‘partner.’ It helps so that people don’t have to be accidentally outed as much. We just think that it’d be nice.”
But someone disagreed.
“All of this political correctness is ridiculous,” another coworker told us, shrugging and grinning, “why should I have to change what words I use?”
A bit of prodding, and it was revealed that:
1. He genuinely believed he would somehow be forced into changing or restricting his vocabulary, and that the oversensitive LGBT community was overstepping its boundaries
2. He was primarily against it because he was horrified that for one week, one day, one millisecond he might be perceived as gay.
My coworker is a liberal arts professor’s kid, college educated in STEM. He was raised in a generation that has witnessed gay marriage be legalized in the US only in our lifetime.
Never before have I been able to firmly put my finger on the double standard that I see in some people my age: the idea that the LGBT community has gone from persecuted to privileged, but simultaneously and ironically find it undesirable and dangerous to be part of that “privileged” community.
And this standard shows itself to me… every day.
My coworker–who has already labeled me and all of our other peers as straight and cis-gendered– would do anything to avoid having someone wrongfully label his sexual orientation. This, despite the fact that there are minimal repercussions for him. If he used the word partner in front of a homophobic boss, stranger, or parent, it’s simple enough for him to whip out his wallet and honestly show off his girlfriend, to talk about her using her feminine name, to bring her to parties. He probably won’t be kicked out of his house for saying “my partner” instead of “my girlfriend”– he likely won’t be demoted, or threatened for just existing, because of those words.
But if I, a woman, ever publicly uttered the words “my girlfriend– my wife–”
Oh, oh, I could be.
Yet in my coworker’s eyes, he’s the one with a restricted vocabulary.
…All my coworker Katy said was: “it’d be nice.”
It’d be nice, if we tried to changed the social connotation of a word, because it might help prevent discrimination, harassment, and abuse. It’d be nice, to normalize and accept a word that would allow us to safely talk about our loved ones, about our weekend and our families, until a time when it truly is safe to exist as we are.
If your kneejerk reaction to someone suggesting a possible, lifesaving kindness is to protest “you’re wrong to force me! You can’t MAKE me!”
Well, I just hope you would consider re-evaluating why you feel the way you do.
Of course, during the actual photo shoot he’d try his best to stay professional, but when everything’s done and over he’d go over and chat with you. Expect to go home with his number in your phone and vice versa.
“Hey… could I have your number? For business purposes, of course.”
When he walked in, he’d grow somewhat shy at the sight of you. Since it’s a professional photo shoot, he’d stay his best to stay serious but unintentionally end up messing up the photos by making weird faces. When you’d call him out, he’d laugh nervously and hide behind a few staff members for a bit.
“Haha– I’m doing this wrong? Are you sure? Ah, I’m sorry!”
Yixing would actually go up to you before the shoot and straight up tell you he finds you attractive subtle During the shoot he may wink at you or distract you when you’re working with others but then act innocent when you call him out. He’d feel really embarrassed about it later though.
“What do you mean stop lifting my shirt? I’m not doing anything.”
*yw and im not sorry for this gif*
His beagle side would come out more than usual He’d start acting really extra just to get your attention even though he may get scolded for not taking the shoot seriously. When the shoot’s over, like Minseok, he’d ask for your number.
*playing with his clothes* “Look, Y/N, I’m an elephant!”
I think he’d get lowkey shy. Not in the same sense as Junmyeon or Kyungsoo, but he’d get a bit insecure about how he looks and would even ask others if he looked alright. In front of you, however, he would appear confident.
“Do I look okay? I mean– I look great today, wow.”
His first reaction when he saw you was probably “whoa.” Just imagine him staring at you with an ‘o’ shaped mouth in admiration. He would try harder than usual to pose well in order to impress you, but probably wouldn’t say anything about it.
“Ah, they’re really attractive…”
Shy bean. He may stumble with his words when you’re giving him advice on posing and would cringe at himself (even though you think it’s cute). At the end of the shoot, you would compliment him and he could’ve died right there. Actor!Soo would come out and he would try to initiate a calm conversation with you.
“So… how long have you been a photographer…?”
He’d be a soft flirt. Before the shoot, he’d go up to you and compliment you but then run away like a shy school girl before you can properly react. He’d grin at you between shots and after the shoot he might ask you to go get coffee with him.
“You’re quite a good photographer. Want to get coffee later?”
He’d attempt to act normally around you but would unintentionally end up staring at you when he’s not getting his photo taken. You’d probably notice and smile at him, which would immediately make him all smiley and shy but he’d try to play it cool. He would also ask you for your number, but would end up rambling.
“Hey, I’m Sehun– wait, you knew that already– I’m from EXO– you knew that too– can I have your number? Please?”