I once thought that the word 'alternative' meant being outside of the norm. The 'norm' is apparently how the majority of us live and how we see things. As I get older, or perhaps become more informed, I begin to see that it is yet another bias I am questioning.
We have over 50 biases according to some researchers.
How this particular bias occurred, as do most biases, comes from who we meet and spend time with, where we live, where we went to school, essentially from our environment. Additionally, it is from the various forms of media we read or listen to. How often have you heard it said "They live an alternative lifestyle", or "They sought alternative treatment".
These statements led me, quite incorrectly, to believe that those who were involved in 'alternative' anything were kind of strange and sat outside of society. How wrong is that? So, replacing the word 'alternative' with 'alternate' worked for a while yet it still places a label on people. Labels are for inanimate objects, not for people.
Maybe I could use the word 'different', or maybe 'distinct' or maybe 'contrasting'. No, let's not use any such labels. Labels do nothing but alienate, divide, are unfair, and cause harm. Who has the right to say what is and isn't the 'norm', or the right to tell us what treatment is 'right' or 'wrong'.
We are who we are because we are who we are. Not alternative, not alternate, not different, we just are. And that works fine for me. Learning brings knowledge which brings understanding which brings an open-mindedness.
We are who we are, and that makes us all so special.