We have a large divese LGBTQ population in this country. But we don’t have a community. We need a leader. Not one person to represent us all and speak for us all. But one person to bring us together. To remind us why we are all on the same side here, to inspire us, and to hold us accountable for our responsibility to each other. We need to be reminded that despite our differences, we are one community. Otherwise, we’re just pissing in the wind and on each other, really, aren’t we?
We need a common goal. Well, we need a reminder that we already have a common goal… but can we walk the walk? We sure talk a good game about love, respect, fairness, open-mindedness, kindness, and equality. Do we really mean it?
The LGBTQ population in this country is huge. It has many stories, many causes, and many interests. What’s the common thread? A desire for Equality? Civil rights? Social justice? That’s what I always thought…that’s what I thought made us a community. I’ve always seen it as a community. Have I been wrong?
Divide and conquer. It always works. It’s working now. So many subgroups of the LGBTQ community, each with their own valid perspective and goals, fight with each other instead of for each other. Why are we making this harder for ourselves?
There is sexism, racism, classism, and more within the LGBTQ community on daily basis. Gays bash trans people. Trans people bash “cis”gay people. Men continue to marginalize women. Lesbians shun trans women. We rally to our separate corners and insult each other for not being able to understand our separate experiences and perspectives. And, in true American form, the people with the loudest voice are the ones with the most money. That type of discrimination is what I hear most people within the LGBTQ community decry. But they do it. To each other. Every day.
We should be celebrating and supportive of our differences. Instead we splinter into more and more fragments of a potentially large and powerful group, our collective voices growing smaller, and our cynicism of each other growing larger. Why is that?
I challenge anyone out there in the LGBTQ community to ask yourself if you’re doing it too. I know I have. We do seem to have the same desires… simply equality. Don’t we all just want to be able to be ourselves and treated as full and equal citizens within the law? It’s not really that difficult. But we make it so hard. We fight everyone on the “outside” who hate us and fight to deny us basic human rights. Are we fighting FOR each other, though? If you’re a gay man, are you actively supporting the lesbians and trans people in your community? Or are you competing with them,unaware of them, or even in some cases mocking them? I’m not just picking on gay men. I ask that of every group. But, gay men, especially gay white men, it is time to suck it up and admit to yourselves you’re the most privileged of us all. And if you’re not sure what that means, then that proves my point. We all have a story that is unique. We all have hopes and dreams. We all have our own struggles. We don’t have to be alike to be allies. We don’t have to be the same to respect and fight for each other.
Which brings me to selfishness. I fear our generation of LGBTQ has become apathetic and selfish. We operate on a “I’ve got mine, so screw the rest” mentality, and as result, we don’t support each other. We just marginalize other groups within our own community to help our own subgroup. Is that progress? Progress of policy, perhaps, but at what cost?
Which leaves me with responsibility. That’s a hard one, isn’t it? Conservatives are big proponents of “personal responsibility”. There’s nothing wrong with that…. unless you claim to be a proponent of social justice and equality. Then, the bar is much higher. Doesn’t that intrinsically demand that we stand up for all those who are shunned, marginalized, abused, abandoned, and hated simply for who they are? I see glimmers of that within the LGBTQ community, but more often I just see infighting. And to complicate it further, wouldn’t that also intrinsically include all of those not within our own community facing the same challenges? We rely heavily on our allies. Whose allies are we? Simply our own?
Compassion and perspective serve us well. We need to use them more. We all know what it feels like to be ignored, bullied, even hated. Are we doing the same thing to someone else? Just because they are different from us? And no, I’m not saying you have to love people who hate you. That’s a very difficult thing to do. It’s time-consuming, and often a waste of energy. But what about people who need help, a voice, a proponent, who are different from you and may not understand you? Is it ok to ignore or condemn minorities of people who are different from you because you don’t understand or agree with them? Or because they don’t understand you? Not if you’re asking for equality for yourself. That would be extremely hypocritical.
I’m also not saying you have to be perfect in your attempt to understand and connect outside of your circle of interest. We are infamous in our own community for tearing each other apart for one poorly spoken politically incorrect statement. Instead of teaching each other how to be supportive and loving, we bash each other for being wrong. No wonder we retreat further and further away from those who may be different and into our own little safe corners where everyone agrees with us.
I’ve struggled with why, it seems, that people of christian “faith” seem to be the least tolerant of those who are different in this country. To date, I really can’t answer that. I don’t understand how a religion based on the teachings of a kind, accepting, mild-mannered man has been almost proudly twisted into a weapon with which to threaten, ridicule, condemn, and legislate against those who are different. People’s motives, it seems, will always be a mystery. Or maybe it is just fear and greed. I like to think it’s more complicated. But is it? What makes us ignore and turn on groups within our own community? Fear and greed? Powerful stuff, I suppose. I like to think there’s a lot more to our community than that.