Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Started as a Facebook Rant, Now We Here...

This post started out as a facebook rant, which I don't do often, but as you can is entirely too long for that. So I just copied and pasted it into a blog.
PLEASE BE ADVISED: I used the caps lock button a few times throughout this post. Also, this post is about 92% honesty, curiosity, and hopes of expanding perspectives... and only about 7% sardonic and sarcastic., this is an official facebook rant. (well, it it's a blog post)

Scrolling through my news feed and I came across a post about a female softball player coming out as "straight". I read the article and came back to the post and "liked" it. I thought it was cool. I thought it was something that spoke to the point of embracing everyone as they are, and not judging or labeling someone based on a stereotype. I cannot count the number of times I have had people say, "Oh, you played softball and basketball? Of course you did! You're so gay." I always found it to be laughable and questionable, but after reading this article, it really did make me think... "What about the female athletes who are actually straight, but are supposed gay by speculators simply because they are good at a sport?" That is a bit of a tough position to be in. It makes me think about the 13 year old girl who has a very promising softball career ahead of her, but perhaps decides that she wants to learn how to play the cello instead, because then she won't have to worry about people making assumptions about her orientation. That's what stereotyping does. Not cool. And please know, I am sitting on no one high horse as I am quite guilty of casting pre-judging folks based on stereotypes. It sucks...we all do it. But we also know, that doesn't make it right. The site that the article is posted on is apparently a satirical site, so I am honestly  not sure how legit the article actually is...but those are the initial thoughts I had up on reading it.

Now...on to part two of the rant.
I "liked" the post, and then I scrolled down to read the comments below it..and I found myself very perturbed and disappointed in what was being said. Things like, " I'm tired of ppl trying to push what they are down ppls throats! #whocares" and "exactly so sick of this lil gay movement". Hmmm...okay. So... I am honestly curious to know...who is shoving anything down anyone's throats? What it is that makes you feel that it is being shoved down your throat? I understand people's coming-out stories and announcements are all over the news and internet, but so is Miley Cyrus and her alleged "twerking", but that doesn't make me feel like it's being shoved down my throat. I came out about two months ago and it was something that I did for myself as a personal act of freedom. Anyone else that I know that has come out, has done it for personal freedom and visibility, which leads into my next point. Who cares? Maybe you don't. Maybe it means nothing to you that people that you may consider your friends, are being denied rights over something that they did not CHOOSE to be. But more importantly, maybe it means nothing to you that people you may know and love will live with the burden of denying themselves true happiness and freedom by living in a closet or worse -> denial, because they feel INVISIBLE. They feel wrong. They feel rejected. They feel LESS THAN. Visibility is so incredibly important, because unless you know that there is someone else out there that can relate and identify with you, you may feel totally isolated and misunderstood. Have you ever been hanging out with a group of friends and maybe someone walked by you with the crustiest of the crusty crust feet you've ever seen? You all sit there and go on with you conversation until someone says, "Okay, y'all.. I'm sorry. I just have to say this. Did y'all see those crusty crust feet?" And then you join in with, "OMG! I didn't know if anyone else saw that. I wasn't going to say anything!"  Yeah. See where I'm going with that? Much, much different situation, but you get the gist of it. It's not about anything being shoved down anyone's throat. It's about becoming visible to those who can identify with you, and also becoming visible to those who thought you didn't exist- those who always assumed you were heterosexual and never knew that same-sex equality mattered to you or had any impact on your life, and now theirs.

Now, as far as "this lil gay movement" comment... There is nothing "lil" about this "movement", should it even be called that.  It is an ask for recognition and understanding. It is standing up. It is speaking out. It is taking pride. It is sharing. It is partnering. It is creating awareness. It is living.  If it matters not to you, that is your choice. You have the right to feel whatever way you please. The world will not stop and your life will not end... it will all be okay. We know this. But please, please, PLEASE, do not trivialize what is important to so many people around you, by calling it a "lil gay movement". When people are denied...when people are ignored..when people are bullied...when people are committing suicide...when people are losing their jobs... when people are losing their children...when people are losing their friends and family... when people are losing themselves... when people are hurting... there is nothing "lil" about that. I encourage you to please think... please. Think about a time when something was very important to you, and you stood up for it, and were completely ignored or laughed at. I know we have all had those experiences...I can think of many throughout my life. That is not a good feeling. We stand up for our politics. We stand up for our favorite musicians. We stand up for our faith. We even stand up for our favorite foods (or at least I do...cheesecake over everything...EVERYTHING!!!). If you believe in something and it is important enough to you, you're going to stand up for it...period. While this may not be something that you believe in or support, trivializing it is extremely hurtful to all of the people who have been brave enough to stand up for it. Everyone is not all of a sudden gay. Gay is not the new cool thing. Gay is not some thing you proclaim for attention. I've said this before and I'll keep on saying it...

We, the LGBTQ community, have been around. We've been here. We are here. We'll be here. We are speaking up now because there are things that we want, and we are not going to get those things by sitting down and shutting up. So when you ask.. "Who cares?" My answer is this: We do. And so do all of our allies- those who know and love us...and even know who don't know and love us, but have the mind to know the difference between what is right and just, and what is wrong and unjust. 

...someone cares.

::end rant turned blog::

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