I originally wrote this blog on 17 September 2015 in response to two different Facebook posts. I was hesitant to share it, but since the mass shooting at Pulse in Orlando, with the shooter allegedly in conflict with his sexual orientation emerging as one of the possible motives of the shooting, I feel it actually is more important and more relevant than ever. In addition to members of the LGBT community facing higher rates of suicide and homelessness, I need to add we also face a higher risk of violence towards us.
Yesterday (16 September 2015), I saw two different posts on Facebook that inspired this blog.
One was a post by a friend of mine, who is African American, in which she was invited to a friend’s house for a gathering, and ended up talking to another attendee who was Caucasian. Well, I’m not sure I should say “talking to” as it seems, from what she posted, she was being “talked at”.
This man “ranted” at her for a while and ended this rant with: “…And where does this leave the white man?”
Another posting was shared in another friend’s newsfeed from one Dr. Taylor Marshall, who refers to himself on his Facebook page as a, “Mentor / Teacher to people in over 121 nations”. Good gig if you can get it.
I don’t think this is acceptable.
There seems to be, moreso lately, this campaign by some (not all) Caucasian (supposedly) straight people (mostly men) to keep the status quo going. They want to keep what was happening then to keep going, what we were exposed to in the 50s: a whitewash campaign by media and society, with Christianity being good and those God-hating Reds from Moscow being bad, those Black people should stick to the menial jobs and the ghetto like good little boys and girls, those Asians are good at dry cleaning and math, and… well, the stereotypes go on, and on, and on.
Life’s a little less black and white than that.
Back to these Facebook posts: Lately, instead of going into overboard rant mode, I tend to mull over my response, ensure it’s measured, and then post it if I am feeling incredibly strong. One thing I am learning from my counseling is that I need to take my anger and turn it into a positive energy I can use for good.
So I responded to the Straight Pride post with this:
When I was younger, my brothers and I thought there should be a Children’s Day. We explained that there’s a Fathers’ Day, and a Mothers’ Day… Even a Grandparents’ Day. But what my Mom said rang very true in my ears:
“Every day is Children’s Day.”
She’s quite right.
You see, every day is straight pride day (and no, not every straight couple can make babies). And homosexuality is natural and has been around for thousands of years too. There’s strong scientific and anthropological evidence to prove this.
But LGBT youth are committing suicide at a higher than average rate. LGBT youths are more likely to be homeless than straight youths, especially in the USA, where the figures are staggeringly unacceptable.
So maybe — just maybe — gay pride day is there to show those youths, and those LGBT people still in the closet, that who they are, how they were created (yeah, shock, we don’t have a choice; it’s the way we are), who they are hard wired to love, is ok.
They needn’t break their family’s and loved ones’ hearts by committing suicide. Their parents might be more accepting with the rise in more LGBT people being out. These kids might have a shot at a good life instead of living rough on the streets.
So take a good hard look at these sorts of statements. What if your friend, your child, your grandchild, your cousin, your sibling felt that suicide was a better option than being open about being LGBT? Do you want to make even one LGBT teen or person feel like his or her struggle for equality is a joke?
Because this post trivializes the struggles we LGBT people go through every day: struggles many straight people never face.
You see, I’m lucky. I’m a white male, born and raised in America. I even (mostly? maybe?) pass as straight a lot of the time (I could be wrong). So I’ve had it pretty cushy.
I think we, as a species, are finally learning to celebrate diversity and acknowledge what makes us different makes us stronger. We are finding out that “normal” is a relative term. We’ve discovered that the difference between being Caucasian and African American is the amount of melanin (what pigments your skin) that can cover your thumbnail. (Yes! That’s all!) Science has discovered (and known for some time now) that sexuality for humans is on a scale: some straight, most bisexual to some extent, some gay.
But there are some people, mainly Caucasian “Christian” (supposedly) straight people, who are scared of this growing diversity. It’s always been there. It’s always been around. It’s just becoming more celebrated.
We need to do more. We need to show women they are more than just that size 2 lady on YouTube twerking as an object of lust for the male singer. We need to show minorities they are beautiful, they can contribute, they can achieve, succeed, soar because, for God’s sake, this is America and anyone can be successful if they work hard and find the right path. We need to show LGBT youth and people still in the closet that they are not freaks, they are normal, God does love them, they are beautiful, and they will be loved, if not by their family then by the “family” that makes up the LGBT community or even the wider, more accepting community holding hands with the LGBT community.
It’s no longer acceptable to try to marginalise, demonise, destroy these communities. The Kim Davises, the Mike Huckabees, the Ted Cruzes of this world are dinosaurs. Their extinction event is coming, and it’s called progress. It’s called tolerance. And they can either adapt to the changes that brings, or they can go the way of the dinosaur.
Because, you see, right now? Every day in America is Men’s Day.
Every day in America is White Pride Day.
Every day in America is Straight Pride Day.
But this is changing. And it’s a change for the better.