Archives for posts with tag: privilege

This post is cross-posted at Hope Is Real!

I know that you cannot live on hope alone, but without it, life is not worth living.  And you…And you…And you…Gotta give ’em hope.  ~ Harvey Milk

I pass as straight most of the time and so I have a lot of privilege in many ways.  But still, I possess a lot of fear related to my queerness.  It is a level of fear that I think a lot of people don’t realize.  For instance, for the past sixteen years I have attended a church with a lesbian minister that is attended by a lot of LGBTQ people, which means that for the past sixteen years I have feared that someone will bomb or otherwise terrorize the place where I worship.  That may sound extreme to some but hate-filled shootings and bombings are on the rise and have been for a while now.  I don’t have ease of mind before telling someone about my pansexual poly relationship for the first time.  I have not had any negative reactions so far but I know I will one day.  One of my strongest memories is how homophobic the first college I attended was.  (Although I must give a shout-out to the wonderful friends I made there – we really tried to support each other as much as we could.). Because of that religiously based homophobia, I am extremely wary of people that talk about hellfire.

And yet, it’s not all about me.  Today fifty people were killed who frequent an LGBT nightclub and I really do not care if the person was connected to ISIS or not.  To me, there are plenty of hateful organizations that rail against queer people and it easily could have been from another group.  

Today, at a supposed to be fun bicycle event in Atlanta, two separate homeless men who probably have a mental illness were holding signs and yelling about repentance and how we all have sinned.  Another man, obviously homeless and having a mental illness, sat beside me outside and proceeded to tell me about how he would break the neck of any person that bothered him.

They’re right – we have all sinned and we do need to repent.  One of the men spoke about how he sleeps outside and my heart broke.  I was triggered beyond belief by their words and yet I was still full of compassion for them.  Our nation does need to repent of our greedy ways.  Our ways that place money above mental healthcare, guns above homes, judgment above tolerance.  We need feminism because older white men are the group with the highest suicide rate, we need tolerance because it seems that people no longer know how to properly communicate.

We need hope.

I don’t have any solutions.

My wish is that people would care more and that people were taught in schools how to respectfully dialogue with one another.

I try to be an example but I cannot be everything.

I tried to go do something fun today and just ended up getting more triggered, more mournful.

Maybe that’s the point. Sometimes life sucks and it cannot be ignored.  If we, as a nation, are confronted by our evil, then maybe we will have to do something about it.  

Why don’t we require people to take a gun safety class when they buy a gun?

Why don’t we require gun owners to properly store their guns?

Why do we let people with a violent history, including domestic abuse, keep a gun?

Why don’t we encourage thoughtful dialogue instead of making everything sensational?

Why can’t we teach comprehensive sex education in school that also addresses sexual orientation instead of pretending that abstinent only sex ed will somehow magically prevent pregnancy, regret, and disease?

Why do we let the media only follow hateful men?

Why do WE follow the hateful men?

How can we hear the news and still be bringers of hope?

I doubt the men who were screaming about repentance today even knew what had happened.  In my mind, I was brought back to college when it was common for a student to go to another and say that they were going to hell for being gay.  Where my feminist student group continually had to re-hang our flyers, as they were continually being torn down.  Where the gay-straight alliance had to meet at a professor’s house in secret because we were not allowed by the school to officially meet on campus.  And who decreed that?  Good ol’ founder of Chick-Fil-A, Truett Cathy, who threatened to take away his money from the school if there was an official gay-straight alliance on the grounds.  Nowadays, his son, Dan Cathy, allows the alliance, as long as the students only gather for social purposes and not for activism.  How very Christian of him.

I am Christian and yet I hate Christians.  When hearing the loud repentance proclaimers, I often wonder if the old prophets weren’t just assholes.   Yelling at me to repent when I am already hurting seems like an asshole-ish thing to do.  Or maybe, like these men, they were all mentally ill and didn’t know how to best express themselves.

I don’t know what to do with these feelings, except to try to be the best that I can be.  To not let the loudest speakers take away my soul and all of my joy.  To continually love, even when hard.  To continue to be a sensitive, emotional person in pain.

We all need a hug today.  Let the violence stop with you.

 

Advertisements

Yesterday I completed training to be part of the Feminist Women’s Health Center’s Action Alert Team.  This means that if the center needs someone to help at the last minute with lobbying or rallying or anything else to help promote reproductive justice, then I’ll be there if I can.  It doesn’t pay in anything, except in satisfaction that I am doing all I can to help the cause.  It was a small, intimate gathering that left me feeling empowered and excited.  On my way home, I reflected on the fact that although I hate the fact that I had to have an abortion almost two years ago, prompting a return of my depression and the losing of a really good job, I would not be the motivated, empowered person I am today without it.  I also reflected on the fact that one of the reasons why the experience of obtaining an abortion so empowered me was because I realized my privilege.  Because I had a good job with fabulous insurance, I did not need to prove that the abortion was necessary for my health, which was great, because I’m not sure the insurance company would have accepted my explanation.  My insurance also paid for almost all of the procedure-I only had to pay fifty dollars.  Also, the Feminist Women’s Health Center, where I decided to have my abortion was relatively close by, being approximately thirty minutes away.  Plus, my parents were supportive and my mother drove me to the center.  When I had my abortion I thought about all these things and I was so grateful that I was able to have it and be supported that I resolved that I would do all I could to make what I had available to all womyn.  I wonder if the awareness of one’s privilege motivates other advocates and feminists. The training really helped me be even more aware of the fact that white, middle-class or rich womyn have always been able to have safe abortions and that that right needs to be extended to all.  I am so grateful to have the power of bodily autonomy-it’s a gratitude that no man can understand and that I could not have even understood myself until I was pregnant.  I want the world to know that I do not take my privilege lightly and that I am fiercely determined to fight for reproductive freedom and justice.