On -isms: Fuck Hate!

By | Thursday, July 27, 2017 Leave a Comment
Yesterday was a horrible day for people in the LGBTQ community. Donald Trump started the morning by throwing out a new policy which prohibits transgender people from serving in any of the military branches. Later in the day, Jeff Sessions filed a brief on a private lawsuit the Justice Department would normally never bother with stating that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bans discrimination based on sex, does not apply to gay people. Both of these positions actively go against Obama-era policies, and severely undermine the gains the LGBTQ community have achieved in recent years.

What both of them are saying are that gays, lesbians, trans people, and (by extension) everyone who falls under the broad LGBTQ banner are not people. That they are not worthy of respect or even the basic dignity ostensibly afforded all citizens.

Look, I grew up in a small town that was so homogeneous that I was the outsider for having red hair. Even after I went away to college (a school that had a student population roughly four times the size of my entire hometown) and actually started meeting and interacting with people who weren't all straight, cisgender white people, they didn't fall into a very strong orbit for me. That is, I didn't see them in most of my classes and they didn't intern at the same places I did. (Or, I should specify, I didn't know that they were gay or trans at the time. This was the early '90s and it was still a bit of risk to be out. They may have played straight in public or "passed" as whichever gender they presented as that I didn't realize they were trans. I did briefly date a girl who later came out as a lesbian, but I don't think she had really comes to terms with her sexuality until after college. There obviously weren't as many resources or role models for people like her to look to at the time, so I suspect she wound up wrestling with a lot more than she ever let on when were dating. But I digress...)

My point is that I had very little exposure to the LGBTQ community (a real LGBTQ community, mind you, not whatever farcical version might show up on sitcoms as a punchline) until I was in my 30s. I think as time wore on, though, more people felt more comfortable coming out, and I started interacting with more by meeting them where they were. And it was fine. I've gotten to know more people, and they're all great. And we talk about comics or pets or work or whatever, and it's cool. I took up running marathons because of a gay guy, and that led me on a journey of self-empowerment that has done a world of good for me. Physically, mentally, and emotionally.

But I get it. You need to meet those people in order to see just how wonderfully human they are. And maybe you don't live in an area that provides little LGBTQ support. And maybe your place of work frowns upon any non-heteronormative ideas. So how are you supposed to meet people and understand something about them if you can't get to them?

Why do you need to ask that question? This is the fuckin' 21st century! There's a whole Wikipedia page just listing webcomics with LGBTQ characters! Read something for fuck's sake! I mean, they're not all by LGBTQ creators and how much and how they discuss various topics varies, but that just means you get to pick whatever you think would ease you into getting to know something about them! It's 2017! We have instant communications around the entire planet! They are absolutely people, too, and have a lot of the same hopes and dreams and fears that you do, and if you'd fucking open your eyes for just minute, you could see that! Just read some of those comics for a little bit! They're funny and touching and dramatic and exciting, and just happen to feature some characters that aren't just like you. And maybe you might just learn that, after all is said and done, we all are the same after all.
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