what can one do?

This post is a part of the ongoing series of posts for LGBT History Month.

In response to all of the attention given to the recent suicides my friend asks:

“Every day I have been reading your blog commentary, your facebook page, obediently watching your links to youtube videos that inevitably make me cry.  So. Tell me. I already read, am aware, watch…you have my full attention. What can I do. Now. So as to not be silent as a non-gay supporter of the openly or not-so-openly gay community, is what I mean. I don’t want to let you down, for pete’s sake, but I’m drawing a blank here.”

You may think it a rather cheeseball answer, but when I say what I am going to say, just please hear me out. Over the past year I have spent a good deal of time working on my depression. A few things that I have picked up in this work seem to be the things that ring in my ear as a possible answer to your queery. (and also, these were Sweeties responses as well) So first:

I think perhaps sometimes there is nothing to “do” per se, but rather there is a way of being. Try being a human being, instead of the natural and cultural instinct of being a human doing. Yes, I know there are plenty of things that you can do (donate money to the Trevor Project, have a sit down talk with your kids to make sure they know where you and your family stand on this sort of thing, write a letter to your kids school district asking what kind of policies they have in place about bullying and anti-discrimination, and on and on…) but really, I think if more people just spent some time and energy consciously be-ing, wow, what a world we would live in.

Another thought: challenge yourself to deal with your sense of otherness in every opportunity you get—most of us aren’t ready to do the right thing in the moment. Whether we are talking about race, fat people, german fashionistas, or people with freakishly large feet—everyone, every-one wants to be treated with dignity. Confront your deepest ‘isms and find a way to talk about them with friends and family. Practice, take you and your kids to the local food shelf and talk to people. Go to dinner in that part of town you think you don’t belong. Raise awareness in your own circles—be a witness to not having it all figured out. (You teach me this the best my friend—I love you for it.)

Finally, raise your kids without bias of any kind. ‘Nuff said.

What about you readers and friends, what would you say to my friend? Please weigh in with your wisdom / links / ideas.

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3 thoughts on “what can one do?

  1. I think it’s important not to be silent — at work, at home, in church and in the grocery store. Everyone of us hears ignorant and objectionable things being said which, I believe, must be responded to in as loving, but direct, a manner possible. That can be difficult, yet is so important. When we don’t speak up, then we become complicitous in bias and prejudice. We especially need to speak up around young people to model for them brave, honest, loving behavior. Yes, it’s tough, but it does get easier with each act.

    Write letters to the editor; get your church or school or community group to sponsor an educational, informative, mind-broadening discussion; support political candidates who work for equality (give them money, but more importantly, go to their events and walk door-to-door with them; volunteer with a LGBTQ youth group; and, be a matter-of-fact equality advocate in every aspect of your life. Make equality the norm in everything you do.

    Each one of us has the capacity to change the world — one heart, one mind, one soul at a time.

  2. I love this, I think ‘being’ is so important. And as you said talking is important too. Sometimes people get ‘default’ views because there was no one they could actually TALK to. The lack of any true discussion let them alone to follow along with society without any confrontation to their or its biases.

    My daughter picked up on our society’s anti-gay culture and said it was ‘weird’ if a guy kisses another guy. Since I do not feel this way and neither does my husband we were a little shocked. And finally it occurred to me, well we never TOLD her how we feel about it. Yeah, we have friends who are gay and she spends time with them, but we’ve never actually told her that.

    So I talked to her and asked why she felt that way and her response was “I never see it happen on TV”

    GAH!

    So we talked a lot about TV and we talked a lot about differences and we talked a lot about how in our house, EVERYONE is respected. You can disagree with their beliefs, religions, or what have you, but you must, at all times treat everyone with respect and kindness.

    Luckily, she no longer thinks being gay is weird, she thinks that the fact that TV doesn’t show gay people kissing as much as it shows straight people kissing is weird… And she thinks kissing is gross, so if they could just stop showing people kissing all together she’d be happy. 🙂 I love that girl.

    I just wish we wouldn’t have waited so long to talk to her about the way things are on TV are not accurate portrayals of real life.

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