And Then They Came For Me
Yesterday women lost jurisdiction over their bodies. Tomorrow the courts are coming back for birth control, gay rights and whatever other 1850's ideals that empowers the patriarchal American society.
I'm a gay man. I don't scream it from the rooftops because I generally don't feel the need to do so. Also, I feel that not all of my family is comfortable with it. Most are not and won't even discuss it. And that's fine because my sexuality is just a minuscule part of my being- like my hair or eye color. I am so much more.
But I AM a gay man, and I am now forced to make a big deal or else lose my rights. So here we are in the year of the Tiger, 2022. This is my story....
I was born in a conservative Appalachian area. Although I tried to be closeted and tried to blend and be normal behind nice clothes and 'good boy' behavior, I was not very successful. Kids bullied me and adults and church taught me to feel shame- even hate- for myself and others like me. I was not normal, ordinary, or average.
I slipped into the depths of my mind- a war between light and dark- and finally envisioned a new life for myself. I made a plan to go to college and then go far far away from that place. And I eventually made that happen. I literally packed my car and ran away from the land and people I love because I would have died, one way or another, had I stayed there.
But I'm all grown up now and there is nowhere left to run. So I expanded. I've consciously worked to grow, learn, and expand myself to include new viewpoints and perspectives. To see if I can better understand this sometimes beautiful and sometimes fucked up country and world that we live in.
In this search I've witnessed systems of oppression towards women, black/brown/asian people, immigrants and experienced it first hand towards the LGBT community.
I'm quite aware of the rights that I and those before me have had to fight for. Rights attained through protests, riots, court battles. My freedoms, along with many people in other categories, were not initially granted upon the founding of this country but are a series of amendments.
And now I read the comments and posts from friends and family members calling people 'baby killers.' Saying "Why don't they just give the babies away?" "Why are people so happy that babies get to live?" And it makes me so angry. So frustrated. So...tired.
The general lack of empathy is astounding. Masses of unaffected people view this world through their privileged lenses without effort, concern or an attempt at understanding. There is no growth, only stagnation, when you don't attempt to understand another viewpoint. It's easy staying the same, but it's also lazy.
So yes. I'm a GAY man. I am a man. I am a person. I am an American. I love my best friend's kids as if they were my own, and I would lay my life down for them or any of my family. I work extremely hard. I help others in need when I can. I'm not perfect, nor would I want to be. But I do better when I know better. (Thank you Maya Angelou.)
Indeed I am not normal, ordinary, or average. And I'm thankful for that now. I AM human.
So let me be clear. I have and will continue to speak up for others rights that extend far beyond my own. And I am extremely blessed and grateful for all of those people who have supported, spoken out and showed up to fight for my rights. But now is the time that I need YOUR voice more than ever.
The Supreme Court already came for women because of the general lack of votes and voices. And now they're coming for ME and others like me.
It's time to grow- grow your understanding, empathy, and voice- and take action. You may choose to do nothing because it doesn't affect you. But it affects me and millions of others.
Speak up. Write/call/contact your conservative representatives and tell them to support Women and LGBTQ people. Then vote accordingly. Don't want to vote Democrat? You don't have to. There are moderate Republicans who do support women and LGBTQ people also. You just have to make an effort to do a tiny google search to find out which ones they are.
I am not a victim and I do not need your apologies. But I do need your support. Thank you.