Now, it’s been a long time since I posted here. Mainly, because when you move to a different state, your life gets turned upside down. I will have to do a life update when I have more than 5 seconds to breathe.
However, I am currently in a position in life where things are very different in what I’m doing and living out. Lest you think this is political, it actually isn’t – I’m not impressed with Trumpy boy, but I am actually talking to people who are LGBTQ+ or in any minority group.
My partner and I were involved in a small group with our church for about 8 weeks or so this past winter. We have Ubuntu groups, where we read through a book (in this case, it was Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays vs. Christians Debate by Justin Lee). My partner Sarah, myself, and a friend of ours were the only queer people in the group, and because of that, there were a lot of things that we were answering about our own journeys as queer Christians.
It was beautiful. These people were seeking to reach out and to learn more about the whole experience and they wanted to be better allies to the community. Some of these women (it’s usually a mixed group, it just happened to be all women this time) were excited and eager to learn and to be better allies to our community.
One night, we were in the middle of a conversation about being allies, and I looked at the group and something like “We need straight people to be vocal allies of our community, because sometimes, we just don’t get listened to.” Later on, I was told by our group leader that she had never heard anyone say that before.
And this is where my rant starts. Why the hell not? Why in the world are we so protective over our “minority” status that we don’t allow our allies to say a word for us? What in the world are we doing, saying that they just need to “shut up and listen” and let us do the work?
The reason this came up in my mind is because I saw a post going around Facebook after the peace rally in Charlottesville, VA (to the east of us). It had been in response to a white supremacist rally that had been in opposition to them taking down Confederate statues of Robert E. Lee. And this post talked about how the people who are riding with Coexist stickers and such are just as much of a problem, if not more, than the blatantly racist.
I am not a racial minority. So, maybe their experience is different. I get that there are a lot of people who are just Facebook and bumper sticker “armchair” advocates who post pretty things but aren’t doing shit. But these are not the people that put together the positive rallies and vigils. These are not the people who are putting their lives in harm’s way (like in Portland this week) in order to protect those who are being harassed because they are “others.” These are the truest allies we can hope to have.
But I have heard queer people and women say the same exact things to straight people and to men. “You don’t have our experiences, so sit down and just listen.” While the fact that they haven’t had our experiences is true, that doesn’t totally mean that they should just stay silent.
The Pulse Shootings were almost a year ago, and while some of the vigils were put together by the LGBTQ+ community, there were plenty of them that had also been put together by straight people as well. Should they have just “sat down and listened?”
Don’t misunderstand me. Listening is vital. People who want to be allies need to be good listeners and understand our plights. I don’t want someone who doesn’t have a damn clue to try and speak up for me because that could end up just as disastrous as any other situation.
But sometimes, it takes someone from the majority to be able to deal with certain situations. There are some terrible people in this world who think of those in the LGBTQ+ community are “less than” human. It makes me sick to my stomach to write those words, but it’s true. And so why would they ever listen to someone who was LGBTQ+? They need someone “like them” to even have a chance of breaking through their stubborn minds. They need people who are considered “normal” or “the majority” to speak up so that they can, then, take the step to see what’s going on and possibly change their minds in the future.
The issue with any sort of anti-minority stance is to see them as “the other,” and that’s really hard to work through. There is so much to be said about dehumanization. It’s happening right now with all sorts of groups, and that is why our world is getting more and more divided as time goes on. It’s making this whole experience into something that it should not be.
I don’t know how to fix it. But, what I am saying, is that we need people who are straight, who are white, who are men, who are whatever, to be speaking out for us as well. Yes, when someone who is in the minority you are standing beside stands up, please let us speak. But we need you to be speaking those same words when we are not able to do so. It gives us the credibility that we so desperately need when speaking to those who believe that we are “lesser.”