When it came time for the couple’s traditional first dance, Joe read prepared remarks explaining that instead of dancing together, they wanted to open the dance floor to their gay and lesbian friends who are still legally denied the right to marry.
This was a large and very diverse wedding in a state that doesn’t even recognize same-sex civil unions, let alone marriage. And yet the ovation that these people received while dancing to The Beach Boys’ “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” was like nothing I’ve ever heard at any wedding. If there were dry eyes, I didn’t see any.
Change is coming.
Posts tagged change
If nothing changes
***I would like to preface this with the fact that I am not perfect, and in no way do I expect others to be, I am constantly receiving education from life, work, etc when it comes to oppression, discrimination, and identities, I just feel very strongly about this particular topic and wanted to put it out there***
Recently I was speaking to someone who I would consider a colleague, a person who I have admired in certain ways and disagreed with in others. I saw that on the billboard for the organization they work for there was a group called “families” this group’s membership was composed of young children and they discussed families and family structure. I asked them, do you talk about and include same sex couples in your family group, or anything about the LGBTQ community. They did not miss a beat and responded that no they didn’t because that doesn’t happen, it doesn’t come up.
The next day we touched base because LGBTQ had come up, but not in the context of families. One of the children disclosed to my colleague that she (because that is how my colleague referred to this child) had been called a lesbian by someone who they thought was her friend. It was the first time this had happened to this child.The mother of the child came to speak my colleague and told them,” she asked me what a lesbian was and I didn’t know what to say”.
**I am not saying that being a lesbian or LGBTQ is negative, but society and specifically institutions continue to frame being LGBTQ as negative. And because of that negative perception of LGBTQ that is in a way world wide, many children believe it is negative and therefore it hurts when someone who is supposed to be a friend, or even someone who is not a friend, just a classmate tells them that they are LGBTQ. Maybe the child does identify as LGBTQ, maybe not, but these negative connotation built around being LGBTQ probably doesn’t make that feel any better.**
I asked my colleague how they addressed this situation and they said I told the mother that, “it’s only going to get worse, and your daughter needs to know that”, “maybe her friend was kidding”, basically letting the mother know that her daughter just has to deal with it, and that in order for her daughter to get through it she shouldn’t be comforted . In my very humble opinion that (and that’s really all they responded to the parent) is not a sufficient, comforting, or educational response.
I told my colleague what I felt, and I pointed out the rate of suicides related to bullying, and my colleague responded; “Bullying is just a fad, I only heard about it recently, you know when I was growing up there was no such thing”…….I tried to reason with my colleague, and they told me, “if those people killed themselves because someone bullied them then there was something mentally wrong with them to begin with”……and again “bullying is just a fad created recently to take our attention away from more important things”…..apparently children committing suicide isn’t important.
They also proceeded to wonder why if I am not working, am I talking about these issues…..I informed them that I don’t leave my values at work after 6pm….My work is my life, my beliefs and determination strengthen my work, and I also let them know that if the staff at their organization would like trainings concerning the LGBTQ community, perhaps that could be arranged so they would be able to have a richer discussion with parents…
That is when I stopped, and my colleague continued rambling about the fad of bullying…..I had to hold myself back from becoming a bit regressed and cursing this person out….A few days later I sent them an email with the origins of the word bullying….just to demonstrate that bullying or at least that specific word used to refer to interpersonal oppression has been around for a very long time since 1693 actually….they haven’t responded to that email, or any of my inquiries for that matter….
People like my colleague make the work that I do and so many other wonderful people do at the New York City Anti Violence Project even more important….to know that there is a child somewhere that is being bullied and nobody knows how to address or talk about in a way that provides support to that child is sad, but to be offered the chance to be educated in order to better services for everyone is in my opinion violence in and of itself….
I write this because it is important to me and I believe it is important to my community(ies) the LGBTQ community, the hispanic community, the white community, the mixed race community, the young community, the brown haired community, the chubby community, the tattooed community, the pierced community, the introverted community to talk about bullying. If you dont know how to, then to learn how to talk about bullying. By bullying I mean using someone’s identity or perceived as a negative in order to oppress and in order to make that person feel ashamed of who they are or are percieved to be….
I write this because I feel we are all responsible for change, and we have a duty to create a safe and equal world for everyone, and it starts with just one person, ONE person standing up for someone else, educating themselves through life or workshops or friends concerning issues related to sexual orientation, race, gender identity, age, culture, etc. in order to have a rich conversation concerning identities and in order to teach those we interact with to respect one another and above all treat others the way you want to be treated.
This Note was inspired by C@’s sharing of the following article: