My Mom Thinks I’m A Lesbian/Advocating For Other Humans

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In light of some recent remarks I’ve heard from my mother, I have become fairly sure that she thinks I’m gay. Lately, I have been learning a lot about gender and sexuality because this is a fascinating topic to me and I don’t believe I can consider myself supportive of the LGBTQ community unless I educate myself. During bursts of excitement, I often share my newfound knowledge with my family, so I’ve been pretty vocal about this subject recently. While my mom wouldn’t deny LGBTQ people any legal rights, she doesn’t consider herself an ally. However, she has been awkwardly and subtly trying to let me know that I will not, in fact, be disapproved of if I bring a girlfriend home from college this year.

BBMRY0 A young male and female Emu together

Damn… if I’d known that being an ally to the LGBTQ (or MOGAI, if you prefer, but for some reason it’s like no one on WordPress uses this term?), community would automatically make me a lesbian, I’d have declared my alliance much earlier because hey, I’ve been heterosexual my whole life, why not mix it up a bit? I’m an adventurous soul! Stupid jokes aside though, this is actually something I’ve been meaning to bring up for a while now: You do not have to be gay to support equality. Just like you don’t need to be a woman to be a feminist, you don’t need to be black to believe black lives matter, you don’t need to be an animal to be disgusted by animal cruelty, you don’t need to be depressed to be pro-mental health and you don’t need to be an emu to think emus are the most punk rock birds ever.

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Seriously though…

This notion that the only person you should feel obligated to support is yourself is absolutely appalling to me, and what’s even more unbelievable is that I see it everywhere. It manifests itself in the most mundane ways and because of this, it’s often overlooked because we have become so accustomed to it. People who drive as if they’re the only ones on the road, people who refuse to hand five bucks to a homeless person simply because ‘It’s mine! Why should I give it away?!,’ people who litter and knowingly pollute the environment that they know they share with the rest of humanity just because they’re too damn lazy to walk a block to the grocery store or they’re so passionate about maintaining a perfectly green lawn that they think they’re entitled to obscene quantities of water… these people are all exhibiting the same repulsive, ‘I come first, everyone else comes second. I’m all that matters in the world’ attitude. It’s totally fine, and actually quite healthy to advocate for yourself. I encourage everyone to love themselves and support themselves. But there is absolutely no reason you can’t also love and support other people. I am not suggesting that we all start handing our retirement funds over to the homeless or stop using paper because it’s made from dead trees. If you want to do that, that’s great (as long as it doesn’t put you in a dangerous or unhealthy place).

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I mean, look at it…

All I’m saying is that the idea that other people matter, should not be so inconceivable or radical. I feel like that’s just common sense, but the amount of times I have been given weird looks for supporting racial equality, or been asked if money is an issue in my home because I support economic equality (yeah, it happened) or had my gender and sexuality called into question because I am supportive of the LGBTQ community, leads me to believe that an enormous portion of our population cannot fathom supporting another human being simply because other human beings deserve and need support. I think what this boils down to, is failure to recognize other people as human beings. I find this very sad, and I hope that one day everyone will support and love each other because of our shared humanity, and the recognition that love and support are two very universal needs among human beings, and everyone deserves that. I know that not everyone is greedy and self-absorbed. There are plenty of kindhearted individuals who are very passionate advocates of their fellow people and I am thrilled that they exist. But we need more of them, and I don’t think that’s too much to ask.

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You just don’t fuck with these things…
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Learning To Check Your Privilege

I get it. No one likes to be reminded of how unfair the world is, especially when they’re the ones who benefit from the injustice. And in an era of shifting social paradigms, a time when millions of people worldwide are busy demanding change and raging against the machine… when you’re the machine, it’s hard not to feel singled out. I say ‘I get it’ because I am privileged, very much so, and learning to fully check that privilege was a habit that took a lot of work to develop.

Very often, I find myself exasperated with men who either refuse to acknowledge that they are privileged, or who, when reminded of their male privilege, immediately launch into a somewhat belligerent sermon about how women have it so easy these days now that they “have equal rights” so therefore feminists should just shut up already and “Once, a potential employer hired an equally qualified woman over me just to improve the diversity of their employees.” I get exasperated because as a woman who has experienced sexism, I understand that regardless of whether or not my constitutional rights are equal to men’s, the social paradigms surrounding women and femininity in general are still staggeringly oppressive and offensive. The very idea that an oh-so-privileged male could be so obstinate and naïve as to feel attacked and insulted when his privilege is pointed out is frankly, kind of appalling. Ironically, only a few years ago, I was just as naïve. I may not have become infuriated by having my privilege thrown into the spotlight, and I definitely didn’t ball up my fists and petulantly point out all the ways in which oppressed people are actually privileged but just don’t know it and how “I’m a victim too, you know.” But whenever I came across articles or blog posts about dycishet privilege, I would find myself feeling rather indignant.

What I had to learn in order to check to my privilege, is that acknowledging these privileges doesn’t invalidate any adversity I face as an individual. It doesn’t mean that I never have bad days, and when people directly point these out to me, they’re not attacking me, they are, in fact, doing me a favor. I think the only way for anyone to truly understand this is to stop making it about themselves. I don’t recognize my privilege because I deserve to feel ashamed, or because I should always bask in the glory of privilege, or because I’m seeking those shiny ‘ally brownie points’ or even because I’m trying to be a more socially aware individual (though I am, it’s just not the main reason). I recognize my privilege because it’s the first step in the process of making a better, safer, more inclusive world for those who don’t experience these privileges. It’s about them. And it took a lot of listening to the voices of these people for me to realize that. You don’t learn to check your privilege by talking over the voices of the oppressed, assuring them that you’re not privileged, that their observations about the way you’re treated versus how they’re treated are invalid and wrong. That is, in fact, engaging in a form of oppression. It’s only when you care enough about your fellow human beings to listen to them patiently and receptively and respect them when they come forth and share their experiences that you’ll begin to see things as they really are. So much of supporting social change is using your privilege to help that change gain momentum, and that’s something that’s simply impossible if you can’t be bothered to acknowledge your privilege.

Kindly Start Using Singular ‘They’ Pronouns. You Have No Excuses Anymore.

This is *another* old post from my old blog. I don’t know why I’m including it on here. I guess the better question is ‘why not?’

If you are unfamiliar with the fact that not everyone identifies with one of the binary genders, and therefore, not everyone is comfortable being referred to with he or she pronouns, I encourage you to educate yourself on that before reading this. Those of you who are aware of this concept are probably also aware that whenever the subject of gender neutral they/them pronouns arises, there’s always that one person who can’t refrain from unsheathing this tired, insipid excuse:

“But ‘they’ is a plural pronoun.”

Correct. ‘They’ is indeed a plural pronoun. ‘They’ can also be used in singular form though, and don’t try to tell me you didn’t know that, because you probably use singular ‘they’ all the time.

Example: you’re driving and someone is tailgating you. You might be annoyed by THEM. Chances are, you can’t tell what THEIR gender is, so in order to accommodate the possibility that THEY could be any gender, perhaps you would say, “Wow, who does this person behind me think THEY are? THEY sure drive like a jerk.”

Unless you are under the erroneous impression that more than one person is driving the vehicle behind you, it’s safe to assume that you have, in fact, just used singular they.

The pronoun ‘they’ is homonymous. There are homonyms all through the English language, yet I doubt you refuse to use the word ‘bark’ to describe the outer layer of a tree just because it can also be used in reference to the sound a dog makes. Ambiguity is everywhere and just because you’ve been conditioned from an early age to maintain a conveniently blind eye to its presence in less controversial contexts, doesn’t change that. So next time someone asks you to use they/them pronouns, you can choose to pedantically pontificate about grammar that you clearly lack an adequate understanding of, or you can take a more sagacious approach and kindly use the damn pronouns.

You would think that, after learning that singular they is grammatically correct after all, most people would see the merit in employing singular they pronouns. The disillusioning reality of the matter is that logic doesn’t pacify everyone. Because of this, there is often a follow-up excuse concerning the usage of them/them pronouns, and it usually looks something like this:

“I’m sorry. If there was an original gender neutral pronoun that wasn’t so confusing, I’d use it, but I just can’t get used to they/them pronouns.”

No. You are not sorry. You are desperately searching for a nonconfrontational way of admitting that you have no interest in being a respectful, socially responsible member of society. Unfortunately for you, there are, in fact, many original, gender neutral alternatives to singular they: Ze, xe, tey, ey, e, thon, fae, vae, ae, ne, xie, sie, zed, ce, co, ve, jee, lee, kye, per, hu, bun, to name a few. Problem solved, right?

“But those are too weird and obscure. No one will know what I’m talking about.”

But isn’t this what you just told me you wanted?

“Yeah, but it has to be a pronoun people are familiar with.”

Enter: singular they. You see the problem here? There are no valid excuses anymore. Singular they is not only grammatically correct, but has been a part of the English language for eons. There are plenty of gender neutral alternatives for people who are still too obstinate to yield to singular they, but as it turns out, these people aren’t actually looking for alternatives, they’re simply looking for an excuse to continue ignoring the existence of genders that don’t fall tidily into their comfy gender binary.