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.
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.
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).
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.