I’ve been bullied a lot in my life. I was bullied relentlessly at school, beat up in second grade by someone I continued to beg for friendship and approval, called “The Blair Witch Bitch” and “fat Avril” all through middle school, and seen as a general basket case and misfit in high school and college. As a gay person who didn’t come out of the closet until I was 24, this makes sense, but as a kid it didn’t make sense. I sought answers constantly, and the only ones I was given was “Hurting People Hurt People”.
Perhaps what made the bullying worse was that it was not only happening at school. I would come home from Elementary school weeping and be told I needed to be tougher. I was made fun of by my brothers and emotionally shunned by my father. It made the bullying at school valid, made me feel that was all I deserved, and to this day much of my mental state is dictated by the thought that I still feel people in my everyday life are out to get me.
When I got my first full time job, in college, I was tortured by my employees. People who worked in our office longer than me and were bitter I was promoted would compare me to Michael Scott, talk shit on me when I turned my back, mock me with childlike faces and jokes about my weight and position.
Now it seems I’ve gotten myself away from bullies, for the most part.
Except that Donald Trump is our president, and representing the far right republican party.
This week I learned that it is legal to discriminate against LGBTQ couples who want to adopt children. We are legally allowed to be denied state adoptions based on the fact that we are gay or lesbian or trans couples.
The Republican Party has made discrimination LEGAL. Again.
I am not affected immediately, nor directly, in many ways. My eternally lonely self doesn’t have a partner with whom to adopt. However, I’ve certainly never dreamed of having children of my own and HAVE always talked about adoption, even before I knew I was gay. With any hope, this Reign of Terror will end before I am ready to adopt and another type of progressive democrat with empathetic and emotional intelligence will take over and immediately reverse this discriminatory law, but in the meantime couples all over the country will be told they do not deserve to take care of children without parents because their sexual orientation somehow makes them bad parents.
As a person with straight parents, let me just say that having heterosexual male/female parents DOES NOT keep the child safe or make sure they are raised in an environment that helps them grow into healthy adults. And if the goal is to keep these parentless children away from the influence of homosexuality, remember that I had straight parents, and desperately prayed to be straight, and had homophobic rhetoric shoved down my throat constantly in the form of 45 minute lectures from my father with no resisting and DIRECT eye contact– and I AM STILL GAY. The only thing this attempt to make me straight did was make me hate myself for being gay–so deeply that I was suicidal for many years (like probably age 9-25).`Now, I cannot work full time, be in public often, get through normal things like conversations with strangers, or properly commit to or believe in anything I put my mind to because the voices of my abusers still scream at me in my mind when I’m around other people and I have a hard time not projecting those voices onto the people I’m around and feeling that they hate me for who I am. I am permanently damaged from being raised in a discriminatory household. I am permanently damaged from being bullied about everything from my weight to my orientation to the way I carry myself (too masculine of course). I am permanently damaged from my attempts and the attempts of others to MAKE me straight. This law will not keep children from being gay.
The biggest thing about this one law going into affect, for me personally, is that it is the continuation of the bullying I received as a child. I am continuously told, through what I am legally allowed and not allowed to do, that I am not valid or welcome in the world in which I was born. I am not allowed to live the normal life of falling in love, finding a career, having a family, growing old, and dying. I am not allowed to be a simple nobody in society. I am not welcome to live my life as others live their lives unless I do it through the mold they prefer, which would mean denying a part of myself and likely becoming suicidal again.
When I balance this and think about what is possible, I fear for my own future. I fear for all LGBTQ people. I fear for our country. The legalizing of discrimination against LGBTQ people is not even the first offense, nor will it be the last. We should continue to be very weary of this administration and continue to fight.
We just finished Pride Month, and many of us attended parties to celebrate our sexuality. This is not what pride is about though–and frankly I was disappointed to see it reduced to that. Pride is not a celebration, it is a fight. We live our lives in constant protest when a man like this is in the Oval Office. We need to step away from Rainbow Capitalism, step away from festival culture, and step back into Activism. It’s more than just dressing in our best rainbow attire and watching a parade.
We need to fight.
The first pride I ever attended was in San Francisco. I watched as activists stood in front of the Civic Center, where so many gay activists have stood before them, and talked to us about the action steps they were taking to reverse Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Since that pride, I’ve attended at least 5 more in LA, LB and SF. In these three major cities, I’ve seen less and less activism at pride, more performers and partiers. I am disappointed and saddened. The point of this event is not to have 4 stages where multitudes of cliques show up and stay in their own little circles, dance, take selfies and go home. The point of these events is to unite our flames and our rhetoric and our goals so we can fight for our rights.
Our existence is being trampled upon. The safety of our existence is being threatened. The scary thing is there is no real reason for this law to go into affect–which means the entities which fought for, lobbied for, and passed it will not stop here. They won’t stop until their ego is satisfied in the assertion of its power. This kind of ego does not ever find satisfaction. If they cannot find the peace of mind and self-satisfaction through their power alone, they will literally stop at nothing to prove they are the one’s with the power and their vision of the world is correct. This is not their lives, its an ego game they are playing with OUR lives.
Because this discrimination is against the LGBTQ community, it will validate those who are violently homophobic and have been silenced and tamed by Obama’s presidency. It has always been dangerous to be gay, but that is eased when the person in power is liberal and does not allow this kind of discrimination in legislation. The electing of Trump alone brought out so many people from the woodwork who had suddenly found validation in their racism, sexism, violent, gun-toting, hyper-masculine lifestyles. This law will awaken the violent homophobe, and we will begin to see more discrimination that escalates to violence, I fear.
Please keep yourselves safe, and be willing to fight back–especially if your life is at stake. I am not a violent person, but I know that something exists inside of me that would fight to the death if necessary–and I know where the important arteries lie. I have found and connected to that fire inside of me for the sake of my own safety. I WILL defend myself.
Please march! We need to march, we need to fight, we need to write and vote and be heard. We need to tell our stories and be heard, we need to fight homophobia at home and abroad. We need to actively fight against this discrimination for the sake of us all.
These power-seeking egos cannot be saved. The men who are taking our rights cannot and will not see the truth of reality outside of their own perceptions. They lack empathy and intellect on the level it takes to step outside of one’s self and learn about diverse lives. No amount of loving them, empathizing with them, comforting or listening to them will ease their ego’s need for self-validation through the invalidation of others who are different from them. I’ve tried saving one of these egos–my own father. I’ve listened to his trauma, I’ve comforted his inner child, I’ve fought him, I’ve shared my feelings, I’ve shown him my pain in hopes he would care and think differently, I’ve done his emotional labor for him, I’ve conformed to his wishes of me–none of it is ever enough. What this ego actually seeks is Power, and power is a facade unless it is self made–empowered. The sensation of satisfaction these men seek is actually impossible without the destruction of every life around him. He needs silence, compliance, and constant verbal validation o his masculinity. This ego NEEDS others to be the perfect reflection of his own beliefs to feel good about his own existence–and that is why they are so extremely dangerous when in power. These egos will not stop here, with a simple discrimination. They will not stop until they have all of America looking as THEY believe it should look–which is only how a certain portion of American population actually lives.
As for those who criticize the comparison of Trump to Hitler, this is why it is a valid comparison. The psychological principles of Hilter’s Third Reich are the same principles of our President, VP and their cabinet. Hilter, too, needed to see the world reflect what he was insecure about. These men may have slightly different ideas they need projected into existence, but the ego force that compels their actions are the same–and as we’ve seen with Hitler, they won’t stop. Nothing is ever enough. Discrimination alone, scapegoating alone, deportation alone are not enough. Hitler sought extermination. If Trump even seeks full suppression of those who don’t agree with him or live his same lifestyle, it will be too much for us–we will lose lives.
Please. Fight. For you, for me, for each other, for the future, for children, for progress. Fight.