The Undeniable Ruth Rotating Header Image

equality

National Coming Out Day Still Matters

Happy National Coming Out Day! For those of you who are reading my blog for the first time or up and living under a rock, I am bisexual. If you have a problem with that, well then, that’s your problem.

Still Fighting by  aprilzosia from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

Still Fighting by aprilzosia from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

A few days ago I wondered if this holiday is still necessary. Same-sex marriage is legal in all 50 states and it seems like every year, I hear about a high school selecting a gay teen homecoming queen or an LGBT duo as the cutest couple. It’s clear as a country we are making progress.

I kicked this question out to my friends on Facebook, and the overwhelming response was, “Yes, National Coming Out Day is still necessary.” Even though same-sex marriage is legal (and really we should just start calling it “marriage”) discrimination is still a big problem facing the LGBT community. Even in Arizona you can be fired because of your sexual orientation – so your employer’s wedding gift to you could be a pink slip.

It seems that more families are accepting when a loved one comes out as LGBT, but there are still a lot of people who face abuse, abandonment, and violence as a result. People who are LGBT make up at most 10% of the population, yet up to 40% of homeless youth identify as LGBT.

It is my responsibility to determine what is right for my life; and as long as what you’re doing is not illegal or harming anyone, I’m not going to tell you what you should do in yours. I won’t tell you what religion to follow, whether you should have a child, or what you find attractive, but unfortunately, there are still closed-minded people who think that everyone should live as they do and that the government should enforce it. These tend to be the people who support the First Amendment except when it conflicts with their agenda.

As I thought about this post, I was reminded how lucky I am. I have an education and I work in an industry where my sexual orientation has never been an issue. (If anything, it’s been an asset.) I am part of an amazing community that loves and supports me. But there are lots of people who are not so lucky, who are dependent on their family financially because they are under age and those who will be ostracized from a community that claims to love them if they ever disclose that they are LGBT.

I’m glad to say on this National Coming Out Day that the U.S. is making progress towards equality in regards to sexual orientation and gender identity, but we are not there yet. (As a planet, there is still much work to be done as homosexuality is still a crime that is punishable by death in several countries.)

SALK Day 17 – Remembering MLK’s Dream

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

3. Martin Luther King, Jr., a civil rights act...
Image via Wikipedia

Dr. Martin Luther King had a dream that African Americans would be treated the same as Caucasian Americans.  Thanks to the Civil Rights Movements, the law treats all person the same; however, we have a long way to go to make this occur on a societal level.  Stereotypes vastly pervade our culture.  When we see a person, we automatically make judgments about them based on their appearance, whether it’s based on their skin color, height, weight, gender, clothing, posture, or who they associate with.

When it comes to overcoming stereotypes, one thing that is hard to turn off is the automatic filter.  This can be applied to a group of people or to a single person.  These are the automatic thoughts that all overweight people are lazy or that all Asians are bad drivers.  It takes an effort to see people for who they are, and not what they are.  When I don’t like a person, it takes a conscious effort not to view everything that they do or say as wrong or bad.  Also, when someone is being hyper-judgmental of me, I try to remember that their ability to be rational could be being blocked by their automatic filter.

When judgment is suspended long enough to see a person for who they are, their talents and personalities shine through.  The person who appears dim-witted has a chance to show that he is brilliant.  The large intimidating black man can be seen as a sensitive poet.  The awkward-looking paralyzed man in the wheelchair can be seen as an exceptional physicist.

Like Martin Luther King, we all have dreams.  It might be to have particular career, achieve certain athletic goals, or to raise a family.  With few exceptions, who are any of us to tell someone that their dream is wrong or to criticize them for their aspirations?  My dream is for the world to see that being different is not the same as being wrong.  Just because you don’t share my views or my passions, it does not make either of us wrong.

We each bring something different to the table, and whenever possible our unique perspectives should be honored if not celebrated.  We should all strive to see each other for who we are, and not who we assume each other to be.

Sponsor A Law Kid is my endeavor to pay for my last semester of law school. Today’s sponsor is Darvin and Jane DeShazer.   For more information about Sponsor A Law Kid or to see what days are still available for sponsorship, visit my Sponsor A Law Kid page.

Enhanced by Zemanta