By: Sacchi Patel
With the current climate, it is no wonder why this is on our minds, your minds, and in the minds of many people who have seen human lives vanish at rates seemingly much higher than “random acts of kindness”.
I have not been able to turn my television on and flip towards MTV (for mindless entertainment of course) without seeing at least one, if not several news shows addressing the latest lives taken due to the sheer hatred spread by the victims’ very own peers.
The amount of hate in our society has either gotten to levels that are just too saddening to ignore, or have at least gained much higher visibility in the media in the past few months. Every day I hear more and more folks discussing the “madness” and ask others what they ought to do with nothing offered as solutions in return.
I do not consider myself an expert nor can I speak for everyone, especially as a straight ally of the LGBTIQ Community. I know this is actually declaring my heterosexuality and thus creating an “othering” effect however, I find it important to point out that since I am an ally, my actions can be rather oppressive due to how heterosexism operates in a systemic fashion. In other words, I can neither speak nor impose my beliefs on behalf of any one group. Given that, I do believe these are simple and seemingly small things we can all do to “make it get better”.
Here they are:
5. EDUCATE YOURSELF: This is the first step. You need to learn what the repercussions are of single actions and the misuse/abuse of language. Understand that constantly using one’s identity to signify something is less than favorable, unwanted, stupid, or weird can harm others. It tells them that who they are is not okay by you and by many others. It tells them that something is seriously wrong with them and they are worthless.
4. PAY ATTENTION: Keep your ears and eyes open (ableism not intended). What are you seeing or hearing that makes you or others uncomfortable? Chances are many others are not okay with it either.
3. SPEAK UP & SPEAK OUT: Do something about it. Tell someone that their actions were not okay. Tell someone else so that they can help out.
2. SPREAD AWARENESS: Tell others what is going on in your community and in our society. Get others to join the cause in support.
1. STOP THE HATE: Don’t think hatefully towards yourself, any person, or any group. Forget the “P.C.” term “Tolerance”. It is not about tolerance. Tolerance sounds like this, “I don’t care if people are gay. Just don’t do it around me. Don’t let me see it.” We ought to strive to full blown acceptance, empathy, and compassion.
Where is the love people?
There are no such things as “innocent bystanders”. Just people who don’t act and people who do act. Which one will you be?
Be easy & Be well
P.S. Here is a video that inspired this post. Follow up of the infamous homophobic video-taping, tweeting, and out-ing of a gay Rutgers student. Thanks to my brother Sammi Patel for finding the link.