“We” Are Not “They”

I am part of the LGBTQ community, and it’s like being in a second fabulous family, only this one gets super rowdy on our holiday in June and occasionally finds glitter to be an acceptable replacement for clothing.

My favorite part about the LGBTQ community is that we are, as a whole, are an incredibly accepting community. We are a quilt of queerness, each person being incredibly unique and not necessarily having everything in common. We believe different things politically, spiritually, religiously, environmentally, and financially. We disagree on some things. We live our lives under different sets of morals. But we understand that we are a community, that we are a “we,” and we accept each other as we are. If you ask me (and I know you would), I think at least a part of this is because we as a community have faced discrimination, isolation, abuse, and restriction of our rights. 20% of homeless youth identify as being LGBT; LGB youth are 4 times more likely to attempt suicide than their peers, and 25% of transgender individuals have attempted suicide.

We are told, time and time again, that we are less than. Churches tell us that–or they don’t say anything about us at all. Pretending we are not there, pastors and preachers and ministers and priests speak over us and around us and through us, but none speak to us. Laws determine that we do not deserve the same rights as straight individuals, not just in marriage, but in adoption, hospital visits, financial responsibilities, hate crimes, and job discrimination. Families force us out of homes and into reparative therapy. We are silenced, rebuked, told to repent, threatened, misrepresented.

That makes us really accepting of each other. And that makes some of us sensitive to issues surrounding other minority groups. (LGBTQ individuals make great advocates!) But I’m not really writing this to brag about us. I want to let you know that we can hear you. You don’t exist in a world where LGBTQ individuals do not reside. We’re in your churches, your schools, your jobs, your neighborhoods, your cities (making it all more fabulous, probs). And we aren’t somehow blind to the godhatesfags.com or the Matt Walsh posts or the preachers who talk about beating or killing us. We aren’t unfazed by laws that are pushed in States asking for religious freedom that is somehow turned into a debate on whether or not gay people deserve to shop at bakeries (for real, America, if you are so afraid of us that you can’t sell us a cake, that’s fine. We don’t want your cake anyway.), or online petitions to raise money for shops that promote that they would never cater a same-sex wedding, or people who drop their gym memberships because their gym kicked out a woman who threw a hissy fit about a trans individual using a locker room, or when people talk about “homosexual struggles” and how they will “hate the sin and love the sinner.” We’re not immune to your callous comments. We see what you post on social media. And it hurts.

You don’t have to change a single thing after reading this. I don’t intend to change the world. But I would like you to consider that perhaps, just perhaps, you have friends who identify differently than you do. Perhaps you are hurting people in your life without knowing it. Perhaps you don’t realize that people are listening. Perhaps you don’t realize that “we” are not “they.” “They” don’t have a homosexual agenda. “They” aren’t trying to recruit your children. “They” just want to live normal lives with the people “they” love. “They” don’t want to force you to operate outside of your religious beliefs. “They” just want you to understand that “they” should maybe perhaps have the same rights as you do.

I’m going to end this like I end every blog: let’s start a dialogue. Nothing is going to change until we change the conversation around it. And let’s stop talking like nobody’s listening. We are listening, and we hope you listen, too.