With all of this chaos and calamity going on, I can’t seem to hold my tongue any longer. As I read comments on social media, I cannot help but notice the overwhelming amount of people saying “we need to refer to everyone as equals, not gay, lesbian, transgendered, people of color…ect”. However, I have to refrain myself from holding back, and say I humbly disagree.
I am a twenty something, straight white woman, that compared to the rest of the world, I lived a decently normal life. Although I have never personally experienced the utter hatred, and racism that is directed towards people of color, or the LGBTQ community (on a daily basis) I have had a few unexeptable actions towards me, and have witnessed my family, close friends, and strangers get ridiculed almost everyday. So let’s just talk about how, although I know most mean it in good context, we are not equals.
So since I am a woman, let’s start there. I do not think all men are pigs, or that all men are evil. However, I have experienced things that are down right not ok, scary, and sadly unavoidable. As a younger girl, I walked down the street to my bus stop everyday, and a man would be outside his house waving at my sister and I, and would make conversation. Years later, we found out he was a registered sex offender that had been living next to our school, and right at the corner of our bus stop, for years, for raping his little daughters friends. We knew this man, been around this man, and had no idea, and they let him live near our elementary school. I have been cat called, I have been objectified for my body, yet none of these things seemed to have made people bat an eye. Just walking alone to my car at night, and being told to always have my guard up even when I’m with people, is really old. Women are constantly victimized, blamed, and sadly people are taught more about protecting themselves from rape, than they are taught on how to stop it from happening in the first place. Social media exploded when the recent rape case occurred, yet people forget this happens everday, and typically have no outcome of justice being served.
Although I am straight, I have seen my own family members, friends, and strangers personally attacked for their gender or sexuality. I’ve seen people afraid of holding hands with their partner, and I have heard the hateful, evil comments towards them when they do. I see the stares, the head shakes, the disbelief when people find out someone is transgender. I have seen the hate in people’s eyes when they see someone who is proudly a part of the LGBTQ family. How can we say we are equals when trans women are beaten and murdered everyday, yet their stories go ignored? We are not equals just by saying we are, we are not equals by pretending the problem is not there. Even with the newly passed law of marriage equality, people think it all stops there. It doesn’t stop there. My loved ones are treated like garbage, while the rest of the world thinks the support outweighs the hate. Imagine living your life in fear of other people not accepting or agreeing with your sexuality or gender? We are not equals if people are still gawking at my friends and family or strangers for sticking up for who they are. Families still disown their kids, people still hate those who are openly gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender.
All of my friends, and all of the strangers that are people of color that are standing up for themselves, and educating those on what has happened in the past and present, yet it goes ignored. Instead, people turn their eye to the root of the problem, and claim that those that are a part of a movement to seek a change in the way people of color are protrayed, has gone unnoticed, or is looked at to be a negative thing. People see evil in Black Lives Matter, and see it as attention, disruption, and violence, yet people don’t understand what it is they are fighting for. We are not equals. As a whole, people are too blinded by the race they see to accept anything else. We live in a world that pretends to be supportive, and equal, yet turn their heads when the problems aren’t being solved. We hide behind our computer screens expressing “it’s not about color” yet they don’t hear what people of color can go through everyday. These mindless, senseless beatings and murders that are pushed under the rug, because people refuse to see the root of the problem. Racism, bigotry, violence, that happens to them everyday. This year, people of color were still ridiculed by society for simply speaking out during black history month. People of color are harassed for being a part of a movement, talking about the past, and speaking up about the present. How can we all be equal by simply forgetting and ignoring why they are taking a stance in the first place?
We are supposed to be the land of the free, yet we are far from it. We have come a long way, yet it isn’t over. We are not equal if women are blamed for being raped, and are sexually objectified everyday. We are not equal if trans people are being beaten and murdered, yet unnoticed. We are not equal if people of the same sex are physically and mentally afraid of publicly expressing their sexuality without cruel comments, or violence. We are not equals if people of color are treated unfairly, and fighting for their rights, yet people don’t believe it. We have a long way to go, but the fight isn’t over.
Instead of pushing away the problems, we need to face them head on. Speak up, and don’t let people get away with being so hateful. We cannot hide from these issues until another incident occurs. We cannot be there to help when we refuse to see the damage already being done. We are not equals, not yet at least. Until we can finally walk down the streets without worrying about our surroundings or discrimination against our sexuality, gender, and race, we must continue to educate ourselves on what’s really happening.
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