Pinned Down

Photo By Jcadamson
Today I sit here looking at my screen watching the trending stories on social media and wonder what in the world we have done.  I see my friends sharing stories of wearing safety pins while others share another story of a trans person being attacked and mocked just for being who they are.  I watch the stories come in of others saying that a pin does nothing. It is simply a hollow gesture that does not actually impact any change at all.

I sit and watch and I'm scared.

I see those I love welcoming into office, people who would take my rights away.  People who may very well be the start of interment camps and death for people like me.  People like my friends and family. People who are not like them.  And I think therein lies the real issue.  They are more afraid of us and I really don't understand why.

My brain is scattered and I'm not really sure what I can say to help those scared people be less scared. Maybe if we take it one fear at a time.

Three of our Fears

1. Immigration - Our country is only our country because of those immigrants that came here searching for a better life.  Those ancestors didn't come in and treat the people who were here well at all.  They basically took it from those living here.  Is that what you're afraid of?  Are you afraid that those people you hailed those founding fathers you so love to celebrate are going to come here and take away your home, kill and rape your wives and children?  If we look back, it is what we did when we came here.  But we have learned so much since then. We are better people now.  We care about each other.  Can't we take that fear and place it into a bag and mark it as to what is really is. Ignorance and Racism.  We can open our doors to those tired, weak huddle masses and still keep our family safe.  We just have to want to do it.  In 2016, no child should be kept awake at night listening to bombs explode.  No family should be turned away from our doors when they are fleeing oppression. We need to spend more time loving each other and learning to be good to one another.  We just need to do it.

2. LGBT Rights - This has always confused me.  Why do you straight people (some straight people, not all) care what other grown adults do in the privacy of their own home?  I don't get it.  Some people actually eat raw oysters.  EWW   Some people actually eat deer!!  YUCK - Guess what?  It isn't my business.  As long as they're not eating PEOPLE it is their business.  As long as Gay men are sleeping with ADULTS, guess what?  IT ISN'T YOUR BUSINESS!  As long as Trans* people are consenting adults, guess what??  AGAIN!  Not your business!  LGBT couples don't want special rights, they want the same rights you have.  That's all.  They want to be able to see each other when one is sick and in the hospital. They want to have inheritance rights and be able to use the same insurance.  No matter what Rush Limbaugh or Alex Jones says, they are not coming for your rights. OH and that shit Pat Robertson said about forcing Christians to have anal sex?  Yeah that's bullshit. And just to put it out there, I've found in my personal experience the ones that claim Christianity are usually the more freaky in the sheets.  Just saying.... 

3. Abortion  - This seems to be a big one.  I can fully understand someone wanted to protect an unborn child.  I can also respect the fact that I do not have to feed, clothe or raise said child.  I do not have to make the sacrifices that it takes to raise this child.  I do not have the right to tell another person what to do in this situation.  It is not only a very personal choice to become a parent but also a choice that is full of financial and emotional commitments.  Now, let's think about this for a second. If person A has an abortion how does this impact me?  A perfect stranger?  The fact is, it doesn't.  Everyone should have equal access to health care.  We have addressed that over the years many many time in court.  A woman has the right to say what she will or will not do with her body.  She has a right to say, No I cannot raise a child right now.  Keep in mind this isn't some willy nilly choice. This is a hard choice that many women face. No one is walking around just aborting babies for shits and giggles. That doesn't happen no matter how much Dobson or any of those other folks at Focus on the Family want you to believe. Don't don't even get started with the whole "late term abortion" bullshit.  Do you really know who has late term abortions?  People with cribs and nurseries. People who have had baby showers and are waiting for their big day.  These aren't people who are just like, Oh shit I forgot let me run down and grab an abortion.  These are people whose lives are at stake and have no other option.  Seriously.  Stop and just think about where you would be if you were in this situation.  No matter what our President Elect says, Abortions DO NOT happen in the 9th month. Just stop it.

As I see it, if we can learn to accept the truths about these three topics we will be well on our way to becoming more open minded and giving people.  I'm pretty sure I heard some of your just say in your head, "Well my religion doesn't support ......."    Yeah well that's too bad. Also that's YOUR religion. Your religion doesn't make laws.  It doesn't enforce laws.  Religion is a choice.  You choose to be Catholic, or Baptist.  You choose to be Heathen or Wiccan.  You cannot choose to be gay.  You cannot choose to be black or white.  We take these descriptive characteristics and put them into little boxes and try to make people conform to those standards.  Guess what?!  I'm vegan.  That means I don't consume animal products.  It doesn't mean I lobby the government to make eating meat or using animal products a crime.  It means I....  *I* don't do it.

So what can we do now?

Looking at the choices that the President Elect has made for his cabinet I can say quite frankly I'm scared.  I'm scared for the PoC in our nation. I'm scared for the LGBT.  I'm scared for myself and my family.  But what can we do?  

Let's start by paying attention in local elections.  Make those votes you cast count.  Every time you cast a vote make sure it is for someone who supports a policy of inclusion. Make sure they are people who support the values you want to see in this country. When I ask the political affiliation of judges, I always get back, "This is a non partisan office".  Yeah bullshit. I want everyone from the dog catcher (figure of speech) to the President to appreciate PoC.  I want them all to respect women.  I want them all to understand that LGBT people are just people.  Just like they are.  So every ballot I cast reflects that.

Make donations to organizations that will help in making our world a better place. Focus on those that offer services to everyone.  I mention this specifically as the "bell ringers" are starting to gather in front of shops around your city.  Did you know that the Salvation Army denies services to LGBT people? So find those groups that will help.  I recommend avoiding large organized charities or parties that discriminate against others.  Find local places, volunteer at a soup kitchen, help a local animal rescue.  You can start to make a difference in your world just by stepping outside the box and offering to help.

Look up social justice groups and try to share good (accurate) information to your friends on social media.  I see a lot of shares that are from less that quality news sources.  Here are a few groups that I recommend.

Southern Poverty Law Center
American Civil Liberties Union
Amnesty International
National Center for Lesbian Rights
The Trevor Project
The Transgender Law Center
Lambda Legal

And most importantly, support your friends and family.  Be there for them when they are hurt. Recognize that when a Trans person is attacked, we are all attacked.  When our citizens of color are attacked, we are all attacked.  Don't be pinned down!  Take a moment and embrace our diversity.  We are a melting pot.  Let's care for each other as though we were family.

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