Contributor’s Note: Another hectic Monday for me, so here is an old entry of mine. Enjoy!
Every single day I am reminded that I am a minority in this country. Everyday I am constantly told that my rights are not equal to every one else’s because of my race and sexuality. Every day I have to encounter a racist joke and homophobic slur and almost every day I hold my composure. I’m respectful to the opposition even when they often do not extend me the same courtesy. Most days I’m very stoic and relentless in my resolve against conflict and strife. And on some days like today it is just so overwhelming that I want to cry. It happens is so many ways, but it hurts when it’s from someone you trust.
Sometimes I do allow myself those moments to let it all out and yell, curse, and have a full out bellowing cry, which is what was going on about a half hour before I started writing this entry. Having so called “friends” call you their “black gay friend” as some term of endearment when it’s really a condemnation. It’s grating and so condescending. And whenever I hear it, a barrage of emotions hit me like I’m a possession instead of a person, that I’m not human, abnormal, or somehow less than. Add that to normal every day racism/homophobia from politicians, irate radio hosts, and religious zealots, today left me emotionally overwhelmed. Angry. Hurt. When moments like these happen I have to remind myself of the next moment that’s left after hope is the only thing there.
But before that happens I ask why. Why does someone have to attach an adjective to describe me? Am I overreacting to this? Am having a bad day and just using this as a reason to vent out my frustrations? Or maybe I’m quietly thinking I don’t want to have adjectives of gay or black to describe me because deep down I still associate them negatively? No to all of these questions. I have a name dammit and I am not just my (multiple) races or sexuality.
I talk about hope constantly. Relentlessly. I’m sure some may say, annoyingly. But I believe in the ideal, the philosophy of hope. The best way I can explain it is that when all else is lost it is the only thing left. Look at Pandora’s Box, or The Audacity of Hope from President Obama. It’s just when I’ve hit my absolute rock bottom hope gets me to the next moment. Maybe it’ll be the moment I’ve been waiting for my entire life or more of the same but as long as I’m existing it gets me to progress and to move forward. To move forward to equality so that the next generation doesn’t have to vent out their anguish and pain late at night on a blog.
It simplifies our sexuality when you trivially define us by it. That is what infuriates me by it the most. It belittles our sacrifices and hardships so that you can categorize us as some big homogenous group and we are so much more complicated than that. It’s like you making jokes like “if you were gay” when of course you aren’t and not only does it make you seem ineptly pretentious of the world and it’s complexity but shows your general lack of understanding. It’s ignorant and no true friend would ever make you feel that way. I hope that this makes people think for a moment about what they say.
That’s why I always talk about hope. Always insist upon hope even when it seems hopeless. It’s not just about wishing. It’s about determination, willpower, and strength. Because our fight is not just about marriage but also discrimination in the workplace and protection from those that wish to harm us just for being who we are. I hope that in a generation’s time that the pain of my parents generation as well as ours that true equality is no longer an issue of debate. That justice and liberty truly have won out against the prejudices of our ancestors and fellow human beings. That we’ve evolved from using categories to describe ourselves and no longer look for sage meanings to comfort us when we have been oppressed. And that hope is what takes me to the next moment.
And in the the end only you can define you.