[Image Description: Photo is in black and white and shows a tight close-up of two hands. No other part of the person is visible, but you can see a watch on one of their wrists. One of their hands is closed in a loose fist over the tip of the index finger on their other hand, suggesting a feeling of fidgeting and apprehension.]
You speak with volume and determination. Your tone does not waver.
My voice is quiet. My words stick and stumble, stop and start.
You stand with confidence. Your body language is bold, fearless.
I close up outside-in. My shoulders want to sink into my heart.
You betray no doubts in yourself. Your words are facts, jammed
close together – no room for dissent.
My mind is doubts and questions and worries. Every thought and
feeling is examined, dissected, put back together a thousand different
Your face does not blush. Your body does not sweat.
Sweat slides down my arms, pools in my palms. My face is burning.
You are a leader.
I still have a voice.
(Photo: Copyright -Taro cc // Unaltered)
Trigger Warning: suicide, homophobia, sexuality discrimination in religion
[Image Description: A backdrop of a sun-dappled forest, with green leaves criss-crossing over small glimpses of a blue sky. In front, several rainbow banners hang, at varying distances from the camera. They are not solid pieces of fabric, but look neatly tattered, as if someone tied many different-colored strands to the same oblong hanger. They cascade in long, beautiful colors out of the frame.]
Sexuality has always been a weird thing to me.
Growing up in a conservative Christian community, I quickly learned that talking about anything sexual was off-limits. Not only off-limits, but bad. Not only bad, but sinful. As a kid, that word used to scare the shit out of me. I feared anything described as a sin, anything that threatened to send me to hell.
Mixed up in all of this was, of course, the issue of sexuality. In my case, I was lucky, because I’m attracted to men and I enjoy relationships with men. I never felt a sense that something was off or missing when I was with guys. Simply put, I identify overall as straight.
That meant I never had to sit through a church service that told me God forbid me from having a relationship with another person, no matter how deeply I longed for it. Or that my feelings of romantic love and attraction toward men were wrong, sinful, perverse – that I was an abomination in the eyes of God. As a straight person, nobody in church said that God would send me to hell due to the feelings I was born having.
Trying to be an ally has been a learning experience. I started out thinking I could do no wrong as long as I cared about whatever community I wanted to support. I put so much faith in my ability to empathize that I assumed it gave me license to defend a cause in any way, and I didn’t think twice about speaking over other people or acknowledging that I can never truly understand someone else’s experience just because I watched a moving documentary about it. As long as I genuinely cared, I reasoned, how could I go wrong?
I’m still learning, but I now realize it’s not that simple.
One lesson I’ve learned only recently is that I don’t have to be part of everything in a community I want to support.
I repeatedly see this issue come up whenever a marginalized group tries to have a space or a conversation of their own. One of the most recent examples was the Twitter campaign #BlackOutDay, where Black people shared pictures and stories about themselves to celebrate Black beauty. The campaign was so popular that it’ll now become a tradition for the first Friday of every month, with the next one happening April 3rd. But on the first day of it, many white people called the whole thing racist and complained that a “White Out Day” would’ve been shut down instantly.
Hello! Thanks for checking out my blog!
I’ve been wanting to jump on the blog bandwagon for months, because writing has always been a natural form of expression for me. Pretty recently, I’ve realized that I have a lot of stuff I want to talk about, and that’s when I got the idea to start this thing.
So, what exactly is this all about?
Basically, I want this to be a space where I can share my thoughts and hear what others think. I would love this to become a respectful community open to dialogue and discussion – and where, hopefully, we can learn from each other’s perspectives. A huge focus of my life right now is trying to be the best ally I can to causes that I care deeply about, and I want to use this blog to not only participate in the online community of advocacy, but also to continue learning about what being a good ally means by engaging with other people.