Thoughts on the Orlando shooting

By , June 13, 2016 11:50 am

There is something surreal, in moments like this, about being a privileged member of an oppressed minority. 

I can breeze through airport security with white privilege and passing privilege. I can walk into an ER with insurance and the self-possessed attitude of one who is used to receiving respect from medical professionals. I can claim, with no small amount of pride, a long list of close friends and family who have stuck with me since I transitioned. I am one who grew up surrounded by privilege, who has never worried about housing or employment, has never sought refuge in bars or clubs from society’s hate or rejection, one to whom the dangers of being trans often seem distant or removed; hypothetical.

In reality, however, my life has always been at risk. It’s been at risk for self-inflicted injury or harm, it’s been at risk for familial rejection, and it’s been at risk for violence, abuse, or death at the hands of those who would label me pervert, freak, man in a dress, or worse.

I stand atop a tower of privileges, those I’m mindful of and those I am likely unaware of. But that tower is never stable, and could topple at any moment. The best I can do is to attempt to find firm footing, help others do the same, and to call upon those who enjoy even greater privilege than I to build bridges and shore up foundations, to tie their lives to mine so that we may all move toward equality together, as one. And, of course, I must be mindful of those with less privilege than I, to ensure that my fears or worries don’t blind me to those who are even less stable than I.

With that in mind, I ask this: What are you going to do? Not “What Facebook photo will you like?” Or “What link will you retweet?” Not even “What LGBTQ person will you reach out to, and express your love?” (Although that last one is ALWAYS worth doing!) No, what are you going to DO? Where will you donate your time and money? How will you change your daily patterns? What conversations will you have, that previously you might have avoided?

This is not a hypothetical question. This is not something I want you to calmly reflect upon, searching for the perfect answer. Do not pause, or wait, or say you’ll do something tomorrow. Next week. Next month.

No.

What are you going to do?

Well?

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