There’s been so much in the news lately about women’s sexual rights/freedoms and homosexuality. Unfortunately, most of the news has been grim. I constantly find myself unsettled and angry that the people making decisions and laws regarding sexual rights and homosexuality are generally not the people to which the laws relate. Many of these lawmakers are making decisions that profoundly effect people’s lives solely based on their own morals and nothing else, not health, not respect, just morals. (This isn’t to say that morals are bad– of course we need morals in our lives or everything would be chaos).
But is it just, or even okay, for a few influential people to say my morals say that homosexuality is wrong therefore you and your partner cannot get married? Or my morals say that any form of birth control is wrong therefore you should not be allowed to take the pill? It’s absolute foolishness to me that outside parties are making decisions for things they know nothing about.
Take the church, for example. Many denominations today are adamant about keeping LGBTQ identified persons out of the church and out of church leadership. To these people, homosexuality is a “sin” but it does not directly affect them– they are removed from the reality of being LGBTQ. But for LGBTQ identified individuals, this is their essence, their identity, their spirit, their truth and for some third party person who is not LGBTQ identified and does not understand that being LGBTQ is an identity (and not a sin) to be making decisions regarding their status in the church is bogus!
The same goes for people making decisions about women’s health and sexual freedoms. Excuse me but when did a few powerful men become the experts on women’s bodies? (Yes, there are women involved in these bills too but an unsettling number of men as well). Take the recent “personhood” bill in Mississippi. Had this bill been passed, the ramifications for women would have been enormous! Women would no longer have the power and freedoms to choose the birth control options most appropriate for them and their very reproductive health would be put in the hands of the state. Unfathomable!
As Margaret Sanger said “No woman can call herself free who does not own and control her own body. No woman can call herself free until she can choose conscientiously whether or not she will be a mother.”
Unfortunately one of the only ways people with these mindsets will change is by meeting the people they are against at a true person to person, soul to soul level. But this is difficult because none of us want to be that “token lesbian” or “token feminist” who is in charge of changing the mindsets of our opponents.
No, we want to live our lives as lesbians, feminists, transgender people, gays, queers, bisexuals, women, etc. and have people accept us just because we exist, just because we are. There are, however, those of us who are called to stand up and speak out against abuses against our very identity– after all someone has to speak out because if no one will speak then who will fight for us?
And when I say “fight” I mean it in the most nonviolent, peaceful, constructive ways possible for fighting bigotry with bigotry and hate with hate will get us nowhere. So to all my women, men, queers, gays, lesbians, transgender people, bisexuals, and anyone else involved in the daily struggle of fighting for your identity and your rights, this post is for you. And to those who need the most basic way to begin accepting other people for who they are, this quote is for you:
“The most lovable quality any human being can possess is tolerance…It is the vision that enables one to see things from another’s point of view…It is the generosity that concedes others the right to their own opinions and peculiarities…It is the bigness that enables us to let people be happy in their own way instead of our own way.”
We will never live in a society that benefits and respects the needs of everyone until, at the very least, we begin to tolerate people. Then, beyond tolerance is acceptance, and beyond acceptance, love. This is the ultimate goal.