It is essential people to stay informed and fight for social rights everyday – fighting bigotry, discrimination, and oppression; this is the only way for society to grow and not remain stagnant and even more divided. I care because people who are close to me have to face bigotry daily, and individuals shouldn’t be treated as unequal for being themselves. Opposing this prejudice consistently is how society as a whole know the problem of prejudice exist and will keep growing if not confronted. People’s voices have and can make social progress in this society. Examples, include but are not limited to Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Fredrick Douglas, Mahatma Gandhi, Alice Paul, Harry Hay, etc.
It is not uncommon for people to lack common respect for anyone who lives his or her life differently than they do. As a result, they lack empathy for them. For example, people see those of the L.G.B.T.Q community’s rights as inferior to theirs. Of course, it is not all who perceive diversity this way, but this narrow mindset continues to exist. One only need to access the internet and news to learn about this.
Can love attach itself to others as easily as hatred seems to attach itself to others? If so, how? This is a question that passes through my mind whenever I see an example of hate and discrimination. It may seem like a long shot, but I believe love is a useful tool to reverse bigotry, and oppression. This is not to say running out to an oppressor and hugging him or her will change them at the moment, or at all. Wishful thinking. One of the most difficult ways to use love may be to love those who refuse to return it, with hope they are capable of becoming loving and tolerant as a result. There is plenty of literature, fiction and nonfiction, and movies that can enlighten people on what people of the L.B.G.T.Q community experience daily.
The movie, Love Simon, that came out earlier this year shows what a teenager goes through being gay- living in silence and with the anxiety from thinking about his family and friends not accepting who he is. No one should be afraid to be themselves when with others. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe follows two teenage boys who develop a friendship over the summer and eventually become lovers. The story follows the obstacles they have with oppressors and bigotry, and how their relationship endures and grows through it, regardless.
I feel people, especially the privileged, should be aware of the oppression faced by the L.B.G.T.Q community and should stand and oppose the prejudice along with them; this is a way to obtaining a society more aware, intelligent, tolerant of diversity, and less tolerant of hatred.
If the people filled with hatred toward those different from them can see them as human beings, who love and can be loved, who have goals just as they do, maybe their intolerance will fade. Love, however, seems to be something only given when desired to give; it is certainly easier this way. It is difficult to force oneself to love someone who resist and does not reciprocate with love.
To learn more about what it is like for a person to live in today’s world belonging to the L.B.G.T.Q community, I recommend the books below. However, there is much more literature on this topic out there.
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe.
I Promised Not to Tell.
An article concerning Same-Sex Marriage