(bear with me on this post; yes it will be a little rocky)
Basically boils down to: yes, I am a theater major, I am spastic, I like Indian food, I am a punk, I can cook, I have a huge heart and get my heart broken easily, I grew up in Small Town, Wyoming, I am a geek…..I like both girls and boys, I am queer. But the last line people tend to see as all someone is, and as stated is not true, that is one of the last things I want someone to know about me.
I have always struggled with this, and I think a lot of people in the queer community do as well. I am very involved in social change and making the world safer for everyone, I choose to focus my energy on the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered community. I am an activist. Sometimes, though, I feel that when we are out spoken, people see me as the queer activist and that is all, and that terrifies me. I am not sure why, probably because I worry way too much about my self-image and how others view me. When we do events, part of me is always asking, is this necessary? Are we just putting the spot light on ourselves again? And the other part of me is saying “yes!” if we don’t bring up these issues who will, when will it become comfortable to talk about freely? We’re not trying to get special treatment, we have no agenda, and we just want the same basic human rights as everyone else.
Last night we had a workshop between the gay community and Greek life. I was terrified, for several reasons. A.) What if they agreed to do this just because it looks good and they really do hate us? B.) What if they are really all cool, and view this as pointless and us trying create something there isn’t? C.) I talked to a friend about it, to see if they were going because I thought it would interest them because it involves their community, and I kind of got it thrown back in my face. “Yeah that’s just what we need another panel about it”, and basically said that it was pointless. It hurt, and got me to thinking about all of this. A lot of it boils down to perceptions and we talked about those last night. How we think each group is perceived by each other and the greater community. We found out that we have a lot of things in common actually. Both groups feel that we are invisible and have no real presence on campus. We are very involved in community service; we are both misperceived as having “loose morals”, no good values when it comes to hooking up and drinking. We started the workshop throwing out the idea that everyone kind of thinks of when we both think of each group: the gays are anti-Greek and the Greeks are anti-gay. It came down to breaking all of these misperceptions down, and stating that its ok to dialogue, and I think (I had to leave early), but I think we opened up some great lines of communication. The Greeks are good people, and we talked about how to make it more comfortable, more inviting for someone if they were gay or anything and wanted to rush for a house.
So….how do we balance the double edge sword, of being out and an activist, but not having that control our image and who we are? Does it matter if it is all for the greater good? Are we making a greater good by being loud? I don’t know, I know some people who are part of the queer community who do not do any sort of activism, they think we shouldn’t, we should just be able to co-exist in the world, but if we didn’t have the activism would we still be oppressed and looked down upon? Is it because they are afraid of everyone else’s perspective on them, or do they just not care. Does all boil down to apathy? And will that apathy destroy our humanity?
Currently Listening To: Namoli Brennet- We Belong