I’ve been thinking a lot about activism lately. I am a university student. University students talk about social issues a lot. I am also the president of a club that cares a lot about social issues. I volunteer in an interfaith group. My life is surrounded by social justice and activism. I have even been a part of a couple counter-protests. But lately there has been a lot to think about where activism is concerned. There have been the recent up rises in Ukraine and Venezuela, which have followed many other up rises over the last few years. But these ones happened during the Olympics. The reason that I have been thinking about this now is because I am surrounded by different people who are of differing opinions.
Among my club, a number of us have chosen to boycott the Olympics this year because of the issues in Russia. We care about the LGBTA community and we are not going to support Russia by watching the games. Of course, it helps that most of us really don’t care to begin with. Unfortunately, I do care. I used to speed skate. I even skated with a few members of the Canadian speed skating team. One of my old coaches was their supporting his daughter. But I couldn’t bring myself to support Russia by watching the races. Because when you get down to it, the Olympics is nothing but politics. It doesn’t help that I’m an animal lover.
However, outside of my club I was hearing a different story. forget the politics, support the athletes. I wish it was just that simple. But isn’t supporting the athletes political? Isn’t cheering for my country political? It’s nationalism plain and simple. I would love it if the sports were separated from the politics, but that’s impossible. How can I justify watching the Olympics to myself? I would love to sit down and watch the people that I trained with during there races. For them, it’s not political. It’s away to gain status. It’s a way to make money with their sport. Because, for most athletes, getting sponsored is the only way to get paid for their sport. But it’s also a status symbol for Russia.It’s a way for them to say “we are still an important player on the world stage.”
In the end, I haven’t done anything. I spent my time not watching the Olympics editing my book. I played video games and kept up with the social justice issues happening elsewhere. I wish that I could be more active. I wish that I could help the Russians fight for equality. But, for that, I wouldn’t know where to begin.
So starting yesterday I had the displeasure, but opportunity to critique this long winded post by a white heterosexual cis man (a privilege granting affliction I possess as well) who seem feel hated because of being straight, and that we should all just get over it and are equals (equal in sin, as well as In God’s eyes). Further more he appeared to be on an ongoing tangent about straight pride of all things. The following is my reply:
*Picks up mic*
Okay so most of us Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Asexual and allies (LGBTQA) don’t care that you’re white or that you’re straight, we do care that white cis gendered (look it up) heterosexual people don’t think they are a privileged group.
Though in fact some people would hate you or be extremely angry at your post for a number of the reasons which I will elaborate on. I don’t hate you, but your post has angered me and shows a general disregard for the lives of people you clearly don’t understand, and whom I respect deeply and a community which I love and would fight to protect. Also why would some people hate you? I know: perhaps it is because they are feared, hated, disregarded, and willfully misunderstood by millions of people, not to mention the fact that they are hunted because their love is some how not “pure.” Not just by random people but by their own parents and siblings, kicked out of there homes as teenagers, ostracized by their communities for their feelings and desires that they had no choice over, and that many would get rid of if only they could, but they can’t.
I don’t know you (person in question). You’re probably an alright guy (though thoughtful probably is how others describe you). But you’ve claimed that you’re equal to these people in more ways than one. That you had to deal with any of the systematic pressures I talked about above, because those and many more are prevalent around much of the world, further more you claim that the bible is going to tell you something. The bible was used to support slavery and teaches that women are property. Cherry picking from the bible is a time honored tradition that I will not partake in. I’d suggest getting your morals from a source that doesn’t suggest stoning people to death for working on Sundays, mixing fabrics, eating shellfish, and beating your slave (*hint* not to death!). I honestly don’t mean to be overly aggressive over your faith, but you used it as an argument so it’s fair game.
As a sex positive person, and understand the literature on child development, your continuation of sex shaming, and sex negative attitude are neither healthy nor going to help your children. We are all born naked and nudity does not scar children, body shaming does. (not referring to sexual harassment or unwanted sexual advances. That’s a whole different can of worms). I’d suggest looking into Lindsey Doe and her Sexplanations for an effective and healthy look on sexuality and sex, though it might be a bit much so I’d tread slowly. http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCkxMlA7rt-mnIc1AjbyAsPw
To wrap up LGBTQA persons on the whole don’t hate you, and what we don’t like about your ideas has almost nothing to do with your whiteness or straightness, but rather your disregard for LGBTQA issues, for the prosecution and hate and violence directed at millions of LGBTQA people that goes on today. That from your post say we are all equal, yet women still get paid less, Queer people all over the world can’t marry the people they love. They are also not given the same respect as a straight person. If that’s your form of equality well then I think it speaks for itself.
I’m willing to continue this discussion and start up more if anyone reading this is interested, I think that any one willing to take a stand is taking a step in the right direction, I just hope that you, (person in question), and those reading continue to critically think about what you believe and about what you are told, including by me. I can safely promise that I will do the same.
Words are used as though they are the most simple thing ever. We assume that the things that we say mean the same things for everybody. But words are far more complex than that. Two people can grow up in the same city, go to the same school, take the same courses in University, and belong to the same religion but they will interpret the same words differently. This week has been filled with examples of this for me. Today I was discussing “faith” with a group of people in an interfaith environment. We are all apart of the same group, we were discussing the same book, but we didn’t all agree on what “faith” means or its value as a word. As an atheist, “faith” has a vastly different meaning for me then it did for those that I was with. This has lead me to question what the phrase “I have faith” actually means to the person who says it. What are they trying to convey? What message do they want to send me? How does that differ from the message that I receive?
Earlier this week I was dealing with even more problematic words. On Tuesday I was discussing “sex” and “gender”. What do we mean when we say “I am a woman” as opposed to “I am female,” or “I am male” as opposed to “I am a man”? What message are we trying to convey? How do those phrases have different meanings. For me, they are vastly different. When I am discussing my sex, I simply mean the label that I was given by the doctor when I was born. There is no deeper meaning and it holds no significance. When I am discussing my gender I am discussing how I feel about myself. How I label myself, and how I want others to label me. But many people use sex and gender interchangeably.
So what problems are caused as a result of different people interpreting the same word differently? What does this say about how we communicate? What should we do to eliminate miscommunication? All these questions keep rushing through my mind and I am curious to know how others feel about these issues.
I have been writing a book for the last few months. It is almost done and it is already being edited. I would like to discuss the aspects of writing a book that happen after the book has been written. Once I have finished writing the book and it has been edited for the first time, I will need to fix what ever needs fixing. I will then need to hire a copy editor. The purpose of a copy editors is to ensure that the grammar, word choice, punctuation, and spelling of the book has been done well and will not take the reader out of the story. Copy editors also ensure that style guidelines are met.
Once my book is completely edited, I will begin looking into getting it published. I have two choices. First, I could self-publish. Second, I could find somebody to publish me. This, for me, is the hard part. Self-publishing gives me more control. It allows me to get the book out to the public and allows me to create my own cover. Being published, however, saves me some work where marketing is concerned and allows me to get the book out to a wider audience. It will also cost me more initially, but may well make me more in the long run. These decisions are tough and I will have to think about what to do thoroughly before I make my final decision.