Allow me to introduce myself.
I am a bisexual woman who is married to a heterosexual man.
I am a Neo-Pagan, specifically a Traditional Wiccan.
I am a female.
I am deaf.
I am plus sized.
I suffer from anxiety disorder.
More than these things, I am simply a human being.
As are you.
As are members of majority groups.
And I want to tell you how I feel about the divisions we, as minorities are put into, and how I feel we further isolate ourselves from people who are different from us.
The Pagan in me says we are spiritual beings having a physical experience. I believe we are NOT these bodies. I feel our bodies are simply vehicles getting us around in this life and that we will leave them and go elsewhere in due time. I feel that we put far too much emphasis on these flesh and bone vehicles we are scooting about in and this is what creates social problems that we, as a species struggle with.
I feel the “us and them” mindset is simply an illusion and it is part of a base instinct that may have been useful thousands of years ago when small bands of humans vied for limited resources. But this mindset no longer serves us. Our resources in Western Society are far less limited than before and it is time to start working together better.
Don’t get me wrong.
It upsets me when somebody starts giving me shit because I do not believe the way they do religiously. I have always felt the divine is impossible to fully understand and that no one religion knows it all. I feel human beings create whatever god/s they choose to follow in their own image. I really don’t think that a timeless, infinite creator gives a rats ass about what you wear, what you eat and drink, if you smoke or gamble, how you have sex, or whether you lie or cuss or defend your homeland if war is declared. I believe all the dogma is manmade and it is what we, as simple as we are, need in order to fathom a relationship with a life-form we cannot touch or prove with our physical forms. I also believe different people need different dogma because no one way of believing makes sense to everybody. I therefore believe all religions are valid, even those that disagree with mine.
As for my hearing loss…It is a pain in the ass if somebody thinks it is a burden on them to communicate with me since I don’t have normal hearing. I have been dismissed from interviews- for jobs I obviously would not have wanted anyways- simply on the basis that I do not hear normally on an ordinary telephone. People find it difficult to make eye contact when they talk to me at times, and do not think it is fair if I ask them to repeat what they said. Some find it too difficult to text or e-mail me and state it is difficult to keep in touch with me, so they don’t bother. I feel the discrimination, and it sucks to be treated like a second class citizen, when I am actually just as capable as somebody with perfect hearing.
And I am a woman. I realize that Western society is and always has been male dominated. Men still earn more money, and options for maternity leave are still limited. Lawmakers still try to keep abortions and birth control away from women, and they still try to blame women if they are raped. I realize how being a woman in a male dominated society creates difficulties that women do not deserve.
And look at me. I’m big. Being plus sized has always been difficult. In school, thin kids always jeered, and in high school, I finally starved myself into hallucinations and the coveted size 10. That’s right. Size 10, not size 2. I could never get that small. Size 10 is the smallest I can ever get. The weight crept back, and I lost it in my twenties…twice. Now, at age 40, I am still plus sized and I am bombarded with pressure from society to GET THIN ALREADY! Ain’t gonna’ happen.
Surprisingly, one of the things that makes me a minority is hidden. Because I am married to a man, and like cosmetics and dresses and jewelry, few know that I have been with women before. The assumption often is that all women who date women always dress in men’s clothes. Due to my appearance and marital status, a lot of strangers think of me as a good , virtuous , wholesome, devoted wife and are shocked when they discover I support LGBTQI rights. The minute they find out, I am subjected to the same abuse and “You are unnatural!!!!!!” slurs as the other folks who are not hetero.
As for my anxiety disorder…nobody understands this at all unless they, or somebody they love have it. What few, even those who suffer from this understand, is that it is different for everybody who has it. Some people manage theirs quite well for their whole lives. Some are debilitated by it, however. Most people think it is all mind over matter and just the right amount of rethinking can just make it all vanish. Sometimes, that works, and sometimes it does not.
But it is just like if you are plus sized, or female, or non-heterosexual, or belong to a non-mainstream religion, or if you are deaf…if you suffer from anxiety, plenty of folks go out of their way to let you know what an inconvenience they think you are.
It is the same if you are elderly.
Or considered ugly.
Or if you are poor.
Or a member of a non-white race.
The list is endless.
People like to let people who are different than them know they do not appreciate it.
No matter what minority you belong to, you will eventually get sick of this shit. Really sick of it. And you might rise up and work to fight for your rights and change things.
I salute you for this.
We need you.
I also need one favor.
Please don’t be an asshole about it.
You read that correctly.
We, as minorities are at risk to fall into the victim mindset of blaming the majority group…whichever one it is…for every little thing that goes wrong in our lives. For every single missed opportunity. And we seem to collectively embrace a sense of entitlement. THEY have oppressed us, and now WE are not going to take it anymore, and they must go doooooooowwwwwwwnnnnnn in flames!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We will take all they have! They OWE us!
We feel that we are the good guys and they are the bad guys and in our brave struggle to be freed of their oppression, we can do no wrong. Everything we do to them is what they asked for.
Especially the demonization of them.
ALL thin people are shallow, cruel, starved bastards and bitches who hate everybody who is not like them. Their beauty is not “Real” beauty and everybody should be plus sized! Skinny bastards!!!!!!! Bones are for dogs, meat is for “Real Men!” Any man who dates a skinny woman is NOT a “Real “ man!!!!!!!!!!! Nevermind the fact some people are just naturally thinner, or naturally less thin and everybody has different things that appeal to them. That is not allowed if somebody that appeals to somebody is different than you! Oh no.
These rich bastards tie up all the wealth and none of us can get ahead because they will not LET us. Nevermind the fact many worked their way up from poverty, themselves. If they are rich now, they are the enemy. Everybody should be poor!
All Christians are child molesting, gay bashing, woman abusing scum! They cannot possibly believe in a god of love because some of their followers are intolerant individuals. Therefore, they must ALL be. Never mind the fact that majority religions are responsible for some of the most beneficial social services in the world and have saved lives and helped people to get back on their feet. They must ALL perish!!!!!!!!!
And so on, and so forth.
It is absolutely ridiculous.
If the attitude we are fighting becomes the attitude we embrace, all we are doing is furthering the divisions and seeking to become the new majority. And we are demonstrating, by our hatred, that if given the chance, we would be just as oppressive to them as they have been to us.
It also demonstrates we cannot accept that people, while they may form groups, really are individuals. Not all members of all groups do exactly everything all the same way.
Why is it so hard for some of us to accept that not all majority members seek to oppress members of minorities?
If you are eaten up with bitterness and your answer to your suffering is to just strike out and hurt people, I don’t think of you as an oppressed individual seeking to create a better world. I see you as somebody who just likes to have a fight going because you need an adrenaline rush.
And that is what makes you part of the problem.
There are so many different kinds of human beings. It is not possible for all of them to be just like you in every way. It is okay if somebody else has something that you do not sometimes. They might have worked for it. Maybe not. But maybe they did and it is not based on some physical advantage they unfairly had over you.
Context matters. For example…I could tearfully claim that I have been denied jobs based on the fact I am deaf. However, I used to be a director in my department. I walked away from that job field because I did not want to do it anymore. I always got help with phone work when I asked for it. Always. I was offered two management positions I turned down because I did not want the jobs. If I falsely claimed to be denied opportunity everyplace I went, I might fool some people, but in the end, it would still be a lie. And I HAVE a job btw. And nobody expects me to talk on the phone. Is it HARDER to find jobs? Yes, it is. But I can find jobs.
I could say that being Pagan created undue hardship because America is ran by Xtians. However, despite mouthiness from scattered individuals, I am free to practice my religion, as is everybody else. There have been situations I had to address, but I always won out in the end. And nobody died.
I could say people treated me differently because I have dated women. Or that if they say something I dislike, they are discriminating against me. But the truth is, nobody has ever acted against me for this. Not to my face, at least. I have suffered no loss because I am not heterosexual. When I told my older family members, they about died. But that was funny.
As minorities, we speak our own languages that people who are not like us do not understand, simply because they have no clue what it is like to be us. We get very angry if they reject our terminology or disagree with how we express our identities and suffer greatly from this.
There are times when people barge into funerals or abuse children or that people are killed or discriminated against in any way, and that is a human rights crisis and must be stopped. There are times when people who have an advantage or a power abuse it and they must be stopped.
There are also times when somebody is just unaware and if you explain things to them, they have learned something and they adjust their behavior. They may slip and misuse a word from time to time. They may forget something occasionally, but they don’t mean to. Occasionally, they go out of their way on purpose to be a derogatory, bigoted ass, and they need put in their place.
There is a real difference.
Allies try. Bigots don’t. Oftentimes, our allies get attacked simply for not knowing something they could not have possibly known. Not because they do not WANT to understand, but because they are UNABLE to understand or because something has not been explained to them.
We will never change everybody. We will never make everybody understand how amazing and beautiful the diversity of humanness is. But we are making progress thanks to good people like you fighting the good fight. Speaking out, and educating people.
I thank you for all that you do to create understanding and to bring together all the unique members of the human family in relationships of love.
Just don’t be an asshole!