“You only have one chance to make a good impression,” is something that my parents drummed into me my whole childhood, and they were damn good at putting on a show that meant people never saw the real home I lived in. I knew from an early age that nothing I did was good enough, I was a girl, a split arse, useless, a disappointment. I have tried so hard to redefine myself as an adult especially after my breakdown in 2005, but recent events on twitter have shaken me back to that person who knows with absolute certainty that there is no hope.
There is some absolutely awful rhetoric on Twitter at present, which I will not delve into as it is my belief it would only inflame the situation and I have come to accept that there is no hope of resolution or understanding. There is no apology sufficient to appease those who feel injured and it is their right to hold onto that hurt and anger if they wish to do so. I have no control over their actions only my own. Hate and anger have no place in my life.
I do not have many aquaintances within the LGBTQ communities. I do have a brother who is gay. He is married, blissfully happy, and has recently emigrated. I miss him. Several years ago my brother was viciously attacked on a night out by some homophobic persons. He was badly hurt. It broke my heart to see him treated that way, but I know I could not fully appreciate his pain, because it was/is his and not mine. Even in these moments though, I wished only for him to live in a safe world, where this discrimination and hate did not exist. Where people did not feel the need to shout abuse across the street at two men holding hands, or as happened to him use their fists and feet to express their disgust.
The acquaintances I do have, I have met at the local munches. I do not count them as friends as we have only spoken once or twice and I believe friendship takes time to build. I do have online friends from diverse backgrounds. I call them friends because I have months of communication and interaction, but I accept that online friendship is limited in many ways. It is easy to cultivate and project an online persona, that is far from reflective of the real you. That is how predators prey on children, or vulnerable adults. I was recently asked did I think “trans people are less, or scary or anything?” My response was immediate. “God no! I believe everyone deserves to be happy; should live their lives free of abuse, and be treated with respect. I know trans people in my real life, and I support a young girl who is unsure of her sexuality, and who has tried to take her own life.”
I do accept that I must have a gap in my knowledge though, and I have been given resources by Submissy and Violet Gray. I have read all these and I have added a link to the one I found most useful as it contains a downloadable booklet on how to be a LGBTQ ally, almost everything that the sites advise, I was relieved to see, I practiced already. I do not pry, and I respect privacy. I use names and pronouns as I am asked to do. I did not know that ‘Mx’ was used in place of Mr or Ms. There was a list of pronouns to grammatical use (nominative, objective, possessive, determiner, possessive, and reflexive) which made very little sense to me, but that is due to my lack of grammar knowledge. I will be making myself a guide that I can understand for these, probably with Submissys aid. When I interact with people I prefer to use their name or ‘you’. I don’t use he or she much in person anyway – I do in writing but not in person as I think it is impersonal and a little rude.
The hand of friendship.
What does all this have to do with hope being a waste of time you ask? Well, in the past I would have hoped that my point of view would be understood, and I would have hoped that the hurt and anger would go away. The last week has shown me that hope is not going to help this time.
No apology will either. So, instead I will do what feels right to me. I will offer my hand in friendship to anyone who would like it. You want to remove the culture of othering, so do I.
I know some refer to themselves as LGBTQ allies, but this is not a term I want to apply to myself, because I believe it is too limiting. I am an ally to all sentient life. Human and animal. I am against cruelty and neglect. I am against abuse, whether it be physical or psychological.
Perhaps, on reflection, I have not lost all hope. I do not expect miracles, but I do know my own heart and in there there is a glimmer of hope, that the world will one day be the place I believe it can be, filled with love.
I am an ally to all sentient life. Human and animal. I am against cruelty and neglect. I am against abuse, be it physical or psychological. I am against oppression. I am for choice and autonomy. I am for the freedom to choose your own destiny. I am for the freedom to be whomever you choose to be. I am an ally for life.