But in this digital age of facebook, twitter, blogs, etc., how do we decide where to draw the line at what we will put up with?
The Huffington Post published a great article about this, written by Kergen Edwards-Stout. He is an author, a father, and yes – a gay man. But I believe it is this trifecta of roles that makes what he has to say so poignant. He is not speaking of a hypothetical social situation, he is speaking of his own situation. And he reminds us all that the stakes are so very high in this election, so should we not dismiss those who would oppress us with their vote?
The answer seems so simple, but it’s really not. What about your family members that just don’t know any better, or are of a generation that is too set in their ways to change? Do you just remove them from your social media life entirely, even if you still love and respect them in general? What if it sets off a “thing” with your whole family, where you are cast into the ‘angry liberal’ mold and suddenly your children are shut out of things? You see, there’s politics in families too – and you know it.
The same goes for friends…although admittedly this one is a tad bit easier. What if your friends say they support you on a personal level, but just don’t think the country is ready on a social level? (Yes, I’ve actually had this said to me)
At what point do you decide out of a sense of self-worth and the principle of the thing to do something drastic like un-friending someone over their vote? And at what point does that become a self-important, intolerant temper tantrum?
I don’t really have an answer to any of these questions. But the way I see it is this (as I commented on the original article’s page):
I wouldn’t go this far personally, because it goes against my beliefs on freedom of speech – if I were to ask people to remove themselves from my page, in my eyes that’s no better than any other kind of discrimination. But I do have to say that watching all the posts from friends and family in favor of Romney does hurt, every time. And it’s for exactly the reasons this man has so eloquently outlined.
So while I refuse to pitch a fit because someone doesn’t hold the same beliefs or ideals as I do, I do think it’s important that I make known and point out why it hurts me so much when those opposite ideals are espoused in my news feed. And it does. Because those that love me should want me to be seen as an equal citizen under the law. Those that care about me should want me to have the same protections and financial incentives that they do, simply by virtue of being born the way they are. And those that call me a friend should want to live in a world where I have the right to be recognized as equal and worthy – both by government and society – instead of wanting to live in a world where I am to be shoved as far back into the closet as possible.
This is something I really wish people would understand…a vote against gay rights is a direct vote against my happiness and worth. It’s a deliberate action taken to ensure I do not equal you; that I am kept at the level of being less-than, second class, and wrong.
I cannot fathom voting for someone who has vocally come out and said he supports a return to segregation any more than I can fathom any of you voting for someone who says he supports an amendment – the first of its kind, written into our Constitution that is supposed to outline our freedoms – that permanently cements my personhood, my citizenship, and my rights as not worthy of recognition or protection.
So there you have it. This is just my own personal take on it, although I know it mirrors the feelings of many LGBT people in this country.
What do you think? What would you do in my situation, and what do you think the response might be from those you choose to cut loose?
Follow more from this author, Jeni Cantrell, LGBT Activist @ jenibeanstalk.blogspot.com
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PR/Media Director, T.R.I.P., Inc. @ tripinc.org (Texas Research and Investigations of the Paranormal)