Discrimination is something better than three-quarters the human population experiences, in one form or another. Truthfully, the number is probably higher than that, but I am being purposefully specific in the type of discrimination that I’m going to talk about. The discrimination against those of us who are “outside” what society considers typical. Gay, lesbian, queer, transgender, non-binary. I could spend hours talking about the discrimination people of color experience, but I don’t feel I’m in a place where I could speak for them. I’m the whitest girl on the face of the planet (I had my DNA tested; I’m 93% British and 7% Scandinavian. And you wonder why I work at night and sleep through the bright parts?) and my experiences of discrimination do not include the color of my skin. I would strongly suggest that you look up other bloggers who can speak better to what struggles people of color go through.
The Origin of Discrimination
The definition of discrimination, according to Merriam-Webster dictionary, is “prejudiced or prejudicial outlook, action, or treatment”. So, what the fuck does that mean? Well, the easiest way to define it is to give an example. One that burns so close to my heart it still hurts.
My Chosen Family
I have a private social media account where I keep up with family that I don’t necessarily need to know what I do “professionally”. On that account, I have a woman that I have looked to like a surrogate aunt since I was quite young (six years old to be exact). She was the “fun” aunt, that bought me my first feathers for my hair (you remember the feathers that we clipped into our hair using roach clips, circa 1985). She came to pick me up one night that I’d gone out with friends who’d proceeded to get wasted drunk and left me stranded for a ride home. We’ve remained in touch through the years, though I haven’t seen her in about five years, using social media and texting. I know she’s a dyed-in-the-wool Conservative, so I don’t engage with her politically often. She knows I’m a bleeding heart Liberal Socialist. She also knows I’m quite openly gay and is one of the few people on that account who is aware that I’m a filthy phone whore.
A few days ago, she made a post. Her post read along the lines of she’d gone to the dentist and there was a subtle sign (she included a picture) by the entrance that indicated the office was LGBTQ friendly. Her post read something along the lines of questioning why a sign like this was necessary. She specifically said something to the effect of “every new entitled group” demanding attention and rhetorically saying she was going to demand a heterosexual sign. It took me for a loop. I’ve known this woman for almost thirty years! What the actual fuck?
Of course, I couldn’t let that go so I made a comment. “It means we aren’t being marginalized anymore Auntie. It means we are welcome in places where previously we had to be terrified of someone finding out. Heterosexual signs are the same as White Pride. You don’t get a sign when you’re the one in control.”
While commenting, my post attracted the attention of another person who was friends with my aunt. This person challenged that signs weren’t necessary and went so far as to assume that Liberals were trying to exterminate themselves; blaming Black Lives Matter for trying to eradicate white people. I’ll spare you the details of how deluded this individual is (as well as my less-than-eloquent response that involved suggestion she have a brain scan because she was obviously the world’s only successful brain donation). But someone that I have never spoken to before, am not friends with, and haven’t ever interacted with before suggested that, because I am gay I do not deserve to continue breathing.
Freak Flag Fly
One would think that it wouldn’t bother me. I’m used to people being assholes. This just came from nowhere and on a page where I normally feel safe. So, as loathe as I am to admit, I sulked for a whole day. I was hurt, deeply. How could someone who doesn’t even know me suggest that I don’t deserve to live? I cried my way through a half bottle of Moscato. It was embarrassing and humiliating. And it hurt. Reminded me that I’m still not equal and that people still believe I’m a monster.
And then, the next day, I said something to my aunt. And I plan on using that hatred and that anger towards something better; something helpful.