As Free As the Most Oppressed

July 3, 2008

(Equality Essay Submission to QSaltLake, written Fall 2006)

Many “out” members of the gay community are still living in the political closet. Attending the annual fundraising dinners for the HRC and Equality Utah does not make you a political activist any more than attending a sports game makes you an athlete. The fight for equality needs each member of the gay community actively involved on every single day of the year, not just on one or two elaborate evenings.

Fear is something that far too many members of the gay community are familiar with. Whether it was the fear of how your family would react when they found out you were gay, or the fear that comes to any community that is the victim of hate crimes, it has the same destabilizing affect. Far too often this fear is justified by the ignorance that is allowed to prevail throughout much of our society. This ignorance exists simply because people do not understand one another, because they have not been given the opportunity to understand one another. We deny our family members, friends, neighbors, co-workers, and community members the opportunity to understand us and stand with us in our fight for equality when we don’t attempt to bridge our differences through basic one-on-one communication, as well as political and community involvement. We must each put our own face on the equal rights movement. 

I believe that true progress will come to gay rights when the majority of the people in this country realize that they know and love someone that belongs to our community. The issue of equality affects everyone, not just those who are being treated as second-class citizens. Any individual that believes that their rights are safe when another’s are in jeopardy is most definitely living with a false sense of security. As human beings we are all truly equal and no freer than the most oppressed among us.

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