From my experience, I have noticed a worrying lack of connection and empathy within our community and society as a whole.
With the rise of social media, we have become more disconnected and able to judge others. The way we reduce each other to a list of criteria is concerning.
Racist and exclusionary comments like, “no fats, no femmes” or, “no rice, no spice” only serve as othering, isolating and dehumanising weapons against members of our own community.
Next time you’re on Grindr, check to see how many of your fellow gay community are using this as an avenue to exclude those who don’t fit their “preferences”. Within wider society, when we aren’t being held responsible for Earthquakes by fundamentalist religious organisations, then it’s our trans and non-binary folk facing daily discrimination.
Our fight for homosexual law reform and gay marriage – much of it built alongside the progress of our trans community and queer POC – have come a long way, and I believe those of us who feel the benefits of that privilege have a duty to fight the prejudice against our wider community.
We live in a digital society, for better or for worse. The next generation of queer kids are coming of age as digital natives, with unprecedented access to information, and access to ways they can curate or form their identities.
The same technology that allows us to connect digitally with a global community can also serve to isolate us individually, with divisive rhetoric, and damaging ideas around body, identity, and who has value in our community.
We may be differing on the outside but inside we are all struggling. We all need connection. We are trying to figure out who we are in this world, and navigate those same obstacles that life has to throw at us.
We are more than just our sexuality. I passionately believe that if we want true equality then regardless of being gay, straight, female, trans, black, Muslim etc, we must at some point not just fight for equality but practice it too.
So many other minority groups have had to fight for their right to be heard and this is a chance for the LGBTQIA+ community to lead the way for something so much more than ourselves; to turn the passion we applied to fighting for civil unions and gay marriage toward wider imbalances, towards classism, racism, xenophobia, and the climate crisis.
The rainbow community is defined by our existence outside of heteronormative ideals, it is the foundation of our family. I believe that we have a duty to extend the empathy from our own experiences being othered to those who are still waiting on the outside.
That begins by extending that empathy to those who live at the intersections of our rainbow community, to the disabled, gender non-conforming, POC, and immigrant or refugee members of our family.
I believe that we are stronger together, and it is only together that we can improve our beautiful planet for many fabulous generations to come.
To paraphrase Emma Lazarus “Until all of us are free and fabulous, none of us are free.”