I’m pretty ashamed of myself today. I speak so much about speaking up and standing up for what’s right, and today…I couldn’t do it. I struggled so much today to call out by best friend’s boyfriend. All week that he’s been here in Austin, he has said so many degrading words. (“That’s gay.” “Faggot.” “That little bitch.” “Bitch” “He raped that.”) Every time he said something degrading or insulting, a part of my soul threw up. And I know he isn’t prejudice or anything like that, he is just not educated. The thing is that I know where he is coming from and understand that where he lives and how he has been raised, this is his normality. Now, I’m not saying that it excuses his behavior, but what I am saying is that I see where he is coming from and that allows me to better understand those that don’t think like I do. And if I continue to understand those that think and act like him, then that might allow me to better reach out to them and call them out on their behavior. But here’s the thing, I’m in Peers for Pride so I can do my part in this world and in our community to create change, and one way to create this change is to call people out. Did I do this all week? NO! NO I DID NOT! Why?! Because I was scared. It isn’t easy to call people out when you think it’s inappropriate. For some reason I feel as though, when you try to stand up for something you believe in, other people tend to make you feel ashamed for you calling them out on something. They treat the situation as though it was something that you did wrong, which doesn’t make any sense at all!
Calling out people is a hard thing to do in our society. People don’t like it when you point out something that they did wrong. So how can queer people and allies do our job without getting hurt? Because let’s face it, this isn’t a safe thing to do. One, you have to be emotionally stable to stand up to someone because if you decided to say something, and call a person out, you don’t know how that person is going to react. That person might start to scream and yell at you! And if you’re not having a good day, and you call them out, chances are, you might break down crying. Two, you also have to be prepared to give them a reason why it isn’t cool for them to be saying whatever it is they are saying; which means that you might have to be a little bit on the educated side when you decided to call someone out. And three, you have to be careful in general on who you call out…what happens if you decided to call someone out that clearly looks unstable, are you going to still call them out even if you know there might be a throw down that might happen?
Today, I couldn’t call him out. I can try to analyze and figure out why I didn’t call him out, but that doesn’t change the feeling of shame of the fact that I didn’t do my job to protect those that do get offended when words like that are called. I know I get offended! I mean, my soul did throw up every time I heard him say something. But I want to try harder on calling people out, and I want for whoever reads this to know that calling people out is a hard thing to do! But by doing so, you make one more step to making things better in and around your community, it just take’s small steps to make change happen. This could be one of them, and you can be a part of that!