Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Popping the Bubble

I have changed a lot since I first came to UT.
I think that’s normal and expected. In college I actually can chose who I want to be around, and I am allowed to adopt the beliefs I want.
I consider these personal shifts to be largely positive. For example, I can iron now. Well, I have an iron that I could use if I ever decided to wear anything other than jeans and a UT shirt.
But that’s growth.
My friend group has also changed. Everyone is so mindful and aware! They all want justice and equality! They don’t watch Fox News! That’s growth, and I see how much I have matured.
I am also in this beautiful bubble. I realized after going back home for spring break just how sheltered I was becoming from the reality that surrounds me. Where I come from is not as bad as most places, but it is still heavily populated with conservative ideologies. I was starting to forget I lived in a world where LGBTQ people faced persecution and violence. When I went home I heard slurs thrown around in restaurants that I almost forgot existed.
In my bubble I don’t witness the stigma attached to queer people in its full manifestation. We fight with theory and monitor language instead of for our lives on streets. Not that this knowledge I’m gaining isn’t great, but inside the walls of my university my perspective is limited.
Back at my hometown I realized how it could have gone. I could still constantly be in spaces where I was required to remain closeted to protect my safety. I could have to worry about how I was paying for my next meal.
My point is I have a lot of privilege. My educational privilege is alienating me from realities that queer people face, and it is also not very effectively equipping me with the skills to fix it. I feel like the knowledge I am gaining is only staying with a select few who are lucky enough to have it. The people outside of my university walls are not able to access it, and I am not told how to get it to them.

So I want to remind myself that I am responsible for sharing my knowledge with everyone. Not just the people able to pay a ridiculously high tuition for a degree, but EVERYONE. I just need to figure out how to do this.

Heath "swag-me-out" Fowler

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