Friday, April 18, 2014

Again to Russia, always with Love

It occurred to me while searching for articles to write about that I hadn’t thought about Russia in quite some time. The article above popped up in a small place on my newsfeed. Originally when the Sochi Olympics were getting ready to be held, there was a firestorm of people who were calling out Russia for its inhumane treatment of LGBTQ Russians.

I haven’t thought about Russia since the closing ceremonies. What a bandwagon effect the whole thing was. Really, if people cared so much about LGBTQ Russians, they would be receiving the same amount of news coverage now that they were getting at the start of the Olympics. Now that we’re packed up and moved out of Russia, it seems logical to think that we can just forget about it altogether. Since it no longer affects us in remote ways, it doesn’t exist.

I’m mad right now because there are such trivial things that the LGBTQ community fights for, outside and within the community. I’m mad because our country seems to have a habit of allowing crimes against humanity to continue on. Sometimes I’d like to think that my life is hard because I fall into the LGBTQ spectrum, but when I think about how much privilege I have in living here in the US, compared to LGBTQ individuals who live in other places, I realize how fortunate I am.

Whether we realize it or not, the LGBTQ community in America has a voice. Maybe it isn’t the loudest voice in the room, but we do have one. And globally speaking, LGBTQ individuals who live in America, compared to other places, have a HUGE voice, and so much privilege. Maybe my issue at the moment is that I am not sure who to be mad at. Why was media so sure to condemn Russia for it’s anti-gay policies and now completely silent at the issue? *GAWKS*

I rant about all of this because the LGBTQ community in America seems to have a problem with not getting its priorities straight (pun not intended). In the video linked within the article, the start of the video talks about the passing of same-sex marriage in Illinois before moving on to what should have been the actual focus of the story. It reminded me where our agendas seem to really lie.

I’m not trying to say that these issues aren’t important. Trust and believe, I do the celebratory happy dances every time a state ok’s the gay, but really? We spend so much time trying to get the freedom to marry in a country where we can more or less live out openly and freely, while our fellow brethren in other countries are the victims of beatings, public humiliation, anti-gay propaganda, and death. Our struggle suddenly becomes so trivial when it gets compared to the struggles of others. Why is gay-marriage so much the subject of our attention? We could focus it in areas where we could do a global impact!

Even then, America is not so perfect, and I believe that our inability to prioritize things correctly leaves American in a problematic situation as well. We put so much attention on gay marriage, but little on LGBTQ homeless youth. We put so little attention on the unbelievably high murder rate of Transwomen of color, or the very unfair prison system against trans* people. Like any other system in America, the issues that get noticed are the ones that affect the wealthy. We’d like to believe we are in control, but we really aren’t.

My challenge to the reader is this, reconsider your priorities, and, if you’re living in America, be grateful for the privileges you have. Think critically about the news media and challenge where your news information is coming from. And, especially, to advocate and fight for the struggles of others, be they here in America, or abroad. It is my belief that, were we to push for treating each other humanely, instead of fighting for “gay rights,” the world would be in a better place.

To Russia, and to all LGBTQ folks across the world, know that you are loved. The journey will be long, but the destination is certain.

With love,

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