Why I Won’t Agree to Disagree

“You can be friends with people who have different views than you. If you don’t, you’re part of the problem. Just agree to disagree.”

This is a popular sentiment I see on social media, typically coming from republican/ conservative individuals. Partially they’re right, it’s important to have a diverse group of friends who have different life experiences from you. You should have friends of different ethnicities, religions, genders, sexualities, abilities and upbringings in order to learn more about the world and how those who are different from you experience it.¬† Except that isn’t what people actually mean when they talk about having friends with different views from you. They are talking about political affiliations specifically, and how liberal and conservative people should be able to be friends despite the others belief system.

I try my best not to completely write someone off due to their political beliefs, however I do not want to surround myself with people who think it’s okay to believe in bigoted things. I will not agree to disagree when someone else’s life, rights, or quality of life is at stake. I will not agree to disagree when you want to strip someone of their rights due to their minority status. That is not the kind of person I want in my life. Living in a fairly conservative suburb in Texas, I’ve lived with these kinds of people my entire life. That means many of my friends over the years have held some disgusting and inexcusable beliefs. After being in many friendships with those who have polar opposite beliefs from my own, I have learned that there becomes a huge divide between the two of you and the relationships often lack honesty. It’s hard to go to that friend for advice or to talk through a problem when their solution is not something you believe is morally right, or you feel judgement from them because of your own views on the situation.

The people who you allow to get close to you effect the way you think and behave. If you surround yourself with people who are homophobic, transphobic, racist, sexist, ableist, etc. after time you begin to become numb to their ignorance, and may even pick up on some of their tendencies.

I do think it is important to listen with an open mind to others beliefs, but that does not mean you have to surround yourself with people whose opinions you condemn. I am not the first person to say this, but agreeing to disagree works when you’re disagreeing about whether or not a certain film is good or if mayonnaise is disgusting (it totally is by the way ūüôā ) Issues like disability rights, reproductive rights, queer rights, immigration, and many others are not something to shrug off as if it isn’t a big deal. So yes, you can and should be friends with people who have different views than you, but that does not include people who have toxic views rooted in ignorance and hatred.

 

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What It’s Like Currently Being a Student in America

I’ve grown up in a post-Columbine world. The talk of school shootings is not something new to me, I’ve been taught how to prepare for one my whole life. I’ve spent hours siting in dark classrooms, huddled in the corner with my classmates praying it’s only a drill. As of February, there have been a total of 18 school shootings in 2018. The latest, taking place at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where a gunman killed 17 people.

As a current student, this terrifies me. Many days I wake up wondering if I could be next. I’ve made action plans for every classroom I go to, in case I find myself in an active shooter situation. When I see students walking with their hands in a hoodie, I wonder if they’re concealing a gun. When I hear screaming in the hallway, I immediately think “where should I hide?” The worst part about all of this is that it is a preventable issue, yet our government just won’t do anything to prevent it.

I don’t want to be the next victim of a school shooting. I don’t want to see my classmates be victims of a school shooting. I don’t want to see anymore children die in school a shooting. We’re required by law to go to school from the time we turn five until we graduate from high school, and yet we are not safe there. I may now be in college, and have made the decision to be in school, but I still deserve to be safe. No students will be safe until we have gun control, and no students will be safe until our government stops taking money from the NRA.

It is not too soon, now is the time to talk about this. April 20th, 1999 was the time to talk about gun control, December 14th, 2012 was the time to talk about gun control, February 14th, 2018 was the time to talk about gun control, and yet we didn’t. We’ve become so numb as a nation that we get over mass tragedy is a few weeks. We don’t even remember the details of all the recent shootings, because there have been so many. The victims of these horrific acts of violence deserve to be remembered. They deserve justice, and that can only come when we, as a nation, make sure this never happens again. People my age and younger, like Emma Gonzalez, are having to step up and lead a movement. Children, and people who are barely adults, should not have to constantly tell grown-ups that our lives are worth more than your right to own an automatic weapon.

 

Trumps Latest Attack on Trans Rights

I would like to say I was surprised to wake up yesterday morning and find the tweets about banning trans people from the military, but honestly nothing he does shocks me anymore.

This however did seem out of the blue to me. No conversation, only a declaration. While technically nothing is set in stone or law yet, even stating these kinds of hatful things is harmful. This is the slow way to eventually ban trans people from existing. If they can’t go to the bathroom and can’t in the military, where can trans people exist then?

I wouldn’t say that I personally support the military in all of its endeavors, but being pro-military or not isn’t what this is about. Your gender shouldn’t determine what you can and can’t do or what you can and can’t be in life. If your willing to put your life on the line, you should be welcomed with open arms and allowed to live an authentic life.

Trump claims trans people are a “burden” due to their medical costs. The US military has quite the track record of not taking care of their veterans, or active duty member for that matter when it comes to health care of any kind. Not to mention not all trans people medically transition, and you shouldn’t assume they will or want to.

There are also over 15,000 trans people currently serving in our military. What’s going to happen to them? He acts like he’s stopping trans people from joining the armed forces, but no trans people are already serving. ¬†You cannot end sometimes career because of their gender identity. Are you going to discharge them like they did back when “don’t ask don’t tell” was a law? We’re going backwards on the progress we’ve made.

I believe this is just the beginning of an attack on the LGBTQIA+ community. He’s gone after trans people multiple times now, and it isn’t going to stop unless there is enough backlash. Even then it may not end. Gaby Dunn made a video about this, and she believes that Trump is going after trans people first, because they don’t always get the support that other members of the LGBTQIA+ members receive. I completely agree, and since that’s probably true everyone in the community, and everyone who is a decent human being, should show up and support trans people.

The LGBTQIA+ community is resilient and we will not let him get away with this.

LGBTQIAP+ Pride Month!

June is LGBTQ+ Pride Month!

The month of June was chosen for LGBTQ+ Pride because in June of 1969 the Stonewall Riots took place. While every city picks a different day for their pride parade, some in June, and some not, pride is about more than a parade or festival.

Pride recognizes the fight and struggles of those who came before us and paved the way. It brings awareness to today’s LGBT issues and sheds light on where we can do better as a society. Pride is also a time to celebrate the whole¬†LGBTQIA+¬†community and Queer culture.

This month I plan on doing lots of LGBTQ+ related posts. Let me know if there’s something specific you want me to write about!

How are you celebrating pride?

Love of love,

Alyssa

The White Savior Complex

Everyone knows what “The White Savior Complex” is whether they’ve heard it in those terms or not.

The White Savior Complex happens when white people “help” others, usually POC, and act like they’ve saved these people from “terrible, miserable lives.” Without the white savior these people would be nothing in the “savior’s” eyes, and would have sad lives. A prime example is seeing a picture of a white teenage girl on Facebook surrounded by children usually in South America or Africa with a caption talking about how sad their lives are. Because without her five days of white guidance these people couldn’t possibly survive.

There’s a difference between actually helping people because you want them to have a better life, and “helping” because you want to feel good about yourself. Religious groups that do mission trips that last a few days to a few weeks are¬†often are filled with these kinds of people. They’re so narcissistic that they think others would be lost without them. The White Savior also rarely listens to the people they think they’re helping, doing things like trying to “liberate” muslim women who wear hijab who are perfectly happy and don’t need or want any “help.”

The White Savior is always about having an emotional experience for themselves. Talking about how life changing speaking to a homeless person is, and using the one time they went to a soup kitchen on their college resume. Their volunteering is based in personal gain, rather than how they can be of service to others.

While mission trips and volunteering can be and often are good things, we need to examine our motives and attitude towards helping others. Getting involved somewhere that you can volunteer long term is always best! I also think we should call out the White Savior complex and call it was it is: racism.

 

What are your experiences with the white savior complex? What do you think about it?

 

 

P.S. Sorry to the guy in my header, I’m sure you’re a nice dude, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. I laughed for far too long looking at the photo in this context

Day of Silence 2017

April 21,  2017 is the Day of Silence hosted by GLSEN.

The Day of Silence is a day when participants take a vow of silence to bring light how homophobia and transphobia, as well as harassment and bullying in schools silences LGBTQIA+ students.

9 out of 10 LGBTQIA+ students have dealt with some level of harassment/bullying because of their sexuality/gender. The Day of Silence is in place to try and combat that problem and put rules in place to take action against the bullying and harassment. Many schools do not have anti-discrimination rules in place to protect their LGBTQIA+ students and so students who participate in this day are encouraged to challenge their schools to change that.

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While I have never personally faced direct discrimination or bullying due to my sexuality so many students have to deal with this on a daily basis. LGBT youth are 4x more likely to attempt suicide, and the rate of drug abuse is an estimated 20-30% higher for the LGBT population. A huge contributor to that is homophobia, transphobia, and harassment/bullying.

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Show your support for the LGBTQIA+ community today by taking a vow of silence!

Sometimes silence speaks volumes,

Alyssa

Trans Day of Visibility

Today, March 31st, is Trans Day of Visibility!

This is hosted by Trans Student Educational Resources, and this years theme is Trans Resistance.

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With these statistics it’s clear that today is a very important day! ¬†This year 8 trans women have been murdered:

  • Jamie Lee Wounded Arrow
  • Mesha Caldwell
  • Jojo Striker
  • Jaquarrius Holland
  • Tiara Lashaytheboss Richmond
  • Chyna Doll Dupree
  • Ciarra McElveen
  • Alfonza Watson

All of these women were women of color as well. Last year twenty-seven trans people were murdered, making it the deadliest documented year for trans related murders. Although it is likely that there were even more murders that didn’t make the news or the victims weren’t reported as transgender. Trans day of visibility is described as “not a day for mourning: this is a day of empowerment and getting the recognition we deserve!” by the TSER. I fell like part of that recognition is shedding light on the tragedies this community has faced.

Another part of visibility is recognizing all the talented and outstanding trans people. Laverne Cox, Lea T, Geena Rocero, Chris Mosier, Rhys Ernst, and Sarah McBride are just a few people who are trans and have been incredibly successful in their respective fields. Trans people are all around us and always have been. They’ve been influential in many fields as well as the fight for equality.

Trans people deserve to more than just visible. They deserve respect, adequate health care, resources, and so much more. With laws attempting to prohibit transgender people from being visible in day to day life like HB2 or the laws being considered in Texas, visibility is more important than ever.

If you’re trans, happy trans visibility day! You deserve love and respect, and are going to do great things. You are valid and seen.

Lots of Love,

Alyssa