LGBTQ+

Elitism Is A Problem, But It’s Not A ‘Coast vs. Rust Belt’ Issue

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So often, I’ll see or hear the term “coastal elites”, referring to celebrities or other people who live in large coastal cities such as Los Angeles, New York City, Seattle, etc.

The term is used as a way of saying that, because these people are largely, or wholly, unaffected by issues due to their success or wealth, their opinion or voice is invalid and unwanted.

The people who say this are the true elites, not the coast-dwellers.

Yes, the so-called “coastal elites” are largely unaffected by the policies they’re fighting against, but that doesn’t mean they’re not on your side. I would argue that would mean they’re more on your side because they don’t have to fight for these things.

Let’s take Susan Sarandon and her appearances on talk shows and news media outlets.

Every time she speaks, the blowback from people, democrats specifically, is astonishing.

She, on one occasion, said that people are now ‘energized’ by Trump’s electoral win. She also said that if Bernie didn’t win the primary, there should be a revolution, which I’m very split on.

On the one hand, Bernie was the most progressive candidate, the probable best way for us to move forward as a nation on our policies.

On the other hand, revolting before ensuring the election for the Democrats was/is stupid.

Going back to people being energized, I’m wholly in support of this statement and here’s why: it’s true.

She’s not saying that him being elected is a good thing, but she is saying that it has brought about a good thing. People on the left are now, to use her word, energized to fight.

People who didn’t feel the need to fight before are feeling it now.

However, getting back to the topic, people, let’s call them activist elitists, on the left are focusing on the “people who didn’t feel the need to fight before” and “they’re largely unaffected, so their voice doesn’t matter” parts, rather than focusing on the fact that they’re fighting now.

Look, I get it. I’m with you; they should have been fighting to begin with; but not everyone has the will or desire to constantly fight for everything, for more, against every injustice. And I don’t wish that on them, no matter how irritating it is that I can’t do that.

I have to stay informed and, to a degree, active in politics. My safety depends on it, like so many others’ does.

Since, for my own wellbeing, I have to stay informed and at least circulate information, why wouldn’t I keep up to date on other issues that don’t directly affect me and circulate that as well? It’s reading another article or three or watching a few more videos, and circulating is as easy as a tweet, which is what I do anyway.

This is where, I believe, activist elitists’ frustration comes from: it’s so easy to do, why wouldn’t you do it in the first place.

The answer is easy: celebrities and other “coastals” are affected, just not in the same way as we are; they’re affected by being ostracized in their job field and unable to get consistent work.

We like to believe that celebrities are all extremely rich, but that’s not always the case. Actors especially are affected by a very temperamental market.

If someone better, or someone who’s slightly more attractive and just as good, comes along, they’re out of a job. They’re not the hottest thing out there and, in the entertainment industry, everyone wants the next hottest thing.

Actors have to tread carefully. If they become activists with their platforms and that may, not even will, but may, cut into profits, they’re out of work unless they’re well-established. And if that’s the case, they don’t have to worry about not having work in a lot of cases.

Look at athlete activist Colin Kaepernick: he peacefully protested against racial injustice and inequality. He was respectful: he didn’t incite violence, destroy property, or disrespect anyone. But he can’t get a job in the field he’s worked towards his entire life now.

He used his platform and is now paying for it.

The problem isn’t the people in fear of their jobs; it’s the people making them lose their jobs due to controversy, one way or another.

The elitists aren’t those who are just becoming activists and aren’t affected by the issues directly; the elitists are the people who demand the past be changed or everything stay compartmentalized.

We need to stop the infighting; we need to unite.

The activist elites need to stop creating new problems and accept the help to fight on the actual problems.

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Dress Codes Aren’t A Case-By-Case Basis

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This past weekend, United Airlines stopped two teenage girls and a child to change clothes because they were wearing leggings.

It’s reported that leggings “were not appropriate travel attire”, via The New York Times. The father of the young girl was also reportedly wearing above-the-knee shorts and was left alone.

United has defended this decision of policing female’s choice of dress by saying that it’s due to a policy for ‘pass travelers’, travelers that are using company benefits, either employees themselves or their families through standby tickets, tickets left over when a flight isn’t full.

United has said that pass travelers are ‘representing’ the company.

No. You do not get to dictate how anyone dresses in any situation as long as they’re not on the clock. Employee, dependant, or otherwise, this is unacceptable.

No, I’m not saying you can’t have a dress code for all your passengers or even a specified dress code for, specifically, on-the-clock flyers for your company. That’s perfectly fine.

But off-the-clock employees or their dependants? Unless they’re wearing a clear indicator that they’re an employee, which, by all means, have a policy that off-the-clock workers take such indicators off, they are not representatives.

They’re people who you have no control over.

If they’re wearing something offensive or hateful, well, that’s something to put in your overall dress code or employee policies on public expression ahead of time; but if it’s not those things, you can’t control what they wear in their own time.

(By ‘offensive’, I mean in poor taste; pasties and tassels, undergarments, swimsuits that aren’t ‘passable’ as ‘regular’ clothing, etc. Not leggings, which have become regular daily wear for women, and even men.)

Employees, once they are not on the clock or clearly indicating that they work for your company, are not representatives. They are not yours to dictate what they can and can’t dress like separate from other people.

Because, here’s something you probably don’t know, but those people that are pass travelers that aren’t employees or outwardly indicating representation of the company, no one else will know or even care what they’re dressed like.

When you’re at the airport, you’re there because you’re trying to get somewhere, not because you’re trying to socialize or ‘represent’ your company.

Unless parts of your body that, by public decency standards, are hanging out, you’re fine and no one cares except for those people who want to control every other person’s life and dress.

And you don’t kowtow to those people.

Going back to the little girl’s father who was wearing above-the-knee shorts, no one said anything to him. I’d argue that’s worse than leggings because he’s showing more skin and his underwear or even privates could be seen.

To make another point, I, prior to this point, anyway, fly United. And I’ve flown in above-the-knee shorts and pajama pants. Hell, I’ve worn slippers.

You could argue that I wasn’t a pass traveler, but, as I pointed out, that doesn’t matter in the slightest.

So what’s the real issue here?

Oh, wait! I know what it is!! He’s male and they’re female.

There’s the issue! It’s good old-fashioned sexism.

They’re wearing leggings and being sexualized because of it, even though they’re teenagers and a child.

This is at the heart of most, if not all, dress codes anywhere. Male and females have wildly different standards in regards to dress.

From school to business, females are overtly sexualized and controlled via their sartorial sense where men are not.

Females are given more restrictions, are held to them more strictly, and are punished more severely if they don’t adhere to these unfair limitations.

There’s no other word than sexism for this.

If females can’t wear leggings, neither can males. If females can’t wear shorts above the knee, neither can males. If females can’t show their chests, neither can males.

Let’s reverse this to make it more empowering.

If males can show their chests, so can women. If males can wear short shorts, so can women. If men can wear leggings, so can women.

While, yes, male and females wear different clothing, they should both be held to the same standards where applicable, which is everywhere because clothing is irrelevant.

Clothing isn’t gendered or has a personal preference as to who can and can’t wear it, aside from how it was made and for what body type it was made for. Wear what you please.

Equality doesn’t discriminate or place different standards on case-by-case bases. That’s why it’s equality.

Why Identity Politics Isn’t A Bad Thing

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Often, those on the right use ‘identity politics’ as an insult or a disqualifier to policies or opinions.

In doing so, they’re effectively attempting to minimize, and even neutralize, humans and humanity itself. Let me explain.

To harken back to my post on saturday, What It’s Like To Be Gay In Trump’s America, I said this:

The moment I say this, every single word I say will be completely disregarded by a portion of people.

They will be completely blind to everything else I say because of who I am.

The message that I’m trying to get out, the facts, the points, everything will be completely thrown out because I’m simply “using identity politics” to make a point and not looking at things objectively, even when that’s the majority of what I do here. That’s what I’m setting out to do, anyway.

I would very much like to expand on that and how, not only is that a bad thing, but so-called “identity politics” is a good thing and wholly unavoidable.

From Merriam-Webster:

plural

identities

  • 1a:  sameness of essential or generic character in different instances
    • 1b:  sameness in all that constitutes the objective reality of a thing :oneness
  • 2a:  the distinguishing character or personality of an individual :individuality

So, in other words, we all have an identity, both as humans and as individuals.

However, that’s not what I’d like to focus on, though I will be referencing it.

No, what I’d like to focus on is how Republicans and conservatives also use identity politics.

They use identity politics as Republicans, Americans, conservatives, Christians (and its surrounding religions), monetary value, and, by their views, moral superiority.

While these things aren’t a problem in and of themselves, they like to use these identities to push those who don’t fit into these categories down.

Rather than trying to make other people equal or strive for things that are good for humanity as a whole, they use them to push those things down in order to push their agenda.

While, again, this isn’t an issue without context, when you look at what their agenda actually is and look at how they implement it, it becomes clear that they are not on the side of humanity, or even just good.

That’s because the Republican agenda is greed and money, and the conservative agenda is to get rid of those who aren’t exactly like them.

When you compare that to the Democrats, or really, more left, liberal, and progressives, when they use identity politics, it’s to promote equality and to dispel injustices.

Their goal is to pull everybody up to the same level as those at the top, which, ironically or not, those on the other side perceive this as an attack in an attempt to push them down and put them below.

This is a classic act of projection, which is defined as:

Definition of projection

6b:  the attribution of one’s own ideas, feelings, or attitudes to other people or to objects; especially:  the externalization of blame, guilt, or responsibility as a defense against anxiety

They know that’s what they do, so they assume that’s what everyone does.

As I’ve said before, Republicans/conservatives like everything to be simple, to be black and white. They dislike having to take context into account to form an accurate viewpoint or opinion because that requires more work than the inconsequential amount they use; it’s more difficult.

I’ve also spoke about how they object to being kind to one another; that they view it, that they view being human, as a weakness.

Because they believe these things and think this way, they automatically assume and project that onto others because they’re unable, or unwilling, to wonder or think about how everyone is different.

Those differences, be they in opinion, physical appearance or performance, emotional capability or conduct, etc. so on and so forth, are what forms our identities.

Every single person is an individual with their own identity, but those on the right don’t like that. They would prefer if everyone were the same.

But if that happened, humans would cease to be humans, both as a society and as a species.

Were we all the same, we would cease to do anything; our complex cognitive reactions and interactions would halt, our impact on the world would cease, and our species would not progress.

(I’m not going to go in-depth at this point, but I felt it was worth noting; I may come back to this at a later post.)

This is the danger of right-leaning, conservative thinking; their goal is not just to slow down progress, as others may tell you, but to conserve it completely: to halt it.

This is where the left-leaning, progressive thinkers come in. They attempt to assemble people to combat this, to keep us progressing, by using identity and identity politics.

The way for us, as humans, to survive, and, indeed, thrive, is by progressing further as, not just a species, but a society. (There are so many commas in this sentence, but I love it.)

To jump just a little further into the possible ramifications of halting progress and becoming, effectively, all the same, if that were to happen, not only would those immediate things take effect, but, over time, we, as a species, due to lack of progress, would evolve.

That’s how evolution works, broadly. X doesn’t change, impact, or thrive, and because nature is constantly changing, X doesn’t continue to survive. So X begins adapting, or, as we should put it, evolving, slowly becoming Y over time because of X’s inability to continue on as X.

(Y’know, I am going to come back to this topic in the future after I do some more research and gain some more knowledge.)

You can see this in the overwhelming spread of left-leaning young people as the right-leaning older people are having children, getting older, and dying.

People, as a whole, are realizing that other people matter, that other people’s lives matterthat the world does not revolve around them. And that reflects by people leaning more left.

This is a reflection on people placing importance on individuals and their identities.

Because, in the end, we’re all human and that’s what matters.

What It’s Like To Be Gay In Trump’s America

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I’ve been putting this off for quite a while, I’ll be honest. I’ve wanted to avoid speaking about this as long as possible because this blog isn’t really about me.

It’s about politics and factual truth. Yes, my views are a major part of the blog, but I’m not the focus; the politics are.

While that’s not changing, I feel it’s important to speak up on who I am, for context’s sake. My second post was a deeply personal letter that I published here because I felt it was important to share.

I’ve been up front about things when they come, but I’ve never really addressed this particular side of me on the blog, for reasons I didn’t really know about until just recently:

The moment I say this, every single word I say will be completely disregarded by a portion of people.

They will be completely blind to everything else I say because of who I am.

The message that I’m trying to get out, the facts, the points, everything will be completely thrown out because I’m simply “using identity politics”* to make a point and not looking at things objectively, even when that’s the majority of what I do here. That’s what I’m setting out to do, anyway.

*More on this in a later post.

It’s like whenever you say anything on the internet and someone who doesn’t know who you are comments and you reply with something that’s logical or pushing against them or even just presenting new facts they didn’t know; the immediate reaction from them is “oh, you’re one of them” or something to that effect.

Except…for members of the LGBTQ+ community, this transfers over to real life as well.

People aren’t stereotypes; they’re individuals. While there may be a correlation, that doesn’t always hold true, in either direction.

Prior to the election, people, strangers I should say, would assume I was straight, mostly out of, I believe, politeness or some pseudo-equivalent in their minds; just a quiet way of pushing my existence back into hiding.

Guys (and I use that term for everyone), I know what my voice sounds like. I know what it sounds like when I speak, how I move, how I interact with people I don’t know.

I’m not “traditionally masculine”; I’m a geeky gay guy with glasses and dyed hair who wears flip-flops all year round and carries around a book bag and kind of acts like a “strong female character”.

I don’t know, I’m trying to make it easy to show who I am outside of the written word and…I’m basically Piper Halliwell from Charmed meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets Rachel Morgan from The Hollows by Kim Harrison meets Yuna from Final Fantasy X/X-2 meets Gin from Elemental Assassin by Jennifer Estep. Throw some Sora from Kingdom Hearts in there and you’ve got me almost completely.

I’m not a bro-y, tough guy, sports fanatic with a deep voice and disregard for general appearance. (I’m not saying that all straight guys are like this or anything, just pointing out the stereotype.)

I’m not flamboyantly bouncy either. (I’ve got masculinity issues from bullying.)

I’m just kinda…me; someone who’s kind of in the middle and watched way too much Charmed. Seriously. I’m like 80% Piper.

Anyway…

Before the election, people kinda left me alone. I’d sometimes get the side-eye from some people (read: men), but for the most part, I faded into the background, discounting the looks I got from my blue/purple/teal hair.

And, yes, I can tell when I was being looked at because of my hair and my sexuality. It’s…a different feeling.

With my hair, the looks always give off the feeling of “that dude’s hair is blue/purple/teal”; with my sexuality, the looks always give the feeling of “how disgusting”. It’s easy to tell the difference.

For one, people at large aren’t as good at controlling their facial expressions as they would like to believe. For another, those feelings you get of people watching you, those instincts built up throughout evolution and growing up, they’re telling. Very telling.

More and more often since November 9th, I’ve been getting those “how disgusting” looks. And it’s terrifying.

It’s terrifying because some of those looks from some of those people, sometimes the feeling they put off very clearly says “I would hurt you, even kill you, if you were alone and I got the chance”. I’m not saying it’s common, but it’s not rare anymore. Before, I’d only felt like that twice. Before, most of the looks were just disgusted, irritated that I existed. Now…

Now, whenever I go out in public, I’m scared. I won’t go anywhere alone, unless it’s somewhere I know will have a lot of people or has a big enough public view where other people could see. I won’t wait outside of the bathroom at the mall for my boyfriend to finish using it when I notice that people are looking my way, giving me those looks, or when it gets too quiet. I won’t walk through the grocery store to grab something alone unless the store’s populated enough.

Some of these I don’t even do consciously and I only just realized I did them as I was typing that out. It’s just an instinct that I’ve somehow obtained or cultivated without realizing. Just noticing how many people are in the store through sound or not walking anywhere I know won’t be in easy view of other people.

Realizing that is almost as terrifying as living it.

I just kinda stopped for a couple of minutes. I feel the need to point that out.

This past summer, I went to a small town bar with my mother, aunt, uncles, and a few cousins, on vacation. The entire time, I felt people watching me; judging me; being disgusted with me; appalled that I had the gall to exist, to even step foot in their bar.

At one point, I got pushed, just a bit, it could’ve been unintentional drunken imbalance, but it wasn’t. At another, I got felt up; not overtly, not super intrusive, but still. That person proceeded to watch me the rest of the time we were there.

(This is what women go through every day. But, sure, men and women are totally equal. Go read this thing I wrote on feminism.)

I avoided the bathroom all night. Until I saw my big huge uncle go in there; then I went. He noticed me in the mirror and started talking to me. I went to the bathroom. That dude that had felt me up and was staring at me came in. My uncle stayed in until I was done. I know he did; I could tell.

Imagine that feeling, take it and ratchet it up even more; now apply that to every single day.

That’s what it’s like now. That’s what every day that I leave my house is like.

I leave my house and I’m terrified, sometimes even just walking outside. I don’t let it keep me from living my life; that’d be letting them win. But…

I’m constantly hyper-vigilant, scared for my safety. Luckily, I’m also incredibly perceptive and it just fades into the background until it’s necessary to notice.

(I’ve probably mentioned this, because I’m a super braggy person about it and it’s a decent-ish way to push back against the rampant idiocy, but I have an IQ of 156; I’m an actual genius.

Let me be clear: IQ is not how smart you are; it’s how easily you process information, how high your capabilities are, even how you process information.

I learn at a phenomenally fast rate and process information faster than I can usually comprehend unless I’m really focusing.

When I tell you that I’m incredibly perceptive, that I can take things apart, that I can see threads and connections where most people wouldn’t until it was obvious, know that I mean it.)

That’s what life is now. Add in the fact that there’s that niggling feeling that’s reminiscent of history lessons of WWII and more and more throwbacks to that time…

It’s terrifying to be gay in this country right now.