Saturday, July 26, 2014

A Personal Reflection

I see my friends hurting. I see my friends working. Hard. I see members of my community researching, writing, gathering, marching, and educating. I see members of my community fighting for their right to sexual and physical safety, equal access to public resources, to basic healthcare, and to effective legal protection. I see them fighting for these things oftentimes either without the support of the rest of the community in which they are supposed to feel safe (that community being the LGB) or while facing direct opposition from segments of this community.

I see many individuals and groups of individuals allowing their allegiance to a political party, religious doctrine, or theory of gender, feminism, or queerness undermine their allegiance to their fellow human. I see particularly persistent conceptions of gender essentialism, binary identities, and trans-exclusionary radical feminism promoted by hate groups for the purpose of polluting hearts with misguided hate. Turn open dialogue into closed minds. Turn constructive conversations into violent verbal abuse. And all despite a wealth of available personal narratives and scientific evidence.

I read. And I listen. Read, and listen. I do believe that opening oneself up, mind and heart, and truly listening is incredibly important when seeking to understand, empathize with, and support others - especially if one is unable speak on a subject from personal experience. As is contemplating one's own privilege. Researching the least biased possible sources. Adapting viewpoints to available evidence and lived experience. Admitting when one is wrong. Apologizing for offensive behavior. Seeking common ground. Standing that ground. And, ultimately, allowing one's intuitive heart, with its endless capacity for compassion, to construct the larger meaning.

As different as all of the created or borrowed beliefs, deities, dialects, doctrines, dogmas, various religious texts, and cultural practices are in this world, I think we can all agree to see that what is good in us is also good in others. That the larger good we are striving for involves bringing people together. I think we can agree to treat others with love and respect.

I will always listen. To the stories and opinions of others and to the truth in my heart. And I hope you will too. Listening is a very good start. But we must also act.

(I enjoyed reading this article about listening in particular:
The Importance of Listening as a Privileged Person Fighting for Justice
by Jamie Utt)

“You and I are the force for transformation in the world. We are the consciousness that will define the nature of the reality we are moving into.”

“As one individual changes, the system changes.”

“A moment comes when "other" is no longer other.”

- Ram Dass

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