Inclusion and Community Aren’t Just Words

Well, that’s over with…or so I thought. As if it wasn’t enough for everyone to fight nearly the entire month of June – in the name of community and togetherness, mind you; it seems that waking to the re-hashing of recent events is the way many are choosing to start off July.

Fine, I’m game. Here goes. I have just a few thoughts I am going to share about our 2019 Pride season. Take from them as is your will to do.

The incessant requests and demands individuals are making of each other and of specific organizations that are constantly flowing through the fb feed are ridiculous. I get it that you think that there will be some great revelation in digging through the dirt in all of this. What’s done is done. You don’t like what happened? Good. Then step away from your computer and show up to the open meetings and speak your mind. Yes, you can prevent all of this nightmare from a repeat visit by simply not leaving all of the work and decision-making to the others. If you don’t like it – become a part of the solution. You can’t change any of the actions that recently occurred, so stop forcing everyone else to relive them. It’s not productive and is just plain hurtful and time to move on.

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How has the screaming and yelling worked out for you? I’m talking about both sides of this mess. How productive do you really feel, when all is said and done? Anger can certainly influence how we approach things; and right now there is a hell of a lot to be angry about, that’s for sure. I’m no expert, by any means; but I imagine how the anger is channeled can affect so much of the future for the LGBTQIA community. Easy for me to say, I know. While I never believe that it’s a good idea to let someone get comfortable disrespecting you; maybe it’s time instead to proffer a solution. Will it be easy? Probably not. But, as much as the word “community” has been tossed around, maybe it is time to act like one.

Figure out what you want and who you need on your side to make it happen. It may not be easy and you may find that you have to cross into that proverbial enemy territory, but think “big picture.” Here’s the thing – sometimes when what you want involves other people, you have to meet them where they are, not where you want them to be.

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Now I’d like to talk about two words that I’m beginning to wish to never hear again; but we being who we are, that’s not likely…so…”community” and “inclusive.” If you’ve been paying any attention at all, I’m sure you’ve heard them as much as I have over the past couple of weeks.

The only issue I have here is with those of you who claim to have blanket support for the trans community. Oh, I know you truly believe that you do. Okay, well, let’s break down that support for what is, shall we?

  • You have a friend who is trans or non-binary, so that means you support. No. There are no participation trophies for this.
  • You donated $5.00 on a friend’s birthday month fb donation request. Okay, thank you. That’s a start. Now what? You’re not entirely off the hook. There is more that you can do.
  • Did you attend an MTUG or QTPOC: STL event or function recently? No, but you thought about it and “liked” the post. Not good enough.
  • Have you ever reached out to MTUG to see what you could do to support the trans community? Oh, I see, you didn’t know how to find them. Yeah. They are SO elusive. Now you are losing points, man.
  • You seem like the outdoorsy type, so you volunteered at the Transgender Memorial Garden by raking and planting to make the space nicer for all to enjoy, right? What? You weren’t there? Huh. I guess that was someone else who “supports the trans community” that I saw. My bad.
  • You must be the one who goes the extra mile and picks up the phone or shoots a text to someone in the trans community once in awhile just to ask how they are doing and what you can do for them today, then actually listens. That sounds like you, doesn’t it? No? Funny thing about this one, is that it’s the easiest one of all and means the most to the person on the other end. You could have been the one to make a difference. You could have included them in your community.

Now I’ve not known a lot of the people in the St. Louis trans community for very long, but from what I’ve seen, they are cut from a different rainbow flag than so many of you. And, what I’ve come to realize is the saddest thing of all is that had things looked a little differently – had persons representing any other letter in our LGBTQIA family been the ones directly hurt by the words and actions of their own people – we would likely have witnessed something amazing.

For you see, the trans community doesn’t leave their family behind. They would have led the charge to right the wrongs and walked side-by-side with you every fucking step. They would have lifted every one of you up together as one rather than climbing on each other’s backs just to make a point. They would have walked up to you and asked, “what can I do?”

They had your backs 50 years ago when they fought for the rights of all queer people. They did it then because it was the right thing to do…for everyone. After the way they were treated this Pride season I’m not sure where their heads are; but, the people I know would have done it again today. They would have done it because that is simply how you fucking include people in your community.

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