By reading the title of the article, your immediate thought is probably, “duh, because liberals support gay rights,” but that is not my focus. LGBT+ individuals are not just particularly liberal on gay rights; usually an LGBT+ individual is liberal on almost all issues. This is something I have always pondered as a conservative gay individual; yet with social issues becoming national news, I now have a stronger understanding of why.
If someone were to ask me about my political views I would say I’m fiscally conservative, socially moderate in terms of government policies, however, if someone asked me about my view of the social climate of which we live in I would say I am a liberal. Here is why. As a gay individual who is witnessing feminism and Black Lives Matter become the issues of today, I cannot help but to relate. No, I do not know what it is like to be a woman, nor do I know what it is like to be African American. However, I do know what it is like to be a minority, and I believe that being a minority has unifying characteristics that cross minority groups.
For example, someone who is white probably doesn’t think about race that frequent, often unaware of the privileges being white has given them. An African American, on the other hand, probably thinks of race more frequently. Someone who is straight probably doesn’t think about how their sexuality impacts them that often. As a gay person, I think about my sexuality all the time. I think about my sexuality when I meet new people and welcome them into my life, not knowing how they are going to think of me. I think of it as I enter new places I haven’t been to (because I wear my sexuality on my sleeve) and so forth. I think of my sexuality every time I meet a religious leader within the community. I look at the world through a lens that others mostly do not. I know what it is like to not be fairly represented in the media. I know how it feels to have a fixed idea of what I am by society. I know what it is like to be at the bottom of the social hierarchy of privilege.
Because of a thin layer of mutual understanding, I cannot have a liberal view of gay rights and not have a liberal view of women or racial minorities. Right now the Black Lives Matter movement is growing with rhetoric against the current systemic oppression within the justice system. As a gay person, I cannot speak against them. Fighting for my rights started with Stonewall, a riot against police brutality. I cannot speak against such rhetoric and not feel like a hypocrite, knowing that the same rhetoric has given me my rights.
This compliments how I cannot ignore society’s narrow idea of what a woman is while knowing that society has given me a narrow view of who I am, as if gay people are to be feminine, non-athletic, drama queens etc.. Women are fragile, emotional, and dumb. Women is a synonym of lesser. “Run like a girl.” “Fight like a girl.” Then, there is “That’s so gay.” Society uses the words ‘girl’ and ‘gay’ as a way of insulting someone, or something.