We are not asking you to be perfect; we are asking you to try
By: Summer Roy Janis
LGBTQIA+ … Isn’t it just a trend that the latest generation is just having fun with? No. For as long as the history books go back, LGBTQIA+ persons have existed. History, as you may know, is complicated and not always entirely forthcoming. This is due to perspective, beliefs, and a multitude of other reasons. However, what is important for you know is that LGBTQIA+ persons have always existed and there is a thriving community around the world today who are fighting for respect and the peace to live their lives free from criticism and oppression from their fellow humans.
There are many hurtful slurs and phrases used to harass LGBTQIA+ persons. Often times these terms are used as the punchline in a “joke” and/or as a means to belittle. Of course, our society will have differences in opinions, that is to be expected when living amongst such a dense population. When living in community with so many people, there are bound to be a difference in opinions; that’s just the human way. However, speaking to people in such ways (slurs) and persecuting them because of their self-identity is NEVER acceptable.
A slur is a word that is often used to be an insult towards a group of people and one, that now, those groups of people are trying to reclaim (such as the d-slur: often used to degrade lesbians). The use of slurs is a problem because it encourages the harassment and ill-treatment of many LGBTQIA+ persons.
What can you do to help? By educating yourself and others by reading threads and articles written by LGBTQIA+ person. Speaking to or becoming involved within the activism side of this community.
How can you do when you hear people using derogatory slurs towards the LGBTQIA+ community? If you hear someone using a slur, you explain to them it’s not just a word. Rather, it’s a word that negatively impacts an important part of our community (LGBTQIA+ persons). If they are still confused, you help them with trusted links from respected LGBTQIA+ sources.
The point is: it’s always been about educating and growing as individuals. You can help with that by helping yourself and others around you. It is okay to make mistakes when you are willing to accept and learn to be better. It’s hard and most definitely a challenge to unlearn words, but it’s not impossible. All it will take is patience and a willingness to learn. I challenge you all to be mindful of the language that you use, especially when it comes to slurs. Let’s make this world a better, more comfortable place for us all to live.
Are you up for the challenge? I sure hope so.