Tuesday, June 14, 2016

It May Have Escaped Their Notice

Does it matter?

Yesterday, Joe and I gassed up just south of the border of North Carolina, then, we drove straight through. We didn't stop. We didn't buy a single thing. They got none of our gay money. When we planned the trip, we calculated driving time and, if we stuck to our routine, we'd have stayed in a Fairfield Inn about an hour south of the North Carolina and Virginia border. We added an hour and a half and drove to a hotel safely across the Virginia border. North Carolina isn't particularly welcoming to boys who kiss boys so this boy and the boy he kisses just weren't going to support them or their economy one jot.

Does it matter?

We did not go see Me Before You at the movie theatre. More than that I wrote about the fact that we weren't going. Joe and I both spoke to people about the film, if someone brought it up, we made our position clear, if they didn't bring it up, we did. We tried to actively, purposely, intentionally, publically, not got to the movie. I have people say to me that they'd rather be dead than disabled often enough for it to worry me about what they think of me and my life. Oh, and of course, even more often I hear it's cousin, 'there but for the grace of God' ... making it clear that we, the disabled, don't live under god's grace and therefore don't fit into the normal moral equation when it comes to life.

Does it matter?

I was horrified by some of the rhetoric during the Canadian election brought up by a particular political party about people of the Muslim faith. Horrified. I couldn't understand how, in a Canadian election, a Canadian election, that divisive and racist ideology be given a foothold. That's not how I see Canada and it's certainly not how I want us to be as a country. I wrote a letter, I expressed my outrage, and I voted for a different party.

Does it matter?

Today I wrote a comment on a column that appeared which explained why we shouldn't change the lyrics of the Canadian anthem. I didn't even read the column, I didn't need to. I knew what it would say, and, besides, no argument would change my mind. I knew when I was 6 that the anthem got it wrong, long before I would hear the word 'feminism' I was able to see that it said sons and not daughters, it mentioned boys and not girls. So I left a comment supporting the change in the lyrics. Further, it's been over a year now since I pledged to no longer use the 'b' word in reference to women, I used it more than I realized and I was challenged about it one day by a woman who knew that I had two little girls in my life. She asked me how I would feel when they were first called a 'b'. I said that I'd be angry. She asked me why I persisted, by using the word in my lecture, in promoting the use of a vile word that would hurt the girls I loved. She was right, I haven't used the word since.

Does it matter?

Do these small things matter. Will North Carolina ever know that two gay guys drove an extra hour and a half just to stay in Emporia, Virginia, thus not spending our vacation dollars in their state? Probably not. Will the makers of Me Before You ever know that we actively didn't go to their movie, or the politicians ever know how we reacted to their vilifying other Canadians, or those who support 'our sons command' ever know that I made a comment about it on a column somewhere, or will people even notice that I never, ever, use the 'b' word? Probably not.

But will it make a difference?

I'm not sure, but I don't need to be sure, it makes a difference to me. It makes me feel engaged. It makes me feel that I'm not just passively giving up any semblance of resistance. It makes me feel that I utilize the choices I have in such a way to express who I am. It reduces my sense of helplessness and feeds my sense of personal power. I need that. So it makes a difference to me.

And that will have to do.


Frank_V said...

Language is EVERYTHING, and you use it beautifully! The world needs more loving thinkers like you. Keep writing, and pushing us all to be better people.

Jayne Wales said...

Yes it does matter. It matters to you and when I do similar protests and change and write it matters to me. I hope it matters to the injustice and cruel, vile and soul destroying tragedies that happen to fellow citizens from all walks of life that we love,
I met my cousin, my older cousin who I love for all the laughter and fun he has ever given to me. I met him last week and we talked for hours over water. It started at 12.30 for lunch anf finished at 8.20. Water being as a result of driving for me and he doesn't drink alcohol. I listened to his cruel life and this time it was different. Just him and me. I listened to how he loved and had joy in his life. I learned when he was brave and when he was so fearful
He's of a generation and a catholic faith that made it very hard to be gay and proud.
He's a sunshine on a rainy day but he has a heart and soul so damaged by his own parenting and society. Thank God we've always had that bond through my mum and me. She adored him.
He told me of his love for Steve and his fear of him dying before him.
If my beloved cousin had died yesterday I would find it very hard to forgive. I have a rage in me about injustices. I hang about very early in car parks seeing things in mental assessment units others don't get to see. I act. I try. I protest. I cry and scream
Sorry lots of words today
Actions are FAR louder xxxx

Anonymous said...

I think those are exactly the kinds of gestures that make the difference in the end.

It's not fast and it's not a matter of individual effort. It's the culmination of everything we do that moves the discourse that tiny amount, until there are so many of us making small changes that the inertia builds up and things shift.

It's a statement. It's also a way of - seeking consensus? I don't like 'raising awareness', it's too passive. When we do things like this we're inviting others to decide if they think we're right and want to join us.

I'm thinking - I don't want to drag the Orlando tragedy into things left right and centre, because that's dishonest, but obviously it's on our minds - right now I'm thinking that all too often when someone decides that they personally have to make a huge difference immediately, that it often ends in violence, necause when you think that way atrocities start looking reasonable.

Does that make any sense?


ABEhrhardt said...

You challenged me yesterday. 'Thoughts and prayers' are okay when someone's parent dies, but NOT okay when a senseless shooting occurs in a gay bar.

I did a lot of thinking yesterday. I wrote a lot of things on FaceBook - deliberately risking being unfriended (boo hoo) by anyone homophobic. I was happy with the response, but this is one of the few times I've put myself out there into a controversial position (one other being advocacy for CFS).

Normally I'm very live-and-let-live.

What happens all the time is not right, and what happened yesterday even worse. Tolerance has no place when people are getting killed and hurt for something they have about as much control over as the color of their skin.

You're right. The stand has to be taken against bigotry wherever and whenever it happens - or somebody else assumes it's okay. And it's not.

Unknown said...

Oh yes, it does matter! You live according to your values, instead of just speaking your values and living in a way that contradicts them. You encourage/inspire/challenge those around you to do the same.
That is leading by example...as well as the more obvious leadership you have in your professional role.

Liz said...

It absolutely makes a difference.

As you're driving through VA, give me a shout if you drive through Loudoun County!!

Kelly said...

It makes a difference because you know. And if many people make that same choice, then it makes a bigger difference. But even if no one else but you avoids spending their money in North Carolina, you still used your money responsibly. Good for you.

Nightengale said...

I think it matters.

I "boycott" watching the Olympics. It's ridiculous because I don't follow or watch sports at any time, so I would basically just ignore the Olympics anyway. But I specifically boycott the Olympic coverage on TV because the Olympics gets hours of prime time coverage a day and the Paralympics gets a 60 minute retrospective at 3 PM on a Sunday 2 weeks after the games are over.

The Olympics people will never know. I may mention it to a handful of folks every 2 years when the Olympics are on and the Paralympics are about to start. But it matters. I watch the 60 minute Paralympic retrospective, also, and I talk about the sports in it that no one has ever heard of, even though I don't follow or watch sports otherwise. Because it matters.

Unknown said...

My partner and I drove through Indiana twice in the past month, and as he said, "They got nothing from us but our car exhaust." :-)