Ten Things Tuesday

The little boy who decided it was better to die than to endure another day of anti-gay bullying is still on my mind today, so I thought that I would post a list of ten things that you can do to make the world – or, at least, your little corner of it – a little safer.

1.  Being an advocate does NOT mean that you have to paint signs and march in parades.  Put a tiny little pride flag button on your lapel or purse, or put a “straight but not narrow” sticker on your car.  You never know who will see it and know that you, at least, are not a threat.

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You can get this sticker – and lots of other equality-related stuff – here.

2.  Pay attention.  Educate yourself about what’s going on in the community.  Sign up for email news alerts – most of the violence that happens in the GLBTQ community never makes it to the mainstream media (would you have heard about Carl if not for me?  *I* heard about it because I’m connected to several news-feed sites that keep an eye out for this kind of thing.  Go here, here, or here for news updates, and look around those sites for other links).  Keep track of the legislation being considered in your state.  Let your representatives know that you value equality and fairness.  Vote.

3.  Don’t make any assumptions about people, and avoid stereotypes.  A flamboyant personality doesn’t mean someone’s gay, and pretty shoes and perfect make-up doesn’t mean someone isn’t.  Try to use neutral terms – “partner” instead of “husband” or “wife,” for example, until you know for sure which terms apply.  Treat all people with dignity and respect.

4.  Are there children in your life?  Teach them both by example and through purposeful discussion how important acceptance and compassion really are.  Answer their questions honestly, and if you don’t know the answer, find out.  Be ever mindful of the things you say and do; small people are always looking to us for examples on how to live.

5.  Attend gay-friendly events.  Several large cities have gay men’s choirs that perform around the holidays (and many of them are exceptionally good).  Most large cities also have Pride Days.  Mosey on down and be part of that energy; just being there is important (and wear your “straight but not narrow” pin!).

6.  Volunteer.  Many schools have Gay-Straight Alliances which are looking for adult mentors.  Do you have time to be a Big Brother or Big Sister?  Talk to the coordinator about being placed with a questioning teen.  Do you have a skill that you can offer or a business that can sponsor a gay-friendly event?

7.  Don’t stand for hatred and intolerance in your sphere.  Scratch out hateful speech you might find written on a bathroom stall (or, at the very least, complain about it to the management).  Let people know that you think that jokes that demean people are not funny.  Don’t use derogatory terms to refer to anyone, individually or as a group, and let people know that you don’t appreciate their use of those terms around you or your children.

8.  Shop in tolerant stores and do business with companies that recognize the equality of ALL their employees.

9.  Look at the policies and practices of organizations to which you belong.  Is your church open and accepting?  Does your health club accommodate transgendered people?  Does your workplace discriminate against GLBTQ people?  Really?  Be a voice for equity wherever you find yourself.

10.  Cultivate around yourself an aura of peace and acceptance and compassion.  Be open.  Listen.  Laugh.  Radiate love.  Be a beacon of kindness in the world, and let people know, in whatever way you can, that everyone is safe with you.

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18 Comments

Filed under compassion and connection, concerns, doing my duty, family matters, GLBTQ/Ally issues, ideas and opinions, messages from the Universe, Parenting, politics, social issues, teaching

18 responses to “Ten Things Tuesday

  1. In terms of more specific things to do we all might want to stop spending at Amazon until they sort out this bullshit with their search functions delisting “objectionable” items.

  2. Oh, NO KIDDING, huh! What’s up with THAT!? “Glitch” my ass!

  3. Amazon is on crack…

    Besides that, because I’m sort of a jerk, I have to contribute a #11: Don’t think that helping out the gay folks exists in some sort of vacuum, where you don’t have to deal with other larger issues. We live in a world where bullying in general is acceptable, insult is seen as the highest level of wit, and even teh gheys have been known to turn around and bash other people. It is nice to think we can protect individual groups, and of course it is a worthy goal… but I think that the protection of any individual group needs to be linked to the larger issue that it is not acceptable to be hateful towards or suppress the rights of ANYONE.

  4. Amen, Joe! NEVER did I mean to imply that kindness should only be extended to GLBTQ folks. That’s not how I live my life, that’s not what I teach my children, and that’s not the message I was aiming for here. Thanks for giving me an opportunity to clarify that.

  5. de

    I think this is a great post, and I always like very clear “how-to’s” when it comes to ways to make a difference in a world that sometimes feels overwhelming and beyond help.

  6. My developmental psych professor had a “Straight but not Narrow” button and I loved that she wore it.

    Thanks for this list. I think the world is slowly changing, but there is always more work to be done and lots of seemingly small things really add up. I’ve seen many former classmates and friends on Facebook who have joined groups for equality and the optimist in me hopes that it’s just a tiny part of what they do to spread acceptance.

  7. Right on!

    Amazon can stick their glitch where the sun doen’t ever shine.

  8. twoblueday

    Since I never buy anything from Amazon (well, except when people send me gift cards), I can’t exactly boycott their dumb asses.

  9. Thank you for this. =)

  10. Organic Mama

    Beautiful list, especially 4. Being role models to our kids and to everyone – lead by example – is the best way to live the message of tolerance.

    As for Amazon – did you know they NEVER give to charity? Shameful behavior all ’round.

  11. I’m linking to this in my own Ten Things. It’s a great post.

  12. Laurie B

    Great post, I hope you don’t take it wrongly if I say I love you. Thanks for this, no one is safe unless everybody is safe. You get that and are one of my personal heroes for just putting it out there. Thanks.

    It isn’t just us gays, it’s everybody. We’re all in this together.
    Be divided and be conquered or stand together and win. I’m all for hope and humanity.

  13. I was thinking exactly what Joe was thinking while I was reading your wonderful list. Every day, EVERY day, we have MANY chances to be nicer and more accepting of people around us. Sometimes that as simple as NOT laughing at a joke about overweight people or NOT staring at someone who looks or acts differently than we’d expect.

    Large gestures are great, but it’s often those little things that truly make a difference in someone else’s day.

    We’re all in this together people – let’s pull together rather than push others away.

  14. Found you through Kwizgiver, and I’m very impressed by your thoughts. Here’s hoping the culture of cruelty is on its way out.

  15. Nice one, Mrs. Chili. I’ll be implementing your good suggestions.

    Oh, and ALL of your suggestions are good ones, in case I didn’t make that clear.

  16. They story about the little boy broke my heart. I just don’t see where all this cruelty will end. How can children be taught tolerance when things like Prop 8 and the right wing LGBTQ haters seem to have governmental support to act the way they do?

  17. I spent some time on the cafepress site to find a bumper sticker and got somewhat depressed. While there are some very good items to show support for acceptance and tolerance, there are a seemingly equal number of extremely conservative things.

    The blame game is exhausting. But I think it’s fair to point a finger at the previous president for lying about WMD’s and causing the death of a lot of people in a war that shouldn’t have happened. I don’t think it’s fair to say that this president is responsible for our economic woes. They began well before he was elected.

    And the culture of bullying just feels a lot more Republican/conservative-based to me. There are bumper stickers like “Kick a hippie.”

    I feel sad about Carl and all the other children in this country who see attitudes of this kind of meanness ranging to downright hatred.

  18. mccgood

    I am proud to say the place where I work is listed as a place that recognizes the equality of all it’s employees. My mortgage company does as well. Hubby’s company not as much as I/we would like. It was an eye opening link thank you.

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