As we take time to focus on LGBTQIA history, I think it’s only fitting that we take a look not only at where we were but also where we are currently. My thoughts at the moment focus on a video I saw where RuPaul’s Drag Race contestant Alaska, addresses drug use, steroid use, depression, and suicide; all opinions provided broken-heartedly and judgment-free. She then goes on to question the reasons for these heightened stats within our community. It’s during the address that she makes the pointed declaration, “Where is the compassion?”
Alaska makes it clear quickly that the members of our community may not be the root of our problems, but that the issue extends to a lot of us not doing much to counteract the issues. Rather than supporting one another to create a strong community, a lot of us are (even unintentionally) tearing it, and one another, apart. It’s an issue that has become so widespread that it’s daunting. So this month, I want to focus on how we can make this part of our history and not so much part of our current state.
Sadly, this is something of which we are all guilty. How many times have we been less than kind to others within our community? While not a requirement to make friends with everyone you meet, there is a level of human decency that can occasionally be absent in interactions with each other. There are so many rude and destructive things online, even in the dating apps we use, which are extremely problematic in helping to foster the self-worth of our community.
While there are multiple items to discuss, suffice it to say, we as human beings have a responsibility to reach out when someone is struggling. Compassion should inspire kindness. When is the last time you genuinely had a conversation which was superseded by “LOL” and emoji? Let’s start the change by talking to others, and then listening. Regardless of what others are struggling with, there is power in having someone listen and care. What a difference it would make in our community, in our friendships, and in our relationships if we started the change by lifting those who are down. The change would be remarkable.
I have work to do. I know that I can be better at how I treat others within our community and seek opportunities to be better. When I hear the question, “Where is the compassion?”, I have flashbacks to all of the struggles in my past and think how grateful I am to have survived. So many of us have been through enough discrimination by others to last a lifetime, why does it have to continue amongst ourselves? Our past is rich with stories of triumph and making changes. We are already positioned to build a great future, what will be your contribution and will you have compassion?