Friday, May 24, 2019
Disability RightsLGBT RightsPolitics

When the Government Affects our Rights

I am trying really hard to express my thoughts without offending anyone. I have had the thought to write this post so many times before here on this website. However, I have struggled with the right way to express what I’m thinking in a way that is not disparaging to certain people’s beliefs. I also have some family and friends who just don’t understand why I feel the way I do, so I’m going to try to explain it here.

I remember when I was a kid, in the 1980s. Growing up in the 80s was a lot different than what kids go through today. Politically speaking, most kids didn’t talk about politics. I also know that a lot of people were more interested in being friends with someone who had different political ideologies than their own. My old grandparents were a self-professed Democrat and Republican. People from different political parties could get along. There was also some kind of bipartisan respect.

Today, I struggle to find any kind of redeemable qualities in lawmakers they go against the very protection of my own rights. As a trans-male in a wheelchair, I know what it is like to fear that my rights will disappear. I sometimes live with the fear that the wrong vote could mean that I suffer just because of who I am.

I have had to bite my tongue when friends have said that certain conservative lawmakers are good people. I’m sure they’re great individuals, but they’re great individuals who want to pass legislation that restricts my right to independence. They are good people who do not see me as a trans individual as deserving of equal protection under the law. Without having any understanding of what trans individuals go through they believe that my life is a choice that I have made. They have no comprehension that it is not a choice but they want to treat me as though it is and punish me nearly for existing.

While the Democrats are no prizes themselves, it is the conservatives who I live in fear from every time we have an election. I am afraid that they will pass legislation that will harm me. I have been told that I’m ridiculous for feeling the way I do, but if you look at the recent news you see stories of conservative lawmakers or perspective lawmakers who believe that people like me should be stoned, we should be put away in mental facilities, or we should be given reparative therapy to fix us.

LGBT individuals are called horrendous names. We are treated as less than. These conservative lawmakers are trying to pass legislation that doesn’t even see us as human beings. I can’t forget what these lawmakers are doing when it comes to passing legislation that affects me as a human being. As nice as I’m sure they are in their downtime what they are doing in their job is so potentially harmful to people like me that we live in a constant fear of who is going to get elected. Often we’re given no choice but to pick the lesser of two evils. Who is going to harm us the most? It’s really not a choice no matter who we vote for and it is no fun having to live in such fear.

Many of us are fighting to try to keep certain individuals out of Congress because we do have these fears, but we can’t do it alone. Next time, before considering to vote for the good-looking congressman or the funny senator, consider what kind of legislation they’re actually passing. Even if their legislation doesn’t impact you, how is this impacting other human beings who live in your country? You don’t have to like LGBT people, but you should respect their right to be treated like human beings.

I’m not trying to single anyone out. I am just trying to explain to you why it is so hard for me to not have strong feelings about legislators who have such little disregard for LGBT people. Let’s not even get me started on the legislation that they planned in the past against people with disabilities. All I can say is that if some of their legislation got passed many of us would be stuck living in nursing homes… Even more of us that are already stuck there.

So, next time you post about how awesome that Senator or congressmen is because their young or charming or good-looking, please consider why we can’t share the same sentiment. While we want to respect them as human beings the only complaint we have against them is that they don’t even see us in the same way.

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1 Comment

  1. While as a short term strategy this makes sense. It makes more sense to build bridges. Yes. Building a bridge while people are attacking your very being is tough and may not be a good idea, but once people know “others” personally they find it much harder to hate them.

    There are lots of little examples of this, such as John Corvino’s book, What’s Wrong with Homosexuality? (Despite its title, its a pro BGLT book, the answer to the title question is: “Nothing. Let me tell you why.”) In this book Corvino recounts a moment when he is on a speaking tour with Glenn Stanton of Focus on the Family, where Corvino tells Stanton that he is exchanging vows with his partner. Stanton responds with a genuine “Congratulations!” Stanton said this, because he is friends with Corvino.

    What happens if instead of biting your tongue, you agree that elected official, J. Doe, is a good person but you disagree with their stance on (insert topic here)?

    Part of my thinking on this comes from reading the book Fatheist, where an atheist finds common ground with religious people. In it Chris struggles with, among other things, acknowledging the wholeness of religious people, and part of that is their religious identity.

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Dominick is a director/filmmaker, activist, writer, advocate, FTM transman from the Midwest who lives in New York. Follow his film career and join his weekly Twitter chat on film and disability by following #FilmDis. He received his BFA in Film Production in 2014.