Why It Is Important Now To Be More Brave Than Ever
It seems that every time we log online there is a threat, either internally or externally to our place as gay men in this country. The onslaught of depressing news stories and headlines seek the snuff out the light we have inside of us, and diminish the momentum that we've build as a community over the years seeking equal rights and treatment for all. It would be the easier choice to feel defeated and to disconnect and feel numb from the situation, but it is now more than ever that we need to rise up and be brave, even if we don't think we are. With the upcoming midterms on November 6th, it is vital to use this time to summon all the courage we can and show up at the ballot boxes.
Bravery is defined as: the quality or state of having or showing mental or moral strength to face danger, fear, or difficulty. And while this is an all-encompassing definition, the nuances of the conversation are more challenging to pinpoint. Recently, social media launched a campaign to apprehend a Park Slope man who was captured on video assaulting two gay men, one of which suffered extensive injuries. However, this incident is not isolated. An astounding number of 22 trans people have been murdered thus far in 2018-- although the latest report from HRC was published back in September, so those numbers may have climbed since then. We see a world actively divided, and those who are divided are allowing that space to be filled with hate, violence, and vitriol.
When we talk about bravery let me be clear: we're talking about living defiantly against hate.
And with all the horrors the world has been presenting, it would be foolish to say don't be afraid. The reality is, on some level, we all need to be terrified. We exist in a time where we have the rights that generations of LGBTQ+ activists and allies have secured for us, but the fight is far from over and presents itself in a different way: how can we have the world validate us as humans when it means putting a target on our backs.
So why should we be brave now when it seems our political and social landscape digs itself deeper and deeper into darkness each day? It is simple: Because there is no other choice. To stop living loudly would be a sign that those who oppose the LGBTQ+ community have won. Every opportunity you have to live in bold colors, you need to take because the world is watching how we maneuver this time of pain and hurt. Younger generations will look back at us one day and thank us for continuing to push forward and raise our voices in the face of adversity. It is one thing to feel defeated, it is another to actually give into that defeat by altering the way you live your life as a queer person.
Holding your boyfriend's hand as he walks down the street is brave, kissing your girlfriend on the lips in a public space is also brave. But bravery can come from standing up to people when you hear them diminish someone else's existence, it can come from simply getting up eat day and going to the grocery store. Bravery now comes from refusing to bury your head in the sand and stop living your life.
Now is the most important time to be brave, to normalize ourselves even if the world is trying to make us "other." Sure, we are unique, and it is time to make sure that we remind everyone of just how little we're willing to back down.