Ignorance in all places

I return from my blogging hiatus in order to make a quick rant about some things that have hit very close to home lately. Last month, supporters of marriage equality took a day to change their profile pictures to the image of a red equal sign, quietly but boldly making a statement in regards to equality for the LGBT community. In light of all of this positivity and encouragement, negativity still managed to rear it’s ugly head.

Scrolling down my newsfeed on Facebook, something I usually don’t do because of the idiocy of some of my peers, I found a status with numerous comments, all because a particular individual had decided to make a negative statement regarding same sex marriage. She had changed her profile picture to one stating her belief that marriage is a reserved right for heterosexual couples, and then decided to make a status defending herself. She claimed her choice to change her picture had been “mature,” and well-founded, however, I could not disagree more.

She, and others like her, were going out of their way to be negative simply for attention. There was nothing mature about her change in profile picture, she simply wanted to catch flack for it and take a moment to argue her point. Upon skimming her status and the ensuing battle in the comments below, I deleted her from my friends list and carried on with my day. People who thirst for attention and behave in that manner have no place in my life.

A little less than a month later, my good friend Amy Sweeney and I spearheaded a campaign for our GSA and student body to participate in the Day of Silence, a day where students don’t speak for a school day to call attention to anti-LGBT bullying in schools. I was pleasantly surprised at how great our turnout was — we completely ran out of nametags and had to start handing out conversation cards.

In my silent state at school, I took to Twitter to spread the word about our purpose and tips for other students participating. Shockingly, I also found some signs of our first opposition throughout the day. Students with which I have excellent relationships with and interact with on a daily basis were questioning the day’s relevance, claiming we weren’t doing any good with our efforts. However, I had to, yet again, disagree. The very fact they were thinking, tweeting, and talking about it meant that we had made an effect. We had lead others to ponder what goes on in schools, and if we weren’t being effective with our Day of Silence, what other ways we could be effective.

Later on in the day, I came to the realization that not only was our cause being questioned and doubted, but some of the younger participants were facing blunt rudeness and bigotry. I was appalled, and abruptly voiced my opinion in the matter, saying that we are not born bigots, but are taught by society to be prejudiced and hate others. In response, a random student tweeted at me saying, “You weren’t born gay, you were taught.”

Now, I won’t even get started on that topic, other to say that all I did was laugh. Some ignorance just isn’t worth battling. I think my entire point here is just to say that ignorance and bigotry are inevitable and inescapable. But keep this in mind: no one likes that guy. The one who constantly has to be a thorn in everyone’s side and promotes needless negativity. So don’t be that guy!

And most of all, don’t forget: we aren’t born bigots. We’re taught. And we can always learn to love instead.

 

Agree? Disagree? Have any comments? Email me at [email protected] or tweet me @jameshunterpugh and I’ll be sure to get back to you!