If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together. – Lilla Watson
Oppression comes in many forms – and so does our liberation.
If you’re on a path of self-discovery, personal development, and simply becoming a human being that is more authentic and more real, you might have realised that these journeys are very different for all of us.
And some journeys involve a lot of oppression: identifying it, facing it, living it, and fighting it.
If compassion and contributing to positive change in the world are elements of your journey, then I invite you to continue reading this.
(It’s a short piece, don’t worry:)
I think sometimes about how differently we see the concept of legacy: what we’d like to leave behind, what to be known for, at least in our immediate circles.
For some, I know these can be big projects, innovation, perhaps art pieces, a family is one on the list of many — and there’s nothing wrong with them!
But on Pride Month or any other month, I invite you to choose a part of your legacy to be to create a society (a community!) that is a bit more open, a bit more inclusive, and a bit more compassionate.
A society in which people don’t think about themselves as lesser, as “bad”, “wrong”, or needing to prove the value of their existence.
A society in which people would rather take their own lives than continue living in that shame, judgement, and oppression.
Life can be hard as it is and the discomfort of living with integrity and being ourselves is already a lot. Let’s not make it more difficult for others.
In fact, let’s do even more: let’s put conscious effort to make it happen.
In the talk I recently gave to school students on human rights, I have invited them to notice – and reject – one thing they might hear often in the media:
That for some groups of people to be given equal rights, they are asked what they have done, what they have given to a certain country, to deserve it.
“What EXTRA have you done to deserve equality and to be treated like your fellow citizens?”
In other words, what extra have you done to deserve what is inherently yours?
It’s weird, isn’t it?
(I, personally, haven’t done that much for my country and still get some basic rights — also weird!)
So what does Pride Month actually ask from us?
It’s many things. It’s visibility, safety and security, political representation, equality, inclusion, dignity, and respect. It’s rejecting questions like the one I’ve mentioned.
But I think it also asks us to think about our legacy — which starts right now, with decisions on what kind of societies we are choosing to build.
For me, that is a combination of how I treat the ones around me and broader political action.
I don’t know what it is for you. But I hope that legacy involves speaking out for our LGBTQ community, on Pride Month or any other month. That is nothing “in addition” to our compassion, kindness, and courage. That’s what they look like in action.
And now, I’m very excited to share some resources with you!
These are a couple of speeches that never left my mind since I saw them years ago, an interview I saw and loved recently, and two podcast episodes on LGBTQ topics from my own political project.
- An interview with ALOK, a gender non-binary performer, scholar, and an overall amazing and compassionate individual!
- A podcast episode on Why We Need Pride, from The Exploding Head, my political project. I talk about the LGBTQ situation around the world and violence against the trans community.
- A podcast episode on political representation, also from The Exploding Head.
- A beautiful coming out speech by then Ellen Page (now Elliot Page); I know Elliot’s journey has included so much more since then but the speech is still so impactful and I simply have to share it.
I’ll leave you with a speech by Panty Bliss, an Irish performer and political activist.
Don’t miss a post!