For years those of us who have been troubled by the errors visited upon the GLBT community have struggled with the responsibility to share our views with others in a way that creates our same understanding in them. In order to do so we must first identify what those problems are, cite irrefutable examples of those errors, then share an actionable solution that best serves us all. I've taken a single step down that road by putting in my own inarticulate way what I think the core of the problem is, please allow me to share those thoughts with you.
Many of us in society today through passiveness, indifference and innocent ignorance have allowed ourselves to be duped by unscrupulous leaders and groups who misuse our trust for their own gain to harm our neighbors, often by our own hand. Sadly, sometimes those leaders and groups are not even genuinely devoted to what they preach, they are only using the subject as a vessel to promote their own gain. I am reminded of the example of Governor George Wallace who, of all people, was accused of being soft on racial issues and lost his 1958 gubernatorial bid to the more vocally segregationist candidate John Patterson. He was quoted after the election as having said:
"Seymore, you know why I lost that governor's race?... I was outniggered by John Patterson. And I'll tell you here and now, I will never be outniggered again."The fact that he used race as a device solely for gain became even more apparent later in life when he recanted his position on segregation.
In realizing truths like this we are faced with the dilemma of either correcting the harm created, or continuing these same mistakes at our neighbor's cost. There are two paths before us now; the one less taken is that of the "rowdy citizen" who cares enough about his fellow man to make a difference through his own actions. Our actions or inaction speak for us of who we are. These are fundamental truths present throughout history and when they are correctly identified and acted upon have always transformed society for the better.
In Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s book "Strength to Love" he identifies this truth and finds it important enough to begin his lessons to us there:
"We do not need to look far to detect the dangers of soft-mindedness. Dictators capitalizing on soft-mindedness have led men to acts of barbarity and terror that are unthinkable in civilized society. Adolf Hitler realized that soft-mindedness was so prevalent among his followers that he said, 'I use emotion for the many and reserve reason for the few'."
King continues with this thought by quoting "Mein Kampf" where Hitler asserted:
"By means of shrewd lies, unremittingly repeated, it is possible to make people believe that heaven is hell--and hell heaven... The greater the lie the more readily it will be believed."
Now continues our struggle to cite verifiable examples of harms against GLBT people as irrefutable proof that we as both individuals and as a society must act to solve, and together find the courage to change what we should.
Allow me to take this opportunity to thank you for standing with me and the GLBT community unwaveringly through this struggle. Knowing that we are not alone in these efforts comforts me through the outrageousness we face. I have faith in the inherent goodness of mankind that there are more rowdy citizens out there like you who will eventually come forward to help correct the wrongs we've seen, but they will not be your peers. As a pioneer of justice in this struggle you are a hero in my eyes because you have the strength of character to stand up for others at your own cost. Whether we are right or wrong in our opinions regarding this important matter does not diminish the fact that you are a sterling example of The Good Samaritan, and few deserve to be called your equal.
Our shared dream is simply to live in a world where we are judged by the content of our character. That is a dream worth fighting for.
(John is a straight supporter of equal rights who decided to become involved in making a difference in the lives of his GLBT neighbors for no other reward than knowing it was the right thing to do. I give much thanks to his wife Miriam for her continued patience while we work together to help create a better world for all of us as best we know how.)