Thursday, May 11, 2017

LGBTQ Activist Motivation

The other day, I wrote about the car line at school and the lunacy that apparently goes on all over the country on school car lines everywhere. After I wrote that, I got to school and had to tell a dad to turn his car off for idling at least twenty-five minutes. I was behind him eating exhaust with my Greek yogurt. Had I not been behind him, I probably wouldn't have noticed the idling, because that's not my thing. I care about it, I think people are jerks when they're doing it, but it's not my passion.

Yesterday, I also posted that I had shirts made on CafePress in their online marketplace. They're the shape of NJ (and now a few other states) in the colors of the gay pride rainbow flag. I didn't start out making a whole online store. I wanted a shirt for ME. I literally could not FIND a shirt in one of these t-shirt sites with this particular NJ flag. There were others - "distressed", with a heart, but not with JUST the simple rainbow flag. I had to have a guy in Bangladesh on Fiverr make me one to use for the shirt. I'd made one from a similar NJ pride flag I'd found on a site, but I wasn't in love with it. I showed that shirt to people and they loved the idea. So, now, I have a whole online store.

I posted about the "store" on Facebook. My friend private messaged me, applauding my commitment to LGBTQ rights but has always wondered what my motivation is for this particular cause. I thought about how twice people I grew up with assumed I was either gay or my kid was gay or transgender because of my level of support. It took me like a minute to think of what I wanted to say, and this is basically what I came up with:

It's a few things. One of the big ones is that I still can't even watch the news. It's overwhelming and gives me extreme anxiety. I used to watch the news like times a day. I haven't watched the news since the inauguration. I catch things and I read articles that I want but i can't ingest all the rest. Every time I catch something, I feel like we're being Punk'd. I had to pick one basket to put my eggs in. 

There was much more that I said to my friend, and I even typed it out and elaborated here. I just feel like it's almost redundant at this point. I saved what I wrote and I made eventually put it out there, but the bottom line is- I need to feel like I am actually making a difference. Getting a guy to stop idling is nice, but that's not the difference I'm interested in. I can't do something on a national level, but I'd like to help people who need help. This is the cause that makes the least sense to me as an issue for those "against". To me, it's just about being human. People just being allowed to be who they are, live and let live, hurts no one. That there are actively people trying to make law to make people's lives less than, less equal, less quality, just because of their own personal feelings, is angering to me on a level I find hard to articulate. It's also based on a hypocrisy I find unsettling and really dangerous.

In my small action groups, focused on a main issue, that's where I feel I can actually make a difference. I can't watch the news and just see bans on groups of people, the appointment of unqualified people taking over positions that will ruin public education, the environment, send us to war, etc. because there is nothing I can really DO about any of those things. I can make calls and send emails- which is great, and I'm doing. But I need a stronger local focus where I can really feel the difference. Like, for instance, in both Glen Rock AND Ridgewood this week, two groups I'm in were able to mobilize people, made numerous appeals to the town councils, and finally got the unanimous votes to be able to fly the gay pride rainbow flag for the month of June in both towns. That's finally a small win, but a win nonetheless, in this whole mishegoss that's been since January 20th. Even in the meeting in Glen Rock for the vote for the flag, it FELT nicer. It FELT like we did something special to bring the community together instead of continuing to let it be torn apart. It's nice to feel part of something positive.

If you want a shirt, I have NJ Pride ones up, Proud Ally, Proud Ally Glen Rock, Proud Ally Ridgewood, and some other states and different combinations. This was the easiest way to give everyone access without having to be involved with orders and money. I'm hoping a bunch of us will have them for the ceremonies in Glen Rock & Ridgewood when the flags are raised.  

*I can add states, and wording, but the process isn't quick. If you want something specific added, just let me know and I can try to get it up there. Just really check each listing to make sure it's what you want before ordering. I did my best, but I'd never done it before and it was tedious and time consuming. I know there were some tech mistakes but I think they're all fixed now. 

Shirt Shop-

Glen Rock Flag Raising:

sample of what's in my online "shop"

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