I’m proud to blog today in support of the Equal Rights Blog Hop.
Mind you, I doubted my right to blog about the theme of the blog hop—that is, what it means to me to be a part of the LGBT community. Because I’m not. As a writer of m/m romances, I’m barely on the edge of the communities that count themselves as LGBT, but I do count myself as a straight ally. That means, of course, that I have no direct experience of anti-LGBT prejudice. There’s what I read, of course, and see. And there’s what I know of my own privilege, things I don’t have to think about and dammit, that I should be thinking about and how the lack of that impacts my LGBT friends.
When I was single, it used to annoy the hell out of me how society is structured around couples. It was uncomfortable to go alone to concerts or the theatre, or walk into a pub on my own or a restaurant. Sometimes it was worse to be the gooseberry when generous friends invited me along so I wouldn’t be alone.
I might have worried a bit about what people thought when they saw me sitting alone at table, a book propped against my glass. Pity, do you think, for someone who was obviously a failure at meeting society’s expectations? A little self-congratulation that they weren’t so pathetic that they had to sit alone in a restaurant? You can see why it was a little uncomfortable for me.
But, by and large, it was **safe**.
I didn’t have to worry that the looks were not just pity, but contempt, hate and anger. I didn’t have to wonder if I’d be insulted and yelled at or spat upon as I ate my meal. I didn’t have to size up everyone looking at me to try and gauge the level of threat they offered, to wonder if that angry-looking bunch over there would jump me to put the boot in as I left the theatre.
Privilege. I had it then and didn’t know it. Now I realise how very lucky I was and am. How, even when single, I wasn’t ‘other’. How safe I was and am, and how risky it still is for gay, lesbian and transgendered men and women.
And then it was borne in on me that it’s wider than that. It’s not about rights for one part of our society but about ALL our rights. If, as a woman, I demand and expect all civil and human rights—and responsibilities—then that same principle applies to everyone. And if the rights of one group are threatened and denied, then all our rights are at risk of being threatened and denied. We’re all in this together. To different degrees and coming at it from different angles,with different experiences and maybe with a different level of anger and hurt. Sure, that’s true. But this mess? This is a *human* mess that we need to sort out, or we’re all diminished.
That’s what makes me an ally. It’s the least any rational human can do—sign petitions here, write to MPs there, support gay marriage whole heartedly, and support equality in every aspect of our lives, everything from council tenancies to pension rights. Whatever makes my life mine, makes my interactions safe, gives me my place in society—that by right belongs to everyone, not just the straight. Or the white. Or the able-bodied.
It’s probably not enough and I should do more. But it’s offered with love and respect. Because people matter, not their sexual orientation or their gender, their colour or their physical or mental abilities. Just their humanity matters. Whatever else in this battle is hard and painful, take that statement as the truth that should underpin it, the principle from which everything flows.
Every person matters, you see. That’s the bit that’s easy peasy.
And to support this, I’m offering a free e-version of my novella, Flashwired. If you want to enter the giveaway, comment here with your email address and I’ll name the winner after the blog hop ends.
As I said, I’m proud to support the blog hop today. Go HERE to Queertown Abbey to see who else is participating and join in. There are prizes to be won there.