I’m not proud that I am a man. Cis, as the descriptive goes.
I’m not proud that I’m white.
I’m not proud that I am a naturally born American.
I’m not proud that I’m in a heterosexual marriage.
I’ve zero reason to be, because that’s who and what I am.But I’ve zero reason to be ashamed either. This isn’t a zero sum game. In point of fact, it’s not a game at all, though it’s certainly treated as tit for tat. There’s the knee-jerk leap to defense or validation for a condition that never existed in the first place.
In short: I’m not ashamed, because society never went out of it’s way to put me into a position to feel shame so it might feel superior, or as a tool of oppression and control.
I want to believe this hashtag is simply a bit of trolling that rolled too far past the station to let people get off. Unfortunately, I know better. I see how people have cottoned onto it, all under the same aegis of “Yeah. Why not us?”, and gaslighting naysayers by invoking tolerance, like it’s something clever; a brilliant card play in a game of societal Uno.
It’s sad that we’re having this kind of conversation, frankly. Sadder still that it’s blown up to such a proportion that I felt inclined to add my voice to it. Because, in my heart, I know that by and large these words I type will carry the taint of conspiracy, and a blush of the wrong colored uniform for those that have already decided in their minds that they deserve a special day, or a special month, or at the very least a coupon for the restaurant of their choice.
A restaurant, I add, that they demand be allowed to refuse service to certain patrons that don’t meet their strict dining company requirements.
I have never been truly attacked because of my race, my relationship, or my sex. Have I seen such attacks? Yes. Have I seen them married to the same coordinated effort that breeds lobbyists and smear campaigns faster than Twitter pops out new trends? No. It isn’t cool regardless, but the honest truth of the matter is that there’s no greater machine at work here; no Bigotry Ex Machina denying someone like me from larger acceptance.
Perhaps these people fear there might be one being cobbled together even now, destined to ride roughshod over their lives, but none of these victims of the “Blames of Future Past” are taking any time to appreciate the nature of the turnabout.
But, really, there isn’t any such machine being built, not even at Ikea, but they might keep thinking it until they get those coupons.
Perhaps it’s simple necessity. We all want to feel special. We all want some truth given over to that which we were all told growing up: each of us is unique, worthwhile, and worthy of celebration.
Which, as those that celebrate Pride will tell you, is exactly the damn point.
It is the difference between demanding recognition so that your life has some meaning, or having recognition of exactly what you have survived thus far. One has the hallmarks of victimization through convincing one’s self that they are being left out of the celebration. The other has the scars born by heroes who danced even knowing the music was written to bind their feet them from the beginning.
I’m not proud. I’ve nothing to be proud of, because I’ve never lost anything due to who I am. I’m not ashamed, because I have been given a luxury that vocal parts of society, in their insanity, have decided I’ve earned by having the right DNA sequence.
I’ve never been so put upon, so beaten or denied, that my only solace was a movement to lift myself up from that bloodied pavement to stand defiant in the face of those attacking me.
So, really, I’m fucking thankful. You might want to reflect on what that means, extend your hand instead of your self-entitlement, and hashtag that idea instead.