I know, "as opposed to any other week." This week I have a total of 4 panels for classes, with another one on Monday. Women's Studies x3 and a Nurse Practitioner class, then Counselor Ed on Monday. My boss makes it very difficult to be out of the office this much, and it means I work straight (har har) through lunch. Or rather, I use my lunch hour to go be the token homo. On the one hand, this is a raging pain in the ass and reminds me why I am so disgusted with my job these days. Sometimes you just don't feel like walking into a room full of strangers and telling them your deepest darkest secrets and how tough it was growing up queer. Tired of being on display.
And yet, there's the other hand - the reason I will ALWAYS do the panels. I've already had a few people come up to me and thank me (and the other panelists too) for sharing our stories. Some of them have looked at things in a new way. Some of them now understand better what happened to Matt, despite the lies running through the local rumor mill and 20/20. There have also been one or two students in the classes who I caught averting their eyes at just the right moment, and I know they are the student I was as a freshman: the scared, closeted person aching to come out but not yet ready to make that terrifying first step.
And that's what it's all about for me. Making the world a safer place for my fellow queers. For those who can't fight the fight yet. For those who've lost the fight along the way. For the junior high student in California shot in the head because he started wearing makeup and dressing more effeminately. For his parents, who this week decided to donate his organs so that others might live where hate ended his life too soon. Nobody should have to make that decision because of hate.
I speak out because I can. It's safe for me to do so. Or rather, it's safeR for me to do so. I'm 6'4" and too many pounds, and no longer have to fear losing family or friends or jobs if I shoot my mouth off. There's still danger, as I paint a target on myself by telling a room full of strangers I like the boys! But it's a risk I take, because someone must.
Today's lesson: speak up or out about something if you can. Make the world a better place for someone else, just because it's the right thing to do. Create change. Open minds... even if it's your own.