When your privilege shows

I’m (slightly) hesitant to write this, but angry enough I will anyway! I won’t use the sportsman’s name because he doesn’t need more publicity. A prominent sportsman is raising money via GoFundMe to fight a legal battle he can well afford form his own bank account.

He says it’s about religious freedom, but no one is stopping him practising his religion. The problem is him using his sports profile to spread anti-gay anti-transgender etc hatred. That’s dangerous, especially when he was a serious following in Pasifika youth.

The page has raised a lot of money very quickly, which is sad when other pages, such as for kids with cancer, are struggling. Now people are giving money to LGBTQ causes instead, in anti-him pledges. That makes my heart sing.

My family is rainbow – I won’t bother trying to explain, because who cares? They’re all awesome people who we love. We have a mix of pronouns and, again, who cares? I use she/her, some use he/him and one is – I think – opting for they/them over ze/zir.

My friends and colleagues are rainbow too. When people attack the rainbow community it’s deeply personal to me. If your god makes you hate people, find another god, because your god sucks. If you have a god, and I don’t, I’d hope they encourage love, kindness and respect. If you interact with me on social media, please show  respect – thank you!

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We don’t all have the same values

We don’t all have the same values, and we don’t have to in order to get along. But we should be prepared to respect other people’s right to live their lives their own way, without fear or hate. This is something I just wrote in my art journal:

This week I have been exposed to some awfully bigoted people, with views I find abhorrent. It’s mainly been around the Rainbow community but also the way people live their lives. My job as a librarian exposes me to myriad views!

I’m a sociologist so see marriage, gender roles, etc as social constructs originally designed to make society safer etc. Many ‘rules’ and institutions have survived long past their logical need.

I don’t care what people do, or who they do it with, provided it’s truly consensual, with no power imbalance and no one is being hurt. There’s infinite variety in the human condition … people should be free to do whatever floats their goat.

Many people know Tony and I started as an affair, and 26 years on, we’re still together. Of course the relationship is different to those early days. We’re not young anymore! We share a strong companionate love & rely on each other.

We’ve always said it’s who you go home to at night that counts. Heinlein wrote that “sex is just friction between two bodies”. That’s a simplification but also a good point. Emotional connection matters, sex alone not so much. I wish people were less judgemental of others because the world needs to be kinder.  

Adding to what I wrote in my journal, although I have been married twice, I don’t see marriage as essential, sacrosanct or any other moral words. Nor do I have a problem with people having an affair, being bi or pan sexual, and so on. I think some of us have the capacity to love many people in our lifetimes, and sometimes they overlap. As someone who has suffered abuse in the past (which I won’t ever detail), what I care about is power imbalances, consent, safe choices and so on.

I occasionally have someone in the library who I can tell wants to ask me something but is scared of being judged. I smile and say “I don’t care if you dance naked round a fire in the back yard with your neighbour’s wife and a dead chicken, drinking moonshine and smoking mushrooms! What I care about is finding the information you need. Tell me what you’re after.”. Generally people smile and open up. Usually what they want is far from shocking anyway, but that fact they were so hesitant speaks volumes about how judged people feel. Maybe if we all listened more and judged less, there’d be less abuse in the word.

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