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Rainbows, Pride, & Our True Colors
American #MarriageEquality just took a huge step forward! #LoveWon by 5-4 when the United States Supreme Court ruled that states could no longer ban same-sex marriage or refuse marriage rights to same-sex unions. As far as #MarriageEquality is concerned, state governments can no longer deny same-sex couples the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness in the realm of relationships.
Since then, Facebook has released the “Celebrate Pride” app, a tool that imposes a rainbow filter onto your profile picture, and transformed social media into a digital Pride extravaganza. My entire feed is drenched in rainbows and I would never have it any other way. A lot of these rainbow-faces belong to people who identify as heterosexual, cisgendered, and/or not queer.
Keep those colors flying, people!
The more rainbows, the merrier our social media feeds shall be, right?
However, lot of other LGBTQ individuals don’t share my perspective. In fact, they are pissed off about all of the rainbow-donning non-queer folk. They think that non-LGBTQ individuals who celebrate marriage equality on Facebook are participating in nothing more than slacktivism or trend-hopping. Support for LGBTQ rights are the kind of thing that should always remain “in” and should only fade from the public eye when the discrimination becomes fully extinct. Even then, we’ll have to work hard to make sure that society never repeats the injustice of the past. Much like the rainbows, I believe that we should welcome every ounce of support that we get from all kinds of people. LGBTQ rights should be something that everyone celebrates and advocates for. For the first time in a while, my Facebook feed didn't make me nauseous because it wasn't infested with bigotry. Instead, it was infested with rainbows; the occasional homophobic comments that were shot down very quickly by more than one person. Marriage equality supporters far outnumbered anyone who voiced dissent with the United States Supreme Court's decision.
I was so glad to see such solidarity and feeling like part of a moral majority. As history can tell us, the morals of the majority can be very exclusionary and hurtful. We’ve deserved always marriage equality forever, so people don’t get ally cookies for basic human decency. We’ve still got a lot of reforming to do. Obergefell v. Hodges doesn’t mark the end of the injustices perpetrated against the LGBTQ community. People still claim to support Pride and use the word “faggot” in the same breath. Transphobia is still alive and well; Facebook still won’t let trans users go by their names of choice. I cringe when I hear a bunch of people claim to love the LGBTQ community yet only embrace LGBTQ rights beyond the surface level and refuse to recognize me, a bisexual woman, as a member of that community. I gag whenever I hear someone compare Caitlyn Jenner to Rachel Dolezal. It pisses me off to know that people still lack the simple politeness to enough to refer to trans people by their pronouns of choice and espouse trans-exclusionary garbage. I sympathize with how unnerving it is to see the rainbow-plastered faces of individuals who were either cruel about my sexual orientation in the past or are currently subjecting us to their prejudice. We’re still vulnerable to discrimination in terms of employment, housing, police profiling, violence, and more. It’s like covering up an infected wound with a rainbow-colored bandaid and acting as if the injury requires no additional treatment. I’ve experienced all of these things and I relive the anger whenever I’m exposed to such toxic attitudes. I will never know what it’s like to be transgender, but I do know what it’s like to watch people ignore that our struggle for justice is far from over. We won’t be done until we have the freedom to be ourselves in harmless ways and remain free from all ostracism. It is a massive step forward, but by no means are we finished fighting the good fight. We’ve still got a lot of healing to do. The rainbows signify the approach of a time where everyone despises discrimination.
I’m not telling you how to feel. Please consider, though, how all of this public support is beneficial and not solely for the sake of scoring ally points. This is the kind of trend that reflects that we, as a society, are headed in the right direction. Think about it: it’s cool to embrace LGBTQ rights with open arms in a public space. It’s cool to accept people for who they are. These are the kind of things that the movement strive for. Things are looking up.
Personally, I would rather see rainbows all over non-LGBTQ individuals than only see them on LGBTQ users' profiles or, worse, not see them at all. I see rainbows filtering the profile pictures of people who have demeaned my sexual orientation and wonder if they’ve come to their senses. Such curiosity tempers my indignation with a splash of optimism and closure that makes all of the difference. But for once, I felt like I could tell anyone that I was bisexual with the full knowledge that most people wouldn’t subject me to the discrimination that’s become all too familiar in our heteronormative culture. Once I could no longer deny my sexuality, my 5th grade self vowed to never tell anyone the “shameful” truth of my existence. I was mortified enough being the only person who knew about my bisexuality. If I had seen my friends and family rainbow-fying their social media pages and attending Pride events, I wouldn’t have felt so isolated and freakish. I wouldn't have thought to keep it a secret in the first place because there would’ve been no reason to do so. Maybe those headlines about high school students getting punished for bringing same-sex partners to proms wouldn’t have gotten to me so much. If one of my non-LGBTQ friends expressed the desire to attend #NYCGayPride, I would’ve felt a lot better about my sexual identity and the world in which I co-exist with others.
The doors of communication are opening wider each day. To announce their support and joy over one of the most historical moments in American history. I hope that I live to see June 26 become a federal holiday. Until liberty is ours, the rainbows must remain in sight.
#CelebratePride #RainbowFilter #GayPride #LoveWon #MarriageEquality #FYeahCivilRights #ComeTogether
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