COLUMN: Check your privilege
It’s Pride Week and I am straight, white and cisgender. This column is coming from a privileged point of view. I will never be able to fully comprehend the experience of people who belong to the LGBTQ community.
That doesn’t mean I can’t be an ally.
Actually, I see it as my responsibility to be in solidarity with this community of people who are marginalized by our society, the majority of which is made up of privileged people with demographics that match my own.
I recently learned what it means to be transgender. I am still learning. So far, I have learned the definition is different for every individual. The terminology, the pronouns and the transitioning process can get confusing at times for someone like me, who happened to be raised as the same gender I personally identify with and present to the rest of society.
Do you know what isn’t confusing at all? Knowing I should act like a decent human being and respect everyone.
If that means I have to start educating myself on issues like this more often, and reach out to people who are gracious enough to help me learn, then so be it. If we can’t understand as a culture the way marginalized groups are mistreated by society, then mistreatment will never end.
From SafeZone training to Trans 101, there are plenty of educational outreach programs that CMU provides to get people engaged about what it means to be part of the LGBTQ community. You don’t have to be part of the group yourself to be part of the solution.
Albert Einstein said, “The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it.”
Celebrate and learn about the diverse LGBTQ community this Pride Week, and every other day you have the opportunity to. This is a call to action. If you aren’t part of the community yourself, I urge you to be an ally.
It is your responsibility to not stand idly by.