As the world reels from yet another case of gun violence in the USA, I sit here going through the same range of emotions I imagine most caring individuals are going through: anger, sadness, disappointment and, of course, sympathy. I shake my head at the senselessness and stupidity of it all. Yes. Stupidity.
When are we going to learn? When are we, as one large group of people, going to learn?
I could easily point my finger at a dozen (if not more) valid people or policies that could be blamed for the situation. But the truth is it’s not just a problem with the USA. Or the gunman’s problem. Or a problem with extremist religions.
It’s a problem with humanity.
People keep forgetting we are one race. The human race. And that should trump all other lines of division. Whatever beliefs we hold true, the ways in which we love, or the borders we have, they are just labels that divide us. And the fact is, despite what labels I place on myself, or on you, we can choose to see the human being underneath. We can choose to see past those labels, put the differences aside, and care for each other on a much more basic level.
The sad truth is we choose to ignore that.
We let people get away with these crimes by not ensuring we have adequate gun laws. We let people with mental illnesses fall through the cracks so instead of getting the help they need they snap and go on rampages. We persecute other religions to the point they feel they have to fight back and persecute our own beliefs.
We create the problem.
Muslim. Terrorist. Immigrant. Gay. Homophobic. Mentally ill. Fat. Female. Poor. We toss around these labels in such hateful ways people have no choice but to feel threatened and ashamed. Then there’s the other set of labels used to elevate and reward certain individuals or groups of people: male, thin, athletic, Christian, rich. This is what divides us. This is what makes people retreat to their closets, lock the doors and throw away the key. Many people would rather be ashamed of themselves and live a miserable life hiding away rather than face persecution. No one should be made to feel ashamed of themselves. No one should have to live a meaningless, unhappy life. Especially over the way they were born.
And I’m not just talking about being gay. That is the biggest and most well know closet but it’s not the only one. The metaphorical closet is one that hides any part of yourself that is not accepted by others.
I don’t have any closets. I refuse to live in them. I will not give into the fear or let someone else decide how I’m going to live my life. I’m just out! All the time, regardless of who’s around. For my part I’m out of the broom closet, the kink closet and the strong independent woman closet. So even though I’m white and therefore have certain privileges, I have my share of persecution.
No I’m not gay, but I’m an ally.
I’m an ally to anyone fighting for the right to be themselves.
So let’s make a pact; you, me and the rest of the human race. Let’s stop treating each other like things, slapping labels on them (this one’s couture, that one’s bargain brand or no name) then tossing them in their respective closets. Let’s join the movement.
Let’s choose that there will be #nomoreclosets.
Of any kind.
For any one.
Closets are for clothes. Not people.