I’ve been thinking about this post for a while, but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to actually write it considering it’s a sensitive topic and one that I’ve sort of discussed in prior posts. However, I decided this morning, after thinking about it all night, that I needed to talk about “it”.
“It” being “The Card”
The Gay one.
The one that myself and many others get accused of pulling with its rainbow logo and all, in order…to what?…to demand the same rights as others (which, apparently, is a bad thing according to some.) This is similar (though not comparable) to the accusation of pulling “The Race Card” that I’ve often heard used toward people of a racial minority.
I’ve often wondered why this term is used and what it actually means and I believe I have the answer.
I personally believe that this term is used in fear and prejudice, and is ultimately a projection of these feelings onto the group accused of pulling said card. We’ve all heard about the cheating spouse accusing the other spouse of cheating, and this situation is similar. In order to ignore our own prejudice and justify it, we have to displace the blame and the blame often goes to the recipient of the prejudice.
Look, having feelings of prejudice and judgement isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s what we do with these feelings that can be a bad thing. When I first started my coursework as a social work major, I was told that it was extremely important to recognize feelings of prejudice and judgement, not to get rid of them, but to insure that we did not try to get rid of them only to have them surface and subconsciously affect our work. Of course, this seems totally backward, especially for a social work major, but it makes sense if you think about it. The fact is that we all judge and we all have prejudices whether we like it, or not. These are flaws that every human being has. However, it’s our refusal to recognize those feelings and address them that is the problem and that is just what happens when we accuse another group of pulling some sort of “card”. You might be wondering why this projection is so irritating to me, after all it really doesn’t have anything to do with those of us accused of pulling whatever card brings attention to the unequal distribution of policy and legislation. It really has more to do with the person that feels that the card exists in order to procure some sort of special right (that, frankly, doesn’t exist), or is unnecessary and unjustified.
Therefore, I want to give you a little insight as to why I feel it necessary to speak out about the right for myself, and other members of minority groups, to pull these “cards” and why we should be able to do so, without being accused of using them to gain an advantage over those in the majority population. It is primarily because, regardless of what you may think, we are not making prejudice and discrimination up and we are not being overdramatic. We are simply calling attention to those things, and for those of you living in denial and asserting that there is no need, I hope you will take what I have to say into your heart and mind, so that one day, there will be no need for anybody to “pull cards”, but until then we need to continue to pull these cards in order to continue to bring awareness to others that the prejudices we experience on a day to day basis DO exist.
We need to pull these cards to remind others that WE ARE DISCRIMINATED AGAINST in many ways, including in legislation, and that it needs to be stopped. Yes, marriage equality was a huge step in the right direction, but there are still many legislative policies that the LGBTQ population is not included in, or is not as protected as others within the same policies that we are included in, including job and housing discrimination (which is easily bypassed), and hate crime legislation which my state legislators refused to pass this past session because somehow they felt that including the LGBTQ community would give us “special rights” (Um..yeah…that really was used that as one of the excuses).
We also need to pull our “cards” to remind those that aren’t affected that WE ARE HURT, not just by legislation and the prejudice that exists, but by the fact that the term “pulling the Gay Card” is being used to try to bury that prejudice and project other peoples prejudice onto us, as if we are the problem.
The most justifiable reason for us to pull the “Gay Card”, however, is the need for us to protect others in our community. We need to continue to protect those that are “out” and make especially sure to protect those that aren’t, especially our youth. We can accomplish this by bringing awareness to the more important issues within our community, such as the increased rates of substance use disorders and suicide that occur as a result of this prejudice that continues to be buried under this asinine term, unacknowledged.
These reasons, and more, are why I am justified to pull the so-called “Gay Card” and should be able to without being accused of being dramatic or that I am somehow wanting some sort of special treatment, because whether people want to admit it or not, the injustice I mentioned above DOES exist and it shouldn’t.
So, go ahead, try to tell me that I have no right to continue to “pull the gay card”. Your ignorance and prejudice only makes me stronger; it only makes me want to fight even more.
It only makes me want to fight even more for the right work at a small company of less than 15 employees in Utah without fear of being fired, which I AM NOT protected against, currently.
It only makes me want to fight even more to sign a lease agreement on a single-family home without worry of eviction for being who I am, because it DOES happen.
It only makes me want to fight even more to be protected from hate crimes, because they DO happen.
It only makes me want to fight even more to be treated the same way that others are.
Because, I deserve it….We deserve it.
And I will not stop pulling that damn card until we get it.
So, the next time you accuse a person of using “The Gay Card” or “The Race Card”, maybe you should stop and think about the fact that you’re pulling a card as well, only your card is only being pulled in order to assert your justification for your prejudice and discrimination, rather than your rights.
Grow the hell up.