Not My Job

audre lord

I was writing a response to this post last week, which a family member had liked on Facebook, when I realized suddenly how much time and energy I have expended over my life, refuting claims that have no basis in reality, claims which are patently ridiculous.

This blogger, a conservative white male with no expertise in sexuality, gender, genetics or anything else he was writing about, had once again conflated LGBTQ+ people with pedophiles, rapists, and adulterers. He explained that “the progressives” would have us be a slave to our urges, no matter how harmful those urges were. I was in the middle of meticulously crafting a point-for-point rebuttal when something I had been hearing other people say lately, in one form or another, pop into my head:

It is not my job to educate you. 

Your validation is not necessary. 

Your acceptance of me does not make me whole.

I have spent much of my life explaining things to people. I have always felt that, if they could only just see where I was coming from, that we could get onto the same page. As a person of words, I truly believed the right words could get us there. “I don’t think we’re really as far apart as you’re suggesting,” I’ve said over and over again. “All I’m trying to say…”

How much time have I spent doing this — keeping fences mended in relationships that didn’t really add to my life? How much time have I spent doing this with people I have no relationship with — people on the Internet, people who grew up so differently than me, people who might never change?

I grew up believing that I could make a difference. But I have spent too much time and energy talking kindly, civilly, earnestly in the general direction of people who think I am like a pedophile. People who think that I will burn in hell. People who have no interest in reconsidering their points of view.

I went to this concert last night — good concerts are where I do some of my best thinking — and the music was flowing through me and I thought, all kinds of people like this music. And I thought, I am just a person who likes this music. And I thought, how can they not see that there isn’t any difference between us because of who I date? We are all just people who like a good concert, damnit. And then I got angry, I finally got angry on my own behalf, and I thought, fuck that. Fuck them. And then I thought, how am I only just getting here?

It is not my job to educate them.

Their validation is not necessary.

Their acceptance does not make me whole.

Fifteen years after realizing I was queer, a year and a half after first coming out, I’m finally here. And I’m not going to let them push me back to square one any longer. Fuck that. I am one whole human being. Fuck anybody who says otherwise. I will no longer hold their hand while I patiently talk them through why not to hate me. It’s not my job.

 

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