The importance of being Proud, as an outsider, as an oddball, and especially as part of an oppressed group like LGBTQ+ people, people of colour, and disabled people, is a topic that I’m sure many a thesis has been written about. As I’m doing this in one blog post, for now, I’m only going to gently brush the surface, but I hope I’ll give you a concept of the answer anyway.
So I’m a queer, disabled oddball, an autistic weirdo, a geeky outsider.
I have a lot of stuff that counted against me in childhood and my teens, to say the least. I’ve been mentally ill in some form or another for as long as I can remember, with my obsessive compulsive tendencies starting once I learnt how to count. I’ve obviously always been autistic, and I realised I was genderqueer, although I didn’t have a name for it yet, when I was about 6. I’ve lived a long life of being “outside the norm”.
Ok, so onto the meat of this. The core of all things that do or at least should matter to humanity is that we are all human. We are ALL human. We all deserve the same level of respect as each other, the same basic comforts and opportunities, etc.
There are many things people can be proud of that, in a nutshell, aren’t that much to be proud of. Your birth place. Your parents’ wealth. That’s not your achievement.
There are many things people can be proud of that are very much worth being proud of. Making the most of an opportunity. Helping other humans make the most of theirs. Even just surviving in a cruel world can be an achievement.
If you’re someone who is outside of what society considers “normal” then life gets set to “hard mode” immediately. Being bullied in school for being “weird” is more likely to set you up with trauma and mental health issues for life. Being an outcast in your own neighbourhood can affect your self esteem so profoundly, you can be scarred for a long time.
And then we come to the systemic oppression, like the violence against people of colour, against LGBTQ+ people, and so on. Did you think racism, homophobia, and ableism was all about the words?
Even being femme or woman in this world is harder than being masc or a man.
That is why it matters so much to be Proud. The more we normalise our differences and the more we make it acceptable, and a part of society, to be “different”, the more we make the more privileged and more extremist groups think, and see us as human, and stop being dicks
“Pride” is a word mostly used in the “Gay Pride” context, but I think it should be used for all oppressed groups, and even for the less respected groups.
Geek pride. Weirdo pride. Oddball pride. And then we have Autistic Pride, Disabled Pride, Black Pride and of course LGBTQ+ Pride and Queer Pride. (“Queer” is a reclaimed slur, which means not all LGBTQ+ people are ok with it. Use it with extreme caution if you don’t fit under the LGBTQ+ umbrella, or for the sake of ease don’t use it at all. 🙂 )
Be Proud that you have survived, that you have battled, that you have fought against those who would see you crumble and fall away. Be Proud to still be standing, or sitting, or lying down if that’s your style, but you’re still here. You’ve done so well.
And to those who aren’t still among us, you also did so well. You fought so hard. We miss you.
Some people make fun of safe spaces, but don’t we all need somewhere we can go where we won’t be judged and where we can just chill out without thinking too hard about how to present our selves to make said selves acceptable to other people?
What do you think? Are you Proud to be You?
I run a Facebook Group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/destai.beproudbeyou/ which is all about being outside the “norms of society”, and if you feel like you need a safe space or just want to chat, please do stop by. 🙂