Monday, October 31, 2011

Guest Blog Post: JT Mikulka Wouldn't Take the Pill aka Check Your Privilege!

Today's blog post is a guest post from JT Milkuka, a graduate student in the Social Work program at Hunter College in New York. JT also works with Queers for Economic Justice.

The original post to which JT is responding can be found here. It was originally posted on Towleroad.

I just watched Randy Phillip's latest video you just posted and while I agreed with his general message I'd like to comment on his introduction; specifically, his hypothetical desire to change his sexuality if that was possible. I'd like to offer a different viewpoint.

We live in a society that loves to put people in boxes and categories. If society can't categorize someone, it tries to wipe them out instead. Mr. Phillip's comment implies that there are only a few ways of being sexual: gay, straight, (and I'll assume he'd imply bisexuality, since it's been socially accepted, if only barely). However, the fact is that human sexuality is complex and messy. It ebbs and flows and fluctuates through out our lives. I'd like to applaud Mr. Phillip's for his recent coming out and for being a huge means of support for many LGBTQGNC folks who have been following his videos. I'd also like to remind him, and his followers, that we don't have to feel constrained by the roles society tells us we must play based on one identity or another. But that we can decide for ourselves what these identities mean for us and how we would like to enact them (or not) and on what spectrum of human existence we would like to live.

Further, as a gay man who identifies occasionally as gay and occasionally as queer, I'd like to also state that I am so thankful that I am gay and would never wish for my sexuality to be any other way. It's true, growing up gay has not always been easy. Like many of the young gay, queer, and trans people out there, growing up was a struggle and I did not always feel connected to the people around me. I continue to struggle with these issues of belonging and connectedness to this day. Unfortunately, I have also walked through various streets of this world unable to hold my boyfriends hand for fear of being attacked, because my sexual identity may threaten another persons sense of self. However, it is precisely these struggles that have allowed me to see beyond the white, middle class world that I was raised in and see the rampant homophobia, racism, classism, and sexism that exists in this world and this country. It has allowed me to join with communities and friends in the fight for equality and liberation in an attempt to fully realize my human potential and help others fully realize theirs along side me. I view this fight as both my duty and my privilege. I am thankful every day that I am more aware of the ways in which people of color are discriminated against. I am thankful that I am aware of the ways women are abused and harassed by men. I am thankful that I have been given a lens to view the world differently and work towards undoing the systems that have allowed these acts of hate and violence to continue.

No, I would not take that magic little pill to turn me in to just another straight white man. I encourage Mr. Phillips, and the many LGBTQGNC youth and non-youth a like to view their non-majority identities as a gift they can share with the world and with those around them who love them. Not everyone will listen or be kind. People are often scared of change and by ideas that threaten their identities. I am not saying this struggle is an easy one. But there is a vast community of love and support to tap in to. A community that will stand by you in the struggle and lift you up. A community I feel lucky to be part of.

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