Social Justice and the Problem With Humans

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I was listening to Citizen Radio this morning and their discussion got me thinking. They were discussing the LGBTQ people who, in states that now have legal marriage, don’t want to be married. They also discussed that there are people even within that community who are not good people, just like there are in every other community. Let me explain why I bring this up.

I once attended a Take Back The Night rally, which focuses on violence against women. Myself, and others, were informed by some volunteers that they don’t need or want men around at all. We’re no use to them, and they don’t want us volunteering.

I once listened to a member of the LGBTQ community very vehemently shame another because they publicized their coming out. When I expressed that shaming anyone is inherently wrong, I was chastised because “how dare you, a straight person, say anything to me? All you fuckin straight people just think it’s cute that we want rights too, but you don’t actually care.” Others agreed with him wholeheartedly.

The thing is, many of us who are very active allies to various causes often make a caricature of a people as a cause, instead of as people. Then, when we encounter people being…well…people, we’re shocked at how they act. Every movement, for every cause, is made up of people. People should be the reason we join these causes. People can also be good or bad. That’s how people work.

At Take Back The Night, we ended up being welcomed with open arms by others in the group, and enjoyed marching and volunteering for the cause. I’ve been very active in the LGBTQ community, as an ally. Even, as in the example from Citizen Radio above, those who don’t choose to exercise the rights they’re fighting for, understand why they’re fighting. Others may not choose to fight at all.

I have an old friend who is a middle aged gay Catholic. We were good friends for years. He believes that if he doesn’t choose to utilize rights for himself, he doesn’t care if anyone else has them. He’s chosen not to remain a part of my life because I speak out against the abhorrent actions of the Catholic Church.

The thing is, even as much as he is against social movements in general, everyone who fights, fights for him too. Rights are universal, whether you choose to use them or not.

In the same way, people are universal, whether you choose to acknowledge it or not. People are people, good and bad, mean or nice.

Contributor: Robert Sacerich

Robert is a Philosophy of Science and Bioethics student, as well as blogger and science advocate/activist. He has worked extensively within the secular community for various secular nonprofit organizations and public communication causes.

See his full bio!

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