The Smell Of Fear

Christina Engela's picture

The forces who today oppose the struggle for recognition, equality and human rights of others think of themselves as strong. They stand today at the top of the pile, glorying in the lie that all people already are equal and have equal rights. They claim that those whose fingers they have spent countless years treading upon, are not fighting for equal rights, but "special rights" that will somehow elevate us above them. They look down on years of suffering, persecution and abuse - and somehow still lack the conscience and humanity to acknowledge the sorrow, unfairness and inhumanity they have forced upon their own peers and relatives for so long - for the injustice it is.

Those who denounce the struggle of achieving equality as some kind of insidious "agenda", clearly think of themselves as an overwhelming majority, a strong and powerful force. In their minds, they are supported by God, by their concept of morality and puritanical beliefs. They believe that because we are a minority in this world, that we are push-overs, weak and compliant.

They're quite wrong. Being strong doesn't mean not being vulnerable to pain and suffering. Being strong doesn't mean not getting hurt - it means surviving pain, strife and overcoming difficulties and facing the hardships that life throws at us.

If I think of all the people who, because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, have been bullied at school, assaulted in the street, persecuted in churches and in their workplace, fired, discriminated against - and who have faced the prejudice of lesser men, and survived - then I realize that every gay, lesbian, bi, trans, intersex person out there is a stronger person than the petty school-yard bullies we face. The people with insecurities about their own sexuality, their fears about their own misapplied and unrealized religious convictions - they're the weaker ones, the smaller ones.

And the more active they become, the more angry the reactionaries get, the more I smell the truth. Fear. They are afraid of us, and of losing their privileged position in life.

It's a war, this struggle for freedom and equality - that's what it's always been. And in reality it is that - they have called it that so many times. A war. They have used the term freely because they feel in control and they feel justified in doing so. They feel justified and safe in using such a horrible word because they know that, very likely, there will be no negative consequences for them.

They believe they are in the right, and that their might makes them right. So arrogant and confident are they that they see no wrong in subverting religion, God, love, family, society, justice and basic goodness to serve their purpose and to win this war of theirs. They wage war on us. Their hearts are filled with hate and they twist love to serve it.

And then there is us, the Pink Community. A minority group of people drawn together by the simple reality that we are in some small ways different to the rest of the herd - more to the point, because we are outcasts, and in our persecution we have united in loose alliances to defend ourselves against tyranny and injustice of a world run by people who feel that the end justifies the means and that people are only good because they say they are, and because of what they do to others in the name of their purported goodness.

We stand against those who would abuse our human rights and destroy us. They make a move, we make a move. The important thing is to be ready, and to keep opposing them, never give them their way without a fight.

They think we stand alone. Do we?

I don't think so. In the modern world there are many groups under pressure from the patriarchal religious fundamentalist mindset which hates - well, just about everyone. Feminists, liberals - and anyone who dares to blur or erase or bend the lines they prefer to remain between the gender stereotypes which serve to keep them in power.

This is a power struggle about equality, justice and humanity - a struggle between those who demand the freedom and equality they have been denied for so long - by those who have everything they want and wish to continue denying it to us - and paint a smoke screen of "righteousness" to excuse their lies and inhumanities.

Despite whatever differences we may have between us, this should make us allies in what is a war declared on all of us by a common enemy.

One thing I have learned in my time in this war of theirs - if the religious fundamentalists attach value to it and are even willing to go to "war" over it, to destroy our happiness, hopes, dreams and even our lives over it - then it can't be anything good, decent moral or worthwhile. And if they win out in the end, disaster lies in wait for us all.

If every one of us did something to protect our civil rights, to defend our human rights, no matter how small - imagine the effect it would have? If you did something too, just something to contribute to our fight for equality, dignity respect as human beings? If we all actually voted in local and general elections, supporting parties that defend our democratic rights, instead of sitting at home bragging "I'm too cool to be interested in politics" - and GIVING our enemies an undeserved victory? Even something as seemingly small as being open and visible, while being a contributing and valuable member of society, being the best you can be at your job, being generous with your resources and helping the world around you - if each one of us did that - each one of us - it would make a huge difference.

I do all that I can, but I am just one person, one voice. And even if I am a small voice, I will shout as loud as I can. Even if they call me insignificant, even if they hate me and slander me and in the end, destroy me - they will have to acknowledge me - even if that is only by stepping over me. Even if that is the only difference I make in this life, I will make it.

What will YOU do?
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