tolerance, prejudice, discrimination…oh my!

Well good afternoon!!

Let’s start with something really important.

Important thing number ONE: it is snowing. And I. Am. Pissed.


The rest of the US got it right (sans Texas. Sorry y’all. You’re in my prayers.) This is a hot mess.

Important thing number TWO: I got into GRAD SCHOOL motha suckaaaaaaaas (I am mature and have the right attitude. obvi!) Where will I be going? Why, the homo-loving-progressive-Jesus-lovin’-school known as…

!!!!!!!!!!

This is thrilling news. I’ll be entering their Masters of Arts in Social Change program come this fall. Well…that is if I can get it paid for because I’m bee-roke. Hurray! Cheers! Shots all around! Note: I am celebrating by wearing sweatpants and eating pretzels with hummus. I party hard.

Important thing number THREE: I went to see the badass Reverend Amy DeLong speak yesterday at my future college. If you haven’t heard of her, hear of her. Do some quick research. I’ll wait.

Done? Great.

So. Amy was the guest preacher at church Sunday and I missed it due to teaching Sunday School, aka this:

I like to think I’m a little off like Miss Lippy when I teach. Anyway, I digress. I wanted to see her and I was mega cranky yesterday. Exhibit A told me to suck it up and go, and I’m SO glad I did. She told her amazing story of going to trial for A – performing a holy union of two lesbians and B – being a “self avowed practicing lesbian.”

(Reason number one I fell in love with Amy DeLong: she said she wasn’t practicing…she was a professional. Love.)

She was found guilty on the holy union count, but since she would not vocally admit to sexual, genital contact with someone of the same sex, they couldn’t find her guilty on the self avowed practicing lesbian part.

Let’s talk about this for a second. So many things rub me the wrong way about her story, but there’s one big one that sticks out for me. What if I were walking down the street with you — yes, you, reader! — and we ran into a friend of yours that I hadn’t met. Do you say “Oh, _____, this is Miss Halfway,” and then do I shake their hand and say “Hi, I’m Miss Halfway, self avowed practicing lesbian!” and do they shake back and say “Neat, I’m _____, self avowed practicing heterosexual!” No. That doesn’t happen. Amy had brought this up and I think it’s the part of her conversation that sticks out the most for me.

(Reason number two I fell in love with Amy DeLong: she’s funny when she states things that make you go “hmmm.” Jeal.)

I then read this article on Thought Catalog. Though it’s cute, it’s effing true! I’ve complained about it before, in fact. I get it. I was engaged to a man. I wear dresses and wedges. I have long hair. I give a shit about Chanel and I carry vintage Coach (no bags covered in C’s for me, suckers!) I don’t look like a card-carrying lesbian but I surely do the acts of one.

Where is the in between? I feel like I am coming out every single day, actually. And I’m not complaining, honestly I’m not. There are men and women on this Earth who are killed for coming out. I get that. There are people who would love to have my position; to be able to come out and just “be.” I get that, I really do.

But it can be frustrating. I don’t like having to explain myself. I know there are the normal questions, especially from loved ones, like “Are you ever going to consider dating men again?” No, sorry, it’s not looking like it’s in the picture for me in any form of the near future. Mostly because I don’t go into relationships crossing my fingers that I’m going to break up with my current partner. So if that person happens to be a woman, then no, I’ll be on the “woman” thing for a while.

And I do take slight offense to not being hit on. I know, wah wah. But it feels good, no? Stop reading this and think about the last time you were hit on. It was awesome, even if it was creepy or out of place or a terrible attempt. You’ve gotta enjoy when you put effort into going out and looking good that it’s going to be appreciated…and even more props to you if you didn’t put effort in and you’re just hanging at the grocery store/dog park/wherever the hell kids hang out these days. I feel a little bit discriminated against about it.

Speaking of discrimination, let’s go through three terms I’m going to now discuss with you. (I feel a little lecture-y right now, must be the “getting into big girl school high” or something…)

  1. dis·crim·i·nate
    [dih-skrim-uh-neyt]
    verb, -nat·ed, -nat·ing
    to make a distinction in favor of or against a person or thing on the basis of the group, class, or category to which the person or thing belongs rather than according to actual merit; show partiality.
  2. prej·u·dice
    [prej-uh-dis]
    noun
    an unfavorable opinion or feeling formed beforehand or without knowledge, thought, or reason.
  3. tol·er·ance
    [tol-er-uhns]
    noun
    a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward those whose opinions, practices, race, religion, nationality, etc., differ from one’s own; freedom from bigotry.

These three words are all up in my business as of late. And as my dear friend Albert Einstein would say, it’s all relative (tuck it in, Exhibit A, I know I just made your favorite science joke.)
I heard Amy speak on the subjects of prejudice and discrimination yesterday. She stated that prejudice is something we’ll constantly be working on, whereas discrimination is something that can be legally ruled against. Example: you can be prejudiced against black people, but you cannot legally discriminate against hiring a black person at your company. It was an interesting take on the words, and it made me think for a bit.

(Reason number three I love Amy DeLong: she takes average, everyday things and makes them interesting. Ugh.)

At my job, I am in charge of co-maintaining the website. This means I comment on questions/comments/concerns that youth have. One youth asked about the word “tolerance.” She wanted to know what it meant and how can she tolerate someone if she doesn’t agree with their views? I responded with just that: the definition of tolerance means that you are fair and objective toward an opinion that does not line up with your own. I told her to not focus on the term “to tolerate,” rather, to take and learn from that other person’s experience. Don’t downplay another person’s feelings because they differ from your own.

Then I realized what I was saying was exactly how I was explaining my relationship with Exhibit A to my family.

Just because it’s different doesn’t make it wrong.

Just because I love my girlfriend and not my boyfriend doesn’t make it wrong.

Just because Amy DeLong married two women, not a man and a woman, doesn’t make it wrong.

Just because the church doesn’t recognize same-sex marriages doesn’t make it wrong.

Just because you’re not gay doesn’t make it wrong.

Learn tolerance. Don’t discriminate. Rethink your prejudice.

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