Why I Don't Accept Your Sympathy For Being A Marginalized Minority

by Ryann Graham

According to society, I should have a pretty hard life. First things first, I’m black.

Statistically speaking, I’m more likely to be dead or in jail in the next five years than I am to have a successful career and be happy. Secondly, I’m gay.

Everywhere I go, people will stare at me, and some will hate me simply because I like guys.

I remember when I first came out to my mom; she told me there were many people in the world who wouldn’t understand and she was concerned for my safety.

And, every week I see another black guy getting shot by the police or a rally for #BlackLivesMatter.

I receive message after message that I'll be hated, but in my personal life, I feel nothing but love.

I am aware of the realities of the world. I am fully aware there are hateful people and some people won't like me.

Hell, some may even want me dead. I’m not afraid of these people, though.

I’m more afraid of the person society tells me I should be.

I’m afraid of the people who don’t tell me to make friends with my enemies. I'm afraid of the people who don't use kindness to help others see we are all just humans navigating the same life struggles.

According to society, I should be afraid of the cops. I should think every Christian I run into thinks I’m going to hell.

I should live the rest of my life knowing that with everything I do, someone will hate me for it.

I should know I am will have to try a million times harder to be accepted and loved. I should be prepared to be berated and know my life will suck.

I’m so sick of this narrative. I am tired of being sold the message I have to live in fear. I am done being a victim.

How about the media puts some stories out about successful black men who aren’t NBA players, rappers or actors?

How about we see stories about gay couples that live a healthy, happy lives and raise healthy, happy children? How about we send the message it is possible to live life without being in fear?

Recently, in Springfield, MO, a city ordinance was repealed that included a clause to the non-discrimination policy.

The ordinance, now repealed, made it illegal to refuse the right to service based on sexual identity and sexual orientation.

I agree no one should discriminate against anyone for any reason.

However, I also am fully capable of finding another establishment that would take my gay dollars.

(To be honest, I would much rather not support a business that would refuse service to a gay person, or anyone being discriminated against.)

After the result of the repeal came through, my Facebook page was flooded with comments about how disgusted people were with the repeal and how they couldn’t believe we lived in a society that would vote to allow such a thing.

They were "heartbroken" for me. Personally, the tweets and Facebook posts annoyed me to no end.

It so easy feel sorry for or disgusted by an oppressed group, but I’m more disgusted by the number of people who post simply to gain likes, favorites and retweets.

If only social media posts were votes.

I would like to think next week, when the news isn’t so fresh, people will still actively post about social issues.

Unfortunately, I know as soon as the next Kim Kardashian antics happen, people will forget about their “disgust.”

I don’t need pity; I don’t need “thoughts and prayers.” I am not a victim.

Any other LGBT+ person or anyone who happens to be experiencing social injustice should not be labeled a victim.

Although the injustice is a problem, the bigger problems are breeding victims and a fleeting sense of concern for justice. Don’t feel sorry for me; help me fight the fight. Go do something about it.

I remember reading a tweet after the repeal that encouraged people to tell their LGBT+ friends they love them.

If it takes an ordinance being repealed or another unarmed teen being killed for you to realize you value your LGBT+ and black friends, then you aren’t too good of a friend to begin with.

You should value your friends all the time so that when social injustices occur, we will know someone loves and values us. We will already know we matter.

Don’t pity or feel sorry for your (insert marginalized group) friends — encourage and stand up for them. Volunteer at a local LGBT+ shelter.

Help homeless members of the LGBT+ community find work and safe places to live. Be active in the community, not only on social media.

If we want to see change, we don’t need grief and we don’t need pity, but we need strong people who are willing and ready to stand up. Do not victimize me anymore.

I am black and I am gay, but I refuse to live the narrative so many of you have lain out before me.

And, if you belong to a marginalized group, refuse the narrative so many believe of you. Stop being a victim. Pick yourself up and fight the good fight. We shall overcome.