Guest Blog Post: The Enemy Is Us

Editor’s Note: This week, I’ll be sharing guest blog post from folks who identify as allies and what that means to them.

Maria Lupinacci blogs at 2 Political Junkies

In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”
– Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Most of us like to think that we are good, moral people. That we would intervene if we saw an injustice occur. We would step up if we saw someone abusing a child or an animal, We would call 911 if we saw a group victimizing a person. We would vote against an unjust law. We might even protest an unjust war. And, that should be the easy call. What seems to trip us up is the really personal stuff: how we react — or don’t — to the words and actions of friends, family and co-workers.

When I was a child in the 60s or 70s, I had relatives who thought nothing of dropping the N-word, repeatedly. There was no problem with men referring to grown women as “girls” and laughing at the very idea of women being equal to men. All that still exists — I am by no means saying we are in some sort of post racist or post sexist society — but at some point, that sort of easy, blatant racism and sexism was no longer considered proper in polite society. People at least learned to censor themselves to an extent. Politicians knew they’d be called out on it (they prefer the ever popular dog whistle these days). We at least have a veneer of “tolerance.”

But not so much with with anti-gay sentiments. And, the most popular shield these days against criticism is religion. We are all supposed to respect someone’s religious beliefs. But, what if those beliefs trample on our own rights or try to negate our very being? As a woman, my reproductive rights are constantly under attack these days because of the religious beliefs of others. Similarly, LGBT rights — to marry, to adopt, to even exist in some countries — are under attack.

If the very mention of the word “lesbian” will block you from going to a website on some intranets, if holding hands in public with your significant other is seen as a controversial act (“flaunting it”), if wanting the same recognition and benefits for your spouse in every state is worthy of a massive negative campaign and objecting ballot initiative, if it’s OK for others to object to someone’s very being as being an affront to their own religious beliefs, how can we not be surprised when anti gay bullying and violence still exists?

Religion was used in the past — and sometimes still is — to justify overtly racist and sexist views and actions. It cannot be tolerated now to justify an anti gay agenda. Nor can anti gay sentiments from the casual joke to the outright attack be tolerated. If we don’t call out our family, our friends, our co-workers, our online buddies on the this when it happens, we are not allies, we are not friends — the enemy is us.

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