June 23, 2020
June 26, 2020
Guest Blog by Jen Kurtz.
This month was a somber one filled with emotions, thoughts, and important discussions.
My colleagues and I had many impactful conversations around Black Lives Matter, and I was happy to join them, contribute, and learn from others. In the process, an interesting question came up around the LGBTIA community: would these events and the attention on Black Lives Matter affect Pride Month? Will they—and should they—overshadow this celebration? Is that okay?
I am part of the LGBTIA community, and I personally do not care one bit if today’s BLM focus and awareness speak louder than June’s traditional Pride Month. This is my opinion only. I cannot (and will not) speak for the entire LGBTIA community, but I firmly believe that we should never be so selfish to say, “Hey, it’s June, this is our month!”
We shouldn’t have to have “a month.” No group of minorities should have to be reduced to one month when brands package and sell themselves with a social justice-themed message to take advantage of “awareness.” (I don’t believe that everyone does this, but it certainly happens.) Minority groups should never feel pinned against one another fighting for the spotlight of awareness.
As someone who has a bisexual orientation and has been in a loving and committed relationship with my same-sex partner for 11 years now, I can say that I have been tremendously lucky. I am fortunate that my family and my partner’s family, as well as our friends, have fully embraced us from day one.
That is not a common experience for everyone at all.
I am also a white person, and I am more and more aware of the privilege that comes with my skin color. I am 100% certain that my whiteness has enabled me to have confidence in who I am otherwise.
It is a strange feeling to feel that you can be a part of a minority yet feel so privileged because of your white skin.
Truth be told, in again my personal opinion, I believe unless you are a white heterosexual male and in this country-, then you should feel like a minority. In today’s political climate, if you are not that combination, then you likely have fears of racism, chauvinism, religious intolerance, and the overall feeling that—in some way—you need to fit into a “box.”
Even though my gender and sexual orientation make me a minority, my white privilege allows me to generally feel as though I can do the following and not lose my life:
Jog through a neighborhood, walk a dog, own a cell phone, have a concealed carried weapons permit and carry a gun, knock on a stranger’s door for help if I were lost, stop a stranger on the sidewalk to ask a question, use a public restroom, BE ALIVE.
Where I’m going with all this:
As I celebrate Pride month, I will still put the struggles of POC in front. Ironically, when you think about it, the majority of us humans are “minorities” somehow. So let’s bind together. Let’s embrace each other. Let’s be the new majority in the future. Let’s stick up for one another, let’s voice our opinions, let’s hold our political figures and those in power accountable. Let’s all do what we can do to enable each other to be the best we can be.
I have never condoned or agreed with injustice, but I could have done more to be vocal in my opposition. I will no longer look for ways to be diplomatic and not “rock the boat.” I pledge to do more.
The time has come where we, as a society, can no longer afford to only acknowledge the hardships of others and say on social media, “prayers for you”. What is that even? Come on. Actions speak louder than words. It’s easy to say we care about something from our cell phones in the comfort of our homes.
I’m sure there would be are some people on LinkedIn that who are angry with the social others voices and political commentary opinion being featured on what is supposed to be a career networking site.,
But how can these events not be contemplated and spoken about?
How can people go on working among their colleagues and not express anger or sorrow over these actions?
How can people ignore our differences between one another and just continue working as if nothing is wrong?
We are not robots, (thankfully!). We’re human beings—each with our own unique emotions, thoughts, goals, and ambitions, and as well as things that make us different from one another.
We need to get uncomfortable. There are people who are uncomfortable and feel unsafe all of the time just for being alive.
Only by participating in the discomfort will we ever even slightly understand or affect change. We can all do so much better.
I can do so much better. I promise to my brothers and sisters, I will. I hope you will too.