Life as a Second Class Citizen

Jody May-Chang©
December 7, 2008 PrideDEPOT.com

My best friend Melinda and I were having a heart to heart last week. I was telling her how a person is worn down with the daily challenges faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. I am not talking about the big stuff like hate crime, employment and housing discrimination or marriage. I am talking about all of the little things that happen every day and compel us to come up with unique ways, often at a moments notice, just to maintain our dignity and live honest lives.

Now mind you, Melinda is a very progressive and supportive LGBT ally. She has a number of gay friends, clients and a solid grasp of who we are. She has complete compassion for the challenges we face. But even she was surprised by some of the things I was telling her. She had never realized just how much we actually have to deal with because straight people take so much for granted. I think for her it was a light bulb moment.

I got to thinking about this conversation and wondered how many people, even some of our closest allies and supporters might not truly understand what our daily lives are really like. If more people really knew, perhaps it might put into perspective the deep sadness, frustration and anger we feel on a daily basis and that has been on display in protests across the country after California’s Proposition 8 was passed.

For those of you reading this that are not LGBT, I ask you to seriously and sincerely try for just a few minutes to put yourself in the following situations. Then ask yourself what you would do. How would you feel if this was your life all of the time?

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