I have a few people in my life who are really trying to be good allies. I genuinely appreciate this. As a minority, in many ways, I know that it is not always easy to accept a person like me in your life.
I know that most mean well, but here is the problem, with how some are going about it.
When you say you love my spirit, and that you do not judge people on the basis of their color, religion, gender, or sexual orientation, you are denying your own privilege as a member of an in-group.
Being “blind” to out-group members’ differentiating characteristics (physical and others) is to deny one’s privilege as a member of an in-group, and this hurts me as a member of an out-group.
All my life, this world denied my very existence. I conformed so that I would not be judged, hurt or out-casted more than I already was. I knew that people like me were not liked, and were feared, and prejudiced against. Worse, Implicit prejudice is a very, very real thing, even among those who claim to not be judgmental towards people like me.
By honoring my true self now, I appear a gay man, and as a man without the same genitals as a typical dyadic man, or cisgender man. I also continue to appear a racial minority, a person with autism spectrum disorder and a rare medical condition too. At one time I was also “too thin”, “too fat”, “too sick”, and also used a wheelchair and a cane. Needless to say, this life has taught me about the many shades of prejudice.
All these things that divide me from those of privilege in this world: my race, my intersex condition, and my medical problems, turns me into a person who is targeted and who has been harmed in countless ways.
When you say it does not matter, everything I have fought for, when battling for my human rights, is denied as a legitimate battle. When you say it doesn’t matter, you deny that I can no longer simply hold hands with my husband, or go out into this world a man with makeup and long hair, without worrying about haters, prejudice, or people turning me/us into hero(s). Sad to say, even the bathroom I use, is now an issue in my country. So many things touched by me being a minority with few civil rights.
My very fight to live was about becoming more than spirit. To be seen by this world who I truly am. When you say you do not care if I appear gay, a minority race, a gender non-conforming man, intergender, or an intersex person, you erase the battle I have had all my life.
This world tried to take away my true self. Please, don’t do me a favor by saying it doesn’t matter when you know this world divides us. The lack of laws to protect intersex babies, in all but just two countries, prove it.
Sad to say, for a person like me, things are still a battle in creating my/our civil and human rights. Please, don’t deny my battle, by denying your privilege. Instead, please validate my fight for human rights, love me gently for I have been hurt by this world.
Share my messages, and educate this world about people like me. It is ok to be a person of privilege. You have the power to change things, and I love you for caring enough to do so.
Here is the United Nations’ Intersex Fact Sheet
Here are ways Ways you can help: Brief Guidelines for Intersex Allies;
And you can become my Messenger. Thank you.
Although this article deals with race, the points that are made in it are good ones, and valid in understanding any minority: What White Children Need to Know About Race