A slogan made popular during the heights of the AIDS epidemic in the1980s is as relevant today only in a slightly different way.
Maybe our queer elders foreshadowed events to come or history only repeats itself more than we cafre to admit. Either way, our silence is exactly that, our death. Each day we stand witness as this comes closer and closer to reality. Sure you may be sitting there thinking “This Chicken Little has gone off the deep end,” but I challenge you to look at the world around us. Here are just a few things going on in our world today, in case you missed them.
The children are our future
On Thursday, March 10th, the Idaho House of Representatives passed legislation that will put parents, who help their transgendered children who seek proper medical care, in jail. Simple as that. It doesn’t just stop with healthcare in Idaho, it will make it a felony for parents to take their kids outside of Idaho state lines to receive this needed medical care. This is the very healthcare that every major medical authority in this country recommends. But, if parents follow this advice, they will end up with a life in prison sentence and have their kids removed from their custody.
In 2020, a study conducted showed that 3 million children (4% of the child population) lived without a biological parent(s). That number grew by 1 million since a similar study in 1968. Okay, maybe that number doesn’t surprise you so here is a comparison. In 2019, the population of Chicago was 2.71 million people. Imagine a city the size of Chicago that was only children and now you see how many are without parents. The total population of Idaho is 1.3 millions people and an estimated 400,000 children under the age of 19 will be put into foster care or some other type of care by this bill.
Idaho is not the only state that has this type of legislation, Texas is working on a bill that will label parents as abusive for allowing their kids to seek this kind of treatment.
The sky is falling
On NASA’s twitter page, you can see the tagline of “There is space for everybody,” do they truly believe that? We all grew up with the idea that NASA or any scientific group should be above the petty ideals of day to day life. They are supposed to know that all things are equal, as we all are from the same species and genus. NASA is the driving force for finding answers to the cosmic questions we all have and are supposed to look beyond the outside differences to what links us as commonalities.
If this is the case then why would this organization be doing some of the things they are getting away with?
Take for example March 2021, NASA named a satellite afterJames Webb. Here is some insight into Mr Webb, if you don’t know who he is. Webb was appointed to NASA and oversaw it from the Kennedy administration until the end of the Johnson administration. Webb was in charge of NASA during a period that was called the Lavender Scare.” During this period, hundreds of people were systematically removed from NASA for believing to be LGBTQ. This came on the hills of the communist scare, as both were seen as subversives to the American government. It would seem that NASA and its administration chose to overlook this travesty to name a satellite the James Webb Space Telescope. Named after a man with such a limited range of vision seems at odds with something that is supposed to peer into the depths of the cosmos to study history and look to the future of mankind.
That, however, is not the end of things NASA has done to its LGBTQ personnel.
Just a few short weeks ago, 125 employees of NASA opted in for a program that would allow them to add their pronouns to the company directory, logins for virtual meetings, and more. It was added as a means to make ALL people feel comfortable and not have to out themselves at every meeting. Shortly after, NASA’s ERG (employee resource groups) received an email stating that the ability to add those much needed pronouns would soon end. On Monday, March 7th, a meeting titled “The use of IT Systems for Gender Pronouns” was called. Employees were advised that this was a “no recording allowed” meeting and were told that pronoun additions had been part of a temporary program that was no longer being supported.
NASA officials stated that they could not determine the appropriateness of allowing the additions of pronouns to employee profiles of virtual meeting logins. They went further to say that they “couldnt spare any resources for this initiative.”
It would seem that there is space enough for everyone as long as you are not of the queer people.
Don’t say “GAY”
By now we have all seen the memes circulating the interwebs with the statement of “Don’t say Gay” and are fully aware of just how, more, backwards this makes Florida appear. In case you aren’t fully aware of where this came from or why, here is a quick recap. Florida recently passed a bill that would prevent schools from discussing sexual orientation or gender identity in classrooms of Florida’s primary schools. This bill has already passed Florida’s House and is currently on its way to their Republican Governor Ron DeSantis, who already champions this bill.
We are watching as the world around us is fighting for the liberty of its people. As Americans, we are standing behind our brothers and sisters in Russia and the Ukraine in support of their liberty. However, in our own country we are, currently, championing the liberties of our very own citizens, a “do as I say and not as I do” moment. This very bill is an assault on the freedom of speech and will limit the right of education to so many children who need and want to hear that they are just as much a part of the world as our heterosexual cisgendered counterparts. A staggering fact is that 42% of LGBTQ youth considered suicide in the last year. The passing of this bill only adds to the burden many of them feel as not belonging to anyone or thing, to being the abomination that we are called on a daily basis.
“This is going to endanger the safety of our LGBTQ students and adolescents,” state Sen. Annette Taddeo (D) said during Tuesday’s debate. “We will not stop until this state moves forward and actually values everyone in it, everyone no matter their sexual orientation.”
This very bill will limit the much needed guidance from teachers that children often lean on in finding their way in life. Of understanding the hard times they are going through.
Chasten Buttigieg, husband of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, is the person who started the movement that urges people to say the word “gay”, act gay, and support LGBTQ programming in all media as much as we all can to show the world just how archaic this bill is. To rage against those that would opt to silence those who want to see democracy and our Constitutional given rights taken away from a group of people.
Floridian families have been called on to speak out against this bill and to push influential businesses like Disney to champion the removal of this “Don’t say Gay” bill.
Disney, who has the annual “Gay Days” and pushes their Pride merchadise line at us every change they can get, have been silent on this matter. What wasnt kept silent was how Disney had been seen donating money to the GOP sponsors of this bill. Furthermore, Disney has quoted as telling their Pixar division to not make any kind of content that appears to be leaning towards LGBTQ, in any way. CEO Bob Chapek released an internal memo to PIXAR employees stating that he stood behind LGBTQ employees but would not take a public stand against this bill. We have seen Disney take a stand on the war in the Ukraine by removing releasing of Disney films in Russian, while here in our own country, they refuse to take any public stance.
In response to PIXAR employee’s feelings, Chapek offered to donate $5 million dollars to LGBTQ rights organizations. A donation that many have asked to be put on hold until an official response against the “Don’t say Gay” bill has been made to Folirda’s Governor. It would see that this sentiment has finally caused Chapek to want to sit down with Gov. DeSantis ti discuss how he can prevent his bill from being weaponized against LGBTQ people. I would say, IMO, that his bill is engineered to already be weaponized. Chapek and Disney have enough money and influence in Florida that they could enact their own kind of sanctions against the state, much like they have done against Russia for the crimes against humanity this invasion into the Ukraine is causing.
Silence equals death
We, as American citizens, have been convinced that we are powerless in the affairs of our country, states, and government. It was once said that the government should fear its people, a statement that has long since been forgotten. Maybe it is time that we remember that we are the ones that have the power to affect change in our country. Our very choice of where we spend our money and time has a massive impact on how things work. It is time that we understand that if we choose to spend our money and time with companies, organizations, businesses, and people who believe that all people are equal and deserve the same rights, those very entities will have to make changes or be forced into extinction.
Words and actions have far more power than simply bills enacted by politicians and agencies who value monetary gains over the lives and liberties of the people they claim to support. We were given a voice to be used and heard, keeping silent only ensures death – death of freedom, of idealties, and, in the end, our very selves. Speak out to live, act out to force change, and be the change that you want. It is time for us to take back our power.