The term “LGBTQ+ community” encompasses a lot of important words. It’s an acronym to encompass lesbian women, gay men, bisexual people, transgender people and queer people of other sexualities and genders than straight and cisgender; terms for sexualities and genders that are marginalized readily and often by the world at large. The most important word in the term, however, will always be “community.”
One of the most important tasks we have as members of our society is to form communities. In community we find friendship, safety and a commonality of experience.
For people of marginalized genders and sexualities, this is critical. As members of a minority group, queer people have been oppressed, imprisoned and killed because of facets of themselves they can’t control.
The importance of alliance and community among queer people is crucial. Without pulling together as a community, we are unable to fight for the rights and the justice we deserve. Individuals have power, but groups can be even more than the sum of that individual power. The power we hold as a group is the only way that we can effectively fight to be treated as human beings in a society that has been designed to exclude and exploit us.
Forming a community is not easy work, though. It’s easy to be dragged into the trap of alienating members of a community that you may not necessarily belong to by choice when the majority of society is telling you that belonging to that community is wrong. It’s easy to reject the community you belong to, because by doing so you stand to gain privileges from the majority. The temptation to say “oh, I’m not like those other queer people, I’m normal” is strong because of this incentive to get on the good side of the oppressive majority.
We are told by the straight cis majority that this is how we should act, that we should act “normal” and alienate ourselves from the “weird” or “bad” members of our community, and that by doing so we might become closer to the powerful majority. This is a tool used to pull us apart from each other, to divide us and to make our goals unreachable.
I urge any of you who belong to the LGBTQ+ community to put aside infighting in our community and to stick by each other, to form a community that is strong on its own without the need to borrow scraps from the groups that have maneuvered to put us at a disadvantage for our entire history.
There is a wonderful queer community at Pacific that I would like to invite any and all members of the LGBTQ+ community at large to join, and I encourage straight and cisgender allies of the community to turn out in support. Pacific’s Rainbow Coalition is the group that focuses on queer issues on campus, so stop by Rainbow’s table at the club fair or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like more details.