When was the last time you had a conversation with your children about homosexuality? When was the last time you had a conversation with friends or family about homosexuality? When was the last time you had a thought about homosexuality?
Do you support equal rights for all LGBTIQ people and think homophobia should be eliminated?
Do you know someone who identifies as LGBTIQ?
I can answer the last question for you – it’s a resounding YES!
For the second last question polls indicate that well over 65% of people support marriage equality so I’d expect about 2 out of 3 of you fall into that category.
In response to the other questions, unless you identify as LGBTIQ yourself or have a family member/friend who is perhaps you may not remember exactly when or you may have been hearing recent news of the referendum occurring in Ireland this weekend regarding marriage equality.
Why do I believe silence is the enemy? Simple – what we don’t speak about and acknowledge can at best halt progress or at worse spread damage leaving it to grow unseen like a disease. What can we do? It’s difficult yet it sounds so very simple. Speak up and react. Can it be so hard? Can it really be too hard to talk with your kids? Can it really be too hard to share your opinion with your friends? Can it be impossible to speak up when you hear discriminatory words, jokes or see discriminatory behaviour?
Your answers to these questions are so important, they can and will make such a difference. Take the opportunity to talk, no matter how small, take that chance. Your actions will have a positive effect for so many people. You can help people who may never be in a position to thank you however you can change lives, you can change the future and you can change the world. Without your action the discrimination and harm continues.
If you support equality, if you support equal rights and if you want discrimination and hate crimes to stop you need to speak up and react. The more of us who do this the wave of change will become unstoppable. It may be difficult at first but don’t let that slow you down, you’ll be surprised how wonderful conversations open up and as you find your voice you will be providing an example to others and help them find their voice. Without our combined voices discrimination and the trivialising of homophobic behaviour, as described in the excellent blog post linked here, continues unchecked.
Be the difference, speak up and react!
Copyright Adele Fisher 2015