We’re all still human in the end
Author Lauren Shiro, a self-identified short, Puerto Rican lesbian, reflects on the recent surge in discriminatory bills across the US.
Current political news has been scary to say the least. We have seen Arizona suddenly catapult itself back to the fifties. Mississippi, Kansas and Georgia have followed suit. Thankfully, Arizona’s Governor, Jan Brewer, vetoed the bill. The rest is still yet to be seen.
I am slightly more familiar with the bill in Georgia as we have some family members moving to Atlanta. From my understanding, that bill allows businesses to refuse goods and services to women, minorities and the LGBT community. Strike 3, I’m out.
Seriously? I’m all three of those. Somehow, all three labels, none of which I chose, cause me to be a “lesser” person. I’m not as important – or dare I say, human – as others. I did not choose my race. I did not choose my gender. I did not choose my orientation. All of those are encoded in my DNA. Whether it’s from biology, God or both, I had no say in the matter. But here I am, a short, Puerto Rican lesbian.
I gotta be honest. I hate labels. I hate being asked what my ethnicity is. I hate the shocked look I get when I talk about my wife. What difference does it make?
According to these new pieces of legislation, it makes a huge difference.
Being short, I do have a touch of the “Napoleon Complex,” feeling the need to prove myself. People literally look down on me. So, I feel driven to show them that I am their equal, even at my height.
Being a woman, I feel the need to prove my worth. I grew up with a Puerto Rican father who made no bones about telling me that I was not as important as my brother. Girls were expected to learn to serve the men in the family. The stories I have heard about the life my paternal grandmother led are tragic. I needed to prove my father wrong. I still do.
So, when I see legislation like these, I get pretty miffed. I have fought to prove my humanness, my equality for pretty much my entire life. I wish to God that I could run up to the politicians disguised as a white man – one of their own. I want to tell them my stories. Have them hear my triumphs and tragedies. Have them acknowledge my humanity, since I appear to be akin to them. But then show them who and what I really am. To show them that as a gay Puerto Rican woman, I truly am no different than they.
It’s so sad and so scary to see our country entertaining these archaic ideas. Suddenly, segregation rules the land and women are property, not people. This backlash is arguably one of the worst in recent history. However, as the amazing Gloria Steinem once said, “But, that's because there is a backlash against all the great social justice movements, and if we hadn't had a front lash we wouldn't now, be having a backlash.” Yes, we have had an amazing front lash. We have seen the number of states that allow marriage equality double. We have seen state after state dismiss bans on gay marriage because they are unconstitutional. We have made progress – tremendous progress.
My hope is that these backward steps only serve to be the political laughing stock of the twenty first century. No matter what your height, your color, your gender/gender identity, religion, orientation or otherwise, we’re all still human in the end.
Lauren Shiro is an author of contemporary and LGBT fiction. Her stories are of love with no boundaries: love is truly blind to both color and gender. These are stories of regular people in real situations. Her books are sure to touch your heart and remain with you long after you've finished them. Lauren resides in Rochester, New York with her wife and their menagerie of furry and feathered friends.