This blog originally appeared on Sarah On Purpose.
This post was inspired by a conversation I had a couple of weeks ago. It was written and scheduled for publication before there was a shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, FL. But now there has been a shooting. People are dead. Because of hate and the poisonous idea of exclusion, mothers will weep for their lost children. Children will cry out for their stolen parents. Friends and lovers will be separated and bear the burden of grief forever. The world is a sadder place, mourning the loss of these precious souls that were senselessly wiped out on June, 12 2016.
I don't consider myself a minority and I believe most of society would agree with me. I am a white, middle class, woman who stays at home with her kids. I'm privileged enough to ask questions like "What the heck are we going to have for supper tonight?" and then decide to order pizza.
One of the only times I can remember feeling like who I am prevented me from doing anything my heart desired was in a church that deemed "women can't be leaders because their highest calling is to be a mother."
I probably belong to "the majority." I've not really ever had to fight for a right. (Although I am aware that women all over the world are still fighting for equality.) I cannot recall a time when I have been looked down upon for the colour of my skin, my gender, who I married to or my economic worth.
My life has an incredible amount of freedom.
Yet I'm not entirely certain I would agree that the majority should always rule. This might be a hard concept to grasp in Canada or North America. We pride ourselves on democracy. I myself pridefully voted in the last federal election and I think we have a pretty good government in place making some much-needed changes in our policies and laws.
My political opinions are not the point of this post, however.
I've read articles on both sides of debates about the rights of minorities. The most recent topic being where transgender people should be allowed to pee. My instinct has been to deliberately steer clear of these arguments.
To be clear, I don't know anyone who is transgender (at least I don't think I do). My circle of friends tends to be people who are like me. Homeschool, stay-at-home moms. I don't have a single close friend who identifies as a minority. I feel under educated to talk about any of this. Because of that I am probably late to the party on this matter, but I will write anyway.
(In fact I may be offending someone right now with my ignorance. Please know, friend, this is not my intention at all.)
Recognizing the rights of minorities means that we include them more fully in the human race and extend our privilege to all people.
A common theme I have noticed on the against side of the argument is fear. The big what if on the tip of tongues.
"What if cisgender men pretend to be transgender so they can assault women in the women's bathroom?"
That is the big fear.
Honestly, I don't know the likelihood of this happening. I suspect it's quite low, though.
I also suspect transgender people don't want to use the bathroom of the gender they identify with to make other folks uncomfortable. Like any other human walking the earth, they want to be accepted for who they are.
Perhaps this is where we need to take a step back from our scarcity mentality. Stop looking at society and with eyes that ask how we can get a bigger piece of the pie. How can we hold on to the piece we have and hide it away so nobody else can access it?
Instead, let's realize that there are more than enough resources to bake another pie, and another. We have the privilege of sharing the pies.
When we see people's differences as their soul identity and deem ourselves as better than, more worthy than, tragedy strikes. Slavery happens, Holocausts happen, exclusion breeds hate.
It's my belief that recognizing the rights of minorities means that we include them more fully in the human race and extend our privilege to all people. We say welcome, we want you to belong.
It's fear that keeps us from embracing or even merely tolerating differences. It's fear that chases away love for our fellow humans.
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