Society’s rules are no secret and they have been ingrained in us since birth. These rules were not written by queer people and they were not written to help queer people. We already have our own history, culture, accomplishments, and peoplehood.
So why are we still abiding by someone else’s rules?
Our generation of queers finds themselves in a unique historical position. We have more societal acceptance and legal protections than ever before. We have the ability to communicate with one another in ways that we never have, making us truly a global entity. Yet it is still illegal to be gay in more than seventy countries. Seventy-five countries have laws prohibiting the right to change your gender identity. And amid this progress, queer hate crimes are on the rise in America and all over the world.
It is my dream that the queer community adopts a new set of rules.
A set of rules that centers what queer people have in common with one another. A set of rules that positions queer people as players on the same team. A set of rules that uses our hard-won progress as a road map to a brighter, more welcoming world. A world where coming out is less painful and where fewer of us cry in the bathroom alone. A world where governments are met with a colossal and unified global resistance when they try to murder their queer citizens.
I believe that the queer community can foster an environment where it is seen as cool, socially desirable, and even expected that we look out for one another. This new culture of united action would be a safety net in times of crisis. And in times of peace, it would ensure our community is a place of welcome, warmth, and joy. It will also ensure that we become and remain a safe haven for queer youth and newly out folks.
It is my dream that this attitude becomes a cornerstone of queer life, identity, and culture.
Let us be the standard of generosity and loyalty by which all other people aspire to meet. Let us be a nation that shines like the brightest star in a constellation, spreading light to all those around it.
It is my personal belief that this will be possible if we come to this simple understanding: queer people anywhere are responsible for queer people everywhere.
Excerpted from The New Queer Conscience, copyright © 2020 by Adam Eli
Illustration by Ashley Lukashevsky. Photo by Hunter Abrams.