E. Winter Tashlin

Ravages & Progression of Time [PTAS]

Filed By E. Winter Tashlin | October 18, 2014 4:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: community, intolerance, progress, PTAS, timber point


Last weekend I had the pleasure of teaching two workshops for a National Coming Out Day conference hosted by The Society in Hartford, Connecticut:

"Out in the World" addresses the challenging process of transitioning from an especially LGBTQ affirming environment, such as a liberal university or region, to a less understanding place or situation. We talked about a variety of topics including the ongoing process of coming out, finding and interacting with medical providers, being LGBTQ in the workplace, building a family of choice, and how to balance issues of advocacy, safety, comfort, and living an authentic life.

"Living Outside the Box" is not an explicitly LGBTQ workshop, but touches on many areas of LGBTQ experience. This workshop looked at the multifaceted nature how we experience identities and/or belong to communities that can be seen by ourselves or others as being ideologically or materially incompatible.

It is easy to loose ourselves in "gayborhoods," whether actual places, or the LGBTQ corner of the web. The world outside remains a large and at times scary place. Who wouldn't choose associating with people on their own gender and/or sexuality journeys, over people who instead would deny us an equal place in society?

However, while America is rushing forward towards LGBTQ acceptance at a pace inconceivable a few years ago, with gains in marriage equality and trans visibility coming faster and faster, we need to remain conscious of the fact that what is only obvious and fair to us, is scary and new to many people.

In some ways, the dynamic is starting to flip between LGBTQ people and forces of intolerance in the US.

Throughout our history, we've been the ones forced to subjugate our identities to society's norms in order to move as comfortably as possible in the world. Instead, today we are starting to see opponents of LGBTQ equality being ostracized or left behind by American culture.

Beyond feelings of anger or bigotry, this rapid shift in circumstance must leave many wondering just when exactly things changed. I would never argue that we should accept anything less than full equality, but it's worth remembering that some of the opposition we encounter is born as much out of confusion in the face of a changing world as in deeply held hatred.

Lacking the necessary nautical background, I cannot for the life of me envision the considerable husk of the boat featured as today's photo back when it was whole and sturdy. So too, coming from a liberal background and having been out as gay for my entire adolescent and adult life, understanding the conservative anti-LGBTQ mindset is beyond me.

But just as one can accept that that shell was once a working boat, so too can we accept that many opponents of equality come from a different place and time, one that is quickly receding into history. Just as the progression of time will eventually reduce that boat to nothing but a memory, so too will generations to come look at anti-LGBTQ animus as a hard to imagine relic.

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