Art by Peau Porotesano
Love is love is love. How often does that need to be said? It is 2018, surely the world would know this by now and be accepting and loving of all members of our community. Unfortunately, this is not the case.The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) recently published a study conducted by the Harris Poll, and picked up by many other LGBTQ+ news sources, showing a decrease in acceptance and an increase in reports of discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community in the United States.
In a country that claims to be forward and progressive, LGBTQ+ groups are seeing a regression to homophobia and hate. Based on the data presented by GLAAD, America is moving away from progress to return to the days of LGBTQ+ witch hunts, the days in which people like Matthew Shepard were beaten to death for being different.
To combat this loss of acceptance, the United States and its people should look to education and personal growth to become more accepting, loving, and positive to the LGBTQ+ community.
Here are a few things that anyone can do to create a positive change in themselves and in the world around them. On a personal level, people can think back on their lives and look for things that need change or are problematic. Perhaps people are interested in learning about the LGBTQ+ community because they have thoughts that are negative or need changing. Perhaps they want to meet a new community, to make diverse friends or to have a safe space to ask hard questions. Either way, never be afraid to ask questions, to grow, and to change. Whether it’s just growing to be more comfortable with the LGBTQ+ community or growing to be an advocate for them, all growth is good growth.
Promoting change in friend groups is a harder thing to accomplish. An important step in this is to deconstruct hateful dialogue and push others to stop and consider what they are saying. Why are jokes being made at the expense of a marginalized community? How can groups speak more kindly and with more consideration? Along with this, education is the “next step” in this mission.
Education about the LGBTQ+ community will humanize them and hopefully provide a new perspective for people. Knowledge is power, and without knowledge, people cannot grow. Encourage growth and encourage questions, never shame the search for answers. People can visit websites like GLAAD, The Trevor Project, and even LGBTQ+ media such as the Queer Voices from the Huffington Post for news and information in this regard.
What can be done at Pepperdine? Well, the easiest thing is to visit and meet the students of Crossroads, the LGBTQ+ student club at Seaver College. This club is meant to create community and encourage questions about any range of topics. Not sure if a question, word or phrase is rude or hurtful? Come and ask us without fear of reprisal. Come visit to meet people, to learn new things and find a new space to grow in. Meetings are biweekly, so contact us on our Facebook or search @peppcrossroads on Facebook.
By teaching the world to love, to learn and to change, it will begin to model a better, more positive perspective for others to mirror and follow. And come to a Crossroads meeting! We are always looking to make new friends and build up our community. And always remember: It’s on us to create change, positivity and love.
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