We Are Not Alone

Anonymous UserPersonal Stories

As long as I can remember, I’ve been “that person.” You know – the one you call for a ride when you’re wasted. The one who actually shows up to help you move. The one you can open up to and discuss anything. The one who can’t shut up about injustice when it is clearly more convenient to go with the flow and appease everybody else around them. The one who gets royally pissed off when they see others mistreated…usually because they’ve suffered too, and they don’t want anyone else to hurt like they have.
I can’t tell you how many times I got pushed down and laughed at by other kids in middle school for the way my hearing loss affected my speech. How many times I got called “that dyke” or “that queer deaf b***h” in high school because I realized I was attracted to women too. How many times I’ve been told by men that the only reason I was a feminist is because I was too ugly to be their specific sexual object. How many times I got introduced as “the best friend” to the mother of a woman I’d been dating for months because it was otherwise too risky. How many times I got told I just needed to “pick a gender to attract to” and stick with it. How often I considered suicide. How easy it was to lose hope for being different in a town that automatically tells you you’re “less than” if you’re not straight, if you have a disability, if you’re a woman, if you’re [insert stacking minority status here].
Unsurprising, then, that I wound up in a career that dedicates itself to helping others. When the Keep M-130 Campaign began working to stay the LGBT anti-discrimination ordinance in Texarkana, Arkansas, I realized I wasn’t the only forward-thinking, equality-minded person in town. Other people cared too. I wasn’t by myself here! Other people wanted to see each other succeed regardless of their skin color, disability status, gender identity, or sexual orientation, and were willing to work in the advocacy field to make it happen. Soon after, although the M-130 ordinance was unfortunately repealed, Equality Texarkana was formed out of the desire to keep working, to continue to give voice to these issues, and to continue to lend an advocate’s hand to those who have felt the sting of discrimination for no reason other than existing.
Having worked for a nonprofit before in my career field, I cannot tell you how impressed I am that this organization has come together so quickly with so much talent. Truly, this group is driven to answer its community’s needs, and I for one am happy to have found them. Not only just to help out and share in working toward a better Texarkana, but to also be reminded that I’m not alone, my friends are not alone, and that this time, there are going to be supports here for anyone who needs them.