(Waymon Hudson for RedEye)
As we move quickly into the holiday season, where many of us will be spending more time with family and friends, it’s important to remember the impact we all can have on equality by simply telling our personal stories. As a reminder of the power that we all can have to change hearts and minds, I’ll be doing an ongoing series that highlights the power of short, simple messages of equality.
We’ve seen this impact firsthand. For example, when the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy was finally repealed, rather than just write about the discriminatory policy that kept the estimated 70,000 gay, lesbian, and bisexual personnel who are currently serving their country from being open in the military and that was responsible for over 14,000 discharges over the years, I thought it would be best to hear what the repeal means to the men and women serving… in their own words. The videos of people telling their own stories was incredibly moving, showing the real world impact and humanizing what some people may have thought was an abstract political issue.
Telling our stories makes these issues real and relatable.
You can see my own take on the importance of visibility and telling our stories, and the impact it can have on LGBT equality, in my essay featured on Encyclopedia Britannica about what I call the “Everyday Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”:
It sometimes seems easier to sit back, live your life, and not get involved. It is easy to feel like you have no role to play in the LGBT rights movement or to feel like your life isn’t making an impact. But you are wrong. Visibility is one of the driving forces behind the accomplishments we have made. You can make a huge impact on society and the fight for equality by simply living your life, openly and honestly. You can do this by making sure you aren’t living what I have come to think of as the everyday “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.
That’s why in this series, I’ll be highlighting people that have used new media, like youtube videos or blogs, to tell stories that have moved virally through the social sphere of influence to make an impact. Share these stories, use them as discussion points with those in your life, and suggest other videos that have moved you in the comments section.
The Telling Our Stories series highlights people that have used new media, like youtube videos or blogs, to tell stories that have moved virally through the social sphere of influence to make an impact. Share these stories, use them as discussion points with those in your life, and suggest other videos that have moved you in the comments section. Be sure to check out some of our other posts in the Telling Our Stories series:
This is a RedEye community blog. The views and opinions expressed in this post are solely those of the author and not those of RedEye or Tribune Company.