Saturday, April 4, 2015
Dear Christians: I Don't Want Your Tolerance
I disagree with the religious right on… well, just about everything. But if there’s one thing I will agree with them on, it’s that the word “tolerance” is thrown around too much with little regard to what it means. In fact, it comes as a surprise to a lot of people at first, but I really honestly don’t want tolerance, least of all from the religious right. And that really has to do with what tolerance really means.
Let’s look at a different form of the word, let’s look at the verb, when you “tolerate” something. I can’t really think of a situation in which saying you tolerate something has been good. In fact, just typing it into google brings up two definitions. “allow the existence, occurrence, or practice of (something that one does not necessarily like or agree with) without interference.” And “accept or endure (someone or something unpleasant or disliked) with forbearance.”
All the existence of? How low of a standard do you need to go to to say “At least let us exist”? We (The LGBT community) don’t need to have anyone’s permission to exist! And the second definition isn’t much better. To accept or endure and it’s something unpleasant or disliked. Essentially, pushing for tolerance is saying “Let us exist, and just deal with us, even though you don’t want us to exist.”
And then next the religious right declares the “liberals” and “progressives” are hypocrites for not tolerating them! And you know what, they’re right on one thing. We really don’t tolerate them. And that is what is so awesome about the left. Why should we tolerate them? I definitely don’t want to tolerate them!
This seems strange at first but let’s dig deeper. First of all, I am not saying that we should kill the religious right or outlaw it or anything like that. But should we seek to totally remove and destroy it as a system? Hell yeah we should! And we should do it through education and fighting back. And why?
Well tell me, why should we as the LGBT community tolerate a system that seeks for us to be gone? Why should be tolerate a system that has directly led to so many hardships in our lives? Why should we tolerate an abusive system that causes damaging “therapy,” parents to abandon children, innocent LGBT folk to be murdered, and extremely high rates of suicide? In what insane world should we allow that just in the name of being tolerant?
The truth is, when we tolerate the religious right, we’re not much better than them. When we tolerate them, we are saying “Well I don’t like it, but I’ll allow you to cause pain and suffering to millions of people.” How many times has the phrase “The only thing needed for evil to prevail is for a good person to do nothing” been said? We cannot sit back and be complicit with a system that is demanding to remove our existence, for a system that is literally destroying us.
And religious right, I don’t want your tolerance either. Not because I don’t want you to allow me to exist, but because it’s the most passive aggressive form of acceptance. The only difference between what you’re doing now, and tolerance, is with tolerance you’d shut up about it. But you still wouldn’t like me. You still wouldn’t like my existence. You still would want a system that destroys me.
The only thing I want is acceptance. I want to be welcomed. I don’t want people to just passive-aggressively “allow” my existence, I want people to be glad I and all other LGBT+ folk exist! I want my existence to be celebrated! I want our existence to be a no-brainer, like a “Well duh, of course you’re allowed to exist.” I don’t want your passive-aggressive BS excuse for barely allowing me to exist. I don’t need your permission to exist, and I don’t want it. Either are totally for my existence, or you are against it. And if all you can muster is tolerance, I know exactly which one you are.