Outweek 2012

It’s UBC Pride’s Outweek 2012!

Have you ever felt as though you do not belong to a group? Felt afraid to be yourself? Felt the need to be someone else in order to be accepted?  Have you ever found yourself in meaningful friendships or relationships while feeling you must not let others know?  Have you ever asked:

“Why can’t I be accepted for who I am?”

But take a moment and just think.  Have you ever made comments (intentionally or unintentionally) about people’s gender or sexual orientations, the ways their bodies are, their cultural and/or religious practices, or about their backgrounds such as ethnicity and nationality?

Being a part of Vancouver and UBC – places recognized as embracing diversity and multiculturalism – it is undoubtedly hard for us to admit that we all have certain stereotypes and prejudices attached to the back of our minds.

We can do something about this.  We can take the time to consider how our thoughts, our comments, and our actions impact the lives of those around us.

There are so many things in our lives that are going well that we often take for granted.  Consider yourself lucky if you are a student – at least you are getting education; if you are working – at least you have a job; you enjoy time with friends – at least you have them in your life.  Others can be struggling to live on a daily basis. And I am not even referring to poverty, homelessness or other dire issues that are realities across the globe.  I am referring to fellow students, friends or strangers who sit next to you in class, who walk around the campus struggling with what to do or how to deal with issues beyond assignment or midterms.

I’m talking about issues that we encounter HERE and label with: sissy, nuts, bitch, pussy, psycho, dope, gay, bimbo, burnt rice, bananas etc.

These terms may come easily out of our mouths.  Perhaps not so much if we have personally experienced the hurt of stereotypes and prejudices in a one way or another.  Regardless, we are all capable of hurtful words.  Sometimes, even when we think we are very cautious, we are unaware of the fact that certain things we say can be offensive in many ways to different people.

This is why I want to tell you about UBC Pride and Outweek 2012.  It’s an important reminder to embrace and support every individual marginalized by society for being gay, lesbian, queer, etc.

We can’t simply change the world by thinking about stereotypes and prejudices. However, there is the chance that we when we restrain ourselves from using certain labels, we may be giving people opportunities to come to terms with who they truly are; to be ALIVE by being who they are.

What we say matters.  It can open up or close off a world of possibilities for those around us.

It begins with you and me.

I am passionate about embracing individuals for who they are. How about you?

Ahrthyh

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