How I became radicalized (and so can you)

Many people are angry, and they don’t know what to do. They feel betrayed by the bigotry that they forgot is so widespread in our country. They feel betrayed by the fellow Americans who refused to turn out and vote. They feel betrayed by a system that allows a candidate with the second-highest vote count win the election. They feel betrayed by a media that treated a candidate who lies (about his past) and cheats (the IRS) and steals (from employees he never paid) and demeans (women and immigrants) as though he were “just another option” in a game of electoral football.

They feel betrayed and they want to fight back… but they don’t know how.

I know how I’m going to fight back. I’ll become the right-wing’s worst nightmare. I’m going to become a radical.

How will I do that, you ask?  This is what I’m going to do….

I’m gonna be really gay.

I’ll act gay in public, whenever I want. I’ll do it with cheer and boisterous energy! I will greet my male friends with hugs instead of handshakes, and I will call men who piss me off “bitch”. I will hold hands with whomever I want, whenever I want. When co-workers are talking about their partners and spouses, I will talk about mine–and I will make no effort to hide his gender.

I’m going to donate to gay causes, and go to gay events. I’ll support gay businesses and gay media, and volunteer to help gay charitable organizations.

Mind you, this is all stuff that I’ve already been doing… but now, in light of the upcoming Trump presidency, I going to turn the volume up to 11.  I’m going to be me, but louder, happier, and more blatantly than before.

You know what else?

I’m gonna be really, really atheistic.

I’m going to say “gesundheit” instead of “God bless you” when people sneeze. I’m going to wish people “happy holidays” or “merry solstice” for the next couple of months. I’m going to wear stuff with Satanic symbolism on it, because that is my religion: I am a Satanist, which means that I reject the superstition of theistic religions and have a moral system founded on compassion, rationality and humanism.

I’ll donate to the ACLU and to Planned Parenthood. I’ll actively rally for and spread the word about the campaigns of The Satanic Temple to promote the separation of church and state.

I won’t berate people, and I won’t pick theological fights just for the sake of fighting. I’m far too cheery a person for that. But I won’t hide my beliefs, and I won’t lie about the name of my religion or about my moral code. What this really means is that I’m going openly and fearlessly be myself.

And in fact, I may just let loose and be…

….super-duper liberal in every possible way.

I mean, I’m talkin’ annoyingly liberal. I’m going to do super-radical stuff that will blow the minds of stereotypical “Trump supporters”.

Really wild shit, you know?

Like using the pronoun “xe” when the gender of the subject of the sentence doesn’t have any bearing on the meaning of the sentence. Or giving clothes at a baby shower that don’t in any way signal what the possible present or future gender of the baby might be.

Some wild and crazy shit, man….

 


 

Some people are going to read the above and (correctly) understand that it’s tongue-in-cheek, because none of the things I’ve mentioned is particularly “radical” in the greater scheme of things.

Yet this is a crucial point: sometimes just being yourself is radical. It’s one of the ways a person can fight for a movement. I recently wrote an article about my friend Osama, who told me that, as a gay atheist immigrant from the Middle East, his style of activism is to be the best possible version of himself, and expose other people to that.

Of course, different people react differently, you should be an activist in the best way that you know how. I’ve never thought of myself as a radical before, although I respect radicals a great deal and value the important place they have in history and the fight for social change.

But in light of certain recent events,  I’ve decided that I do want to be a radical… at least in my own way. For me, being a radical means going joyfully out into the world to be the colorful, quirky, queer, pagan, aberrant, rebellious, crazy, counter-cultural individual that I am, and living that life for all to see.

Not by being angry, but by being myself… and cranking it up to 11.

That’s my way of being a radical, and I invite you to do it with me.

Let’s show the world that the United States is our United States.  It is diverse, it thrives on diversity, and there is nothing that anyone (not even President Trump or his supporters) can do to change that.

 



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  1. Zeke Krahlin says:

    In that context, I’m imagining Jews being more “Jewish,” blacks being more “blackish” and Asians being more, well, “Asian.” Being an obnoxious stereotype of your own self identity, is an approach that I don’t think will succeed. However, I bring up gay issues all the time w/o playing out a stereotype…and now I’m socially isolated, even from my gay brothers and sisters. It’s like even the queers wanna play straight, except in LGBT designated events or hangouts. And live right in the heart of the heart of Gay Mecca! Anyways, here’s a recent article I wrote regarding the transsexual bathroom issue:

    http://zekeblog.wordpress.com/2016/04/30/its-the-restrooms-stupid/

    • Greg Stevens says:

      “In that context, I’m imagining Jews being more “Jewish,” blacks being more “blackish” and Asians being more, well, “Asian.” Being an obnoxious stereotype of your own self identity, is an approach that I don’t think will succeed.”

      Maybe, maybe not. In some sense, it’s not only a way of fighting blatant homophobia from conservative Republicans, but also fighting the “anti-sissy” / “masc-for-masc” tendencies within the gay community. The last two decades has seen gay rights proceed with a push to get non-gay people to see that gay people “can be normal” … which, of course, had the side-effect of further demonizing gay people who didn’t conform to that “normal” image. We need to move the pendulum back again, to the queer activists of the 60’s and 70’s, the one who said: gays deserve rights and respect not because they are NOT “sissies” (or whatever) but even if they are.

      So in that context, being an “obnoxious stereotype” is absolutely a way to fight back. It’s a way to fight back against the out-group hate and the in-group backlash against queerness and difference. A way to fight back against normativity and to say that being different needs to be acceptable and accepted in all of its forms. It’s A way… not “the only way” or “the best way”. It’s not desirable or right for everyone, and I wouldn’t dream of telling people how they SHOULD protest or fight back against the system.

      But is it a type of activism to be a fag that dresses more femininely and wears makeup? To be an African American with a big afro and a “Black Power” t-shirt? (Etc)? Of course it is. And I think it’s absolutely critical that people who want to express themselves in this way do it visibly. Invisibility is one of the worst and most sinister forms of oppression…. and anyone who tells you that you will be accepted if only you “act normal” will never, ever really accept you.

      At least, that’s my opinion… and the reason I think this approach is meaningful and worthwhile.

    • Greg Stevens says:

      P.S. I really like that blog article on restrooms. I’d love it if you leave that link as a comment to my article about the bathroom issue, as well:

      http://gregstevens.com/2016/05/25/laws-relating-bathroom-birth-certificates-people-safer/

      Thanks.

  2. plans says:

    Well, I guess the rest of the world, and especially Trump, will get very upset for your actions, lol…

    And it’s interesting that you criticize the election system now that results haven’t gone your way. If you had won, the system would be great, wouldn’t it?



Pings to this post

  1. […] him, and I spoke out repeatedly in opposition of him. I’ve written about how I will be a radical activist in opposition of the social and cultural values that he represents. I have shared the story of my […]

  2. […] any way. Osama has been an inspiration to guide me in my own reaction to Trump’s victory, as I’ve written in another article. I’m sharing this because I hope you can feel inspired as […]


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