The Q advice column digs into two situations that illustrate just two ways that changing others is not only impossible but also not our job, and why we can't save everybody.
It's tough to learn we can't save everybody, as solid as the motivation may seem.
We meet two local queer conundrums head on this week with questions, and resulting answers, that you might not expect at first glance.
I’m a liberal queer with friends and family on both sides of the political aisle. I'm proud of my rural Georgia roots, but I'm in my 20s now living in the Big City, and I try to educate my rural, straight Republican friends back home since they aren't as aware of the affects that Trump & Co. have on to the gays that they "love watching on TV."
Believe it or not, I’ve actually made some headway. My frustration actually comes from queer acquaintances in the ATL.
Several I find out actually voted for the bastard, others chose not to vote, even knowing how much older generations fought for us to have basic rights.
How can I help change this? How do I interact with these people? Should I continue to engage with them at all? What can I do to ensure my rights stay intact?
Did you notice the difference between your description of the folks back home and people you know here? It’s the word “friends.” Among the pros of friends vs. acquaintances is the ability to have substantive discussions that go somewhere.
The opinions of other randoms are none of our business – even when they spout them daily on social media. Just as it is a mistake for them to think they can change our minds about politics, we owe them the same courtesy. Letting go of the responsibility you feel to sway their wrongheaded views will set you free.
Once your head is clear about your role, you are under no obligation to interact with these people, and if you are cornered, you have the option to engage politely, change the subject, or to walk away. All those choices are signs of maturity.
If these seeming oxymorons are also your friends, talk to them the same way you do your straight buddies back home – with patience and open ears. They’ll hear you better if they feel heard as well.
None of this is to say you can’t or shouldn’t do anything for ongoing LGBTQ rights fights. Changing hearts and minds of the people in your circle of influence is a worthwhile choice on your part. The time and energy spent inside that circle can be more effective than taking on relative strangers outside it.
There are gay Democrat and Independent groups, as well as queer-inclusive political organizations. They would welcome your activism and advocacy on their behalf – and your own.
A gaggle of Gwinnet gays from high school has decided I’m the odd bitch out. A couple of them were my friends once, and a couple more weren’t even out yet when we graduated.
All of us moved to Midtown in the last three years, and for some reason they hate me. I’d like to say I don’t care, and I do have other friends, but it hurts to see them having a “home team” with me ostracized.
Dear Sadface Emoji:
As if high school angst weren’t enough drama and disappointment back in the day, these people have decided to drag it out and snare you into playing along. Don’t let them.
What would be nice about old-school connections is having them to support each other. In this case, it sounds like you’re better off without them.
Since the only one you can change is yourself, let go of their hold over you and move on. At your age, any or all of them could grow up someday and see their errors, and that would be great, but waiting around for that possibility hurts no one but you.
The Q is for entertainment purposes and not professional counseling. Send your burning Qs to [email protected].
Illustration by Brad Gibson.
This column originally appeared in Q magazine. Read the full issue below, and pick up a new edition each week.