My Soapbox on Shaming

I am just so excited for certain things in this world that don't directly have an effect on me.

source: irish times

First, as you may have heard, Ireland had a vote on the 22nd of May that proposed to add this brilliant amendment to their constitution:

"Marriage may be contracted in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex."

Guys. That's big. It means a lot of fabulous things (pun not originally intended but I'll leave it in there).

The second is something that honestly means very little to me but I know that it means the world to so many people afraid to speak up, and that is Bruce/Caitlin Jenner's transformation. Honestly, I was worried after the original Diane Sawyer interview that it seemed very out of the blue and, due to her association with the Kardashian family, it seemed almost like a publicity stunt. Then I started reading statements from ex-wives saying that it was always something they knew about but just kept quiet, so I accepted that maybe the timing was more coincidence than anything.

Now that the Vanity Fair cover has been revealed, completely overshadowing Kim's baby announcement (is it bad that I feel a bit of social justice just happened?)--- and she's fabulous. It's real, and it's awesome.

All that being said, there's something I've been thinking about a lot lately. R and I have had multiple conversations about it, and while we don't agree on everything here there's a general thought that's the same.

62.7%. That's great. However, it means that 37.3% voted no. Honestly, had it not been for Dublin the vote would have been much more 50/50. I'm not saying this to imply that the Irish are still about half stuck in the stone age, instead the complete opposite.

The people behind the "no" campaign were very vocal about some very incorrect misconceptions on the effects of the referendum. However, not everyone who voted "no" has those specific reasons in mind. Some voted no because they didn't feel Ireland was quite ready for a constitutional amendment and some voted that way because they were afraid of the implications it could have in the future for their religious sanctions among a myriad of other reasons. Just because someone voted no doesn't mean they hate progress and it certainly doesn't mean they're homophobic.

Most of all, it doesn't mean they should be shamed for feeling the way that they feel, no matter where it comes from. 

Why am I seeing so many people condemning those who think differently than they do in the name of equality and understanding? Assumptions are being made, insults are being thrown, and all to say, "I believe that everyone has the right to believe their beliefs, but because yours aren't the same as mine yours don't count."

I saw it after the results were in, when it was announced that a pretty rural area, Roscommon/South Leitrim, were the only ones to vote "No" and only by about 51%. Immediately the message went from "yay equality" to bashing of the area as a whole. Seriously? I completely expected a "well, hey, it's incredibly impressive that we got 49% in such a conservative area... well done!" but witnessed the complete opposite.

Ironically, the news about Caitlin Jenner came the same way. The only negativity I've seen is those criticising people for using the wrong gender pronoun, when even those in the know are struggling to keep up with what she prefers. For the record, while it was Bruce she preferred "he" but now that she's made the physical transition she prefers "she" but that was just announced in Vanity Fair. Why are we attacking the people who just haven't caught up yet?

The effort now should be put into showing the love and understanding that we preach. It should be put into educating others on the distinctions between actual and perceived implications of change, and most importantly promoting acceptance and patience with those who can't quite grasp the difference.

Change is hard, even when it's positive, and we should all be in this together.