DEADLIEST OF SINS SPEECH — DAVID E. WATTERS
My message tonight is that Somehow in someway YOU are capable of great things.
This is not a time for silence but a time to take personal responsibility, to speak out and to share our humanity; because the most deadly of all possible sins is the mutilation of the spirit and YOU, as much as anyone, can influence real social change.
Harvey Bernard Milk, and others of his generation, fought for social progress with intelligence and creativity.
Harvey talked of breaking down the closet doors, yet for many these doors remain firmly locked; bolted both inside and out.
On the surface, it seems that society has grown more “accepting”, note the inverted commas, of the LGBT community but this, in itself, still suggests that “acceptance” is required, that we are “less than” and that our VALUE is based upon the judgment of others. (?)
ALL the “ism’s” still exist and, YES, ALL prejudices have equal importance, require of us to remain vigilant and ALL must be actively challenged.
Bigoted behaviour occurs in many different ways and can range, as YOU know, from subtle to malicious and even if Bigotry is, in theory, being addressed in the law, in policy and in procedure within schools and in the workplace, culturally the progress is much slower.
We must not allow ourselves to be defined and judged solely by sexuality or gender identity any more than we should be defined or judged by our cultural heritage, the colour of our skin, our profession, our income or even… our taste in music.
For us to effectively tackle any of the “isms”, we all must engage in actions which address discrimination and prejudicial attitudes in every area of our society; our schools and universities, our workplaces, our communities and our shopping malls.
Each and every one of us has an obligation to take responsibility for making our society safer, fairer and more inclusive and we should not rely on the good will and hard work of others to secure that just and equal society, whilst complaining that we ourselves are powerless.
Whatever YOUR strengths, whatever YOUR core character traits, there is something that YOU can do to influence change in the world.
It’s not about waving a placard or marching in a parade, unless that’s your style. Instead, it’s about finding the correct method of communication for YOU.
Sign that petition, tweet and retweet your views, repost a powerful YouTube video or an article you’ve found, Facebook or MySpace it, write to your MP, talk to, write to, email if you have to political leaders, police forces, health services, broadcasters and employers so that they too can all positively influence the way that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people are perceived.
We can no longer wait for another Harvey Milk to follow or rely on the Peter Tatchell’s of this world, the pioneers, the visionaries, to fight our fight; but instead must learn ways to be tenacious, tireless and determined advocates for social equality ourselves.
We must, ourselves, find the strength, resolve and determination to lead and influence the change we want to see, to bring hope to those who have none.
Somehow in some way we too can be capable of great things.
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