At the end of every year, we tend to sit back and think about what the past year has brought. I personally like to think about what progress we have seen, what good has come of humanity’s interaction, and what we must do to improve ourselves. As we rapidly race toward the end of 2014, I have mixed feelings about the past 12 months.
In 2014, we saw issues that were once talked about in isolated social pockets and interest groups, become a very big part of the pop culture discussion. We saw a wave of progress on the same-sex marriage front, as pro-equality legislation swept across the United States. Close to my home, I attended a rally in Fredericton NB, Canada, to voice outrage over the denying of women’s rights by yet another provincial/state government. 2014 saw a seeming insurgence of outrage over injustice and persecution; and people took to the blogosphere, boldly speaking out against those responsible for continuing inequality and division. We learned a lot about ourselves this year. We learned that racism is still alive and as ugly as ever, that sexism and misogyny are very real problems, that rape culture must be faced and attacked head-on, and that the fight for LGBTQ+ rights is still rather young. It has been a good year, and I am happy that we have come this far. I am happy that we are collectively learning, and that we are expanding our knowledge in the fight for what is right. I feel like more and more of us are beginning to wake up, and I’m excited to be living in a time of change … but I have mixed feelings.
I recently had a revelation about us. While quietly reflecting on the reasons for which we’re divided, it suddenly occurred to me that our arrogance has gotten us into trouble. This problem of hubris is nothing new, but the idea that we, as a society, have moved past discriminatory attitudes has become extremely problematic. While the progress mentioned above does shed light on the work still to be done, many in positions of power have this idea that things are just fine. After all, slavery has been abolished, women have the vote, and LGBTQ people are allowed to exist – what more could we want? This arrogance, that we have reached the pinnacle of human development, has opened the door for misogyny, sexism, rape culture, and racial discrimination to grow unchecked. When rape happens, when domestic abuse happens, when LGBTQ people are attacked, we often act surprised. “How could this happen in this day and age?” The answer is simple: we got cocky and thought we were past it. We thought it couldn’t happen anymore. Unfortunately, the ideas behind all of those terrible things – the very ideas that allow them to happen in the first place – have never been dealt with. We abolished slavery, but we never dealt with the reasons for thinking we could own other human beings to begin with. We allowed women into the workforce, but we never dealt with the patriarchal system that runs the show. We are arrogant, and that arrogance has blinded us to problems that are getting worse, when they should be non-existent by now. Our arrogance has gotten us into trouble. This is why I have mixed feelings, but it has also motivated me to make change in my own advocacy. It has motivated Outspoken Ally to grow.
In the new year, Outspoken Ally is going to undergo a major overhaul. My reach is small right now. Outspoken Ally has precious few readers and followers, and I cherish each and every one of you. The words written on this site have made a difference to some of you, and that means the world to me. I couldn’t ask for anything more than that, it’s precisely what I hoped for when I began. That being said, I am confident in the message, and passionate about spreading it as far as it can go. 2015 is going to see change. In 2015, Outspoken Ally will strive to become more visible and more relevant. There will be a call for writers to start what will become known as “OA Blogs,” covering issues like living Trans, women’s perspectives and experiences, coming out, and other important topics. The tag line at the top of this page will be changed, and Outspoken Ally will adopt a new motto. A YouTube channel is already in place and waiting for content, not just for talk, but to add the dynamic of music and other forms of art to the discussion. 2015 will, I hope, be a year of change and growth for Outspoken Ally, and I look forward to your companionship on that journey. Let’s engage each other, let’s be loud, let’s be active, let’s spread the message … let’s have an Outspoken New Year!