Empowering Queer

James R. Koury

Empowerment is one of those catchwords we hear a lot about now. We read and hear about it from many self-help gurus, and others, that we must empower ourselves to achieve great things, and to dig deep within ourselves to find out how.

What exactly is empowerment? As per Google, it is “the process of becoming stronger and more confident, especially in controlling one’s life and claiming one’s rights.” That is all well and good, but the answer on how to become stronger and more confident in controlling one’s life and claiming one’s rights is much more elusive. If we add being LGBTQ or just simply “queer” into the mix, doing so becomes even much more challenging. Since Diversity Rules Magazine is focused on the issues impacting our queer brothers and sisters, I shall keep the focus of this essay on a particular aspect of empowerment – “Empowering Queer.”

For the purpose of this essay, I am simply going to use the word “queer” since it is the label with which I relate to the best. I know many within our community have an aversion to the word, since, to many, based on their age, it can be perceived as a derogatory slur. However, the word has been reclaimed by many and has been embraced as a positive description of who someone is and what they represent. I am one of those people. To me, the action of taking back a word that was once deemed derogatory, and to start using it affirmatively is one of the best ways to take the weapon of words away from those who wish to degrade, defame and relegate others to a less than desirable status. So if you are offended by the word “queer” and stop reading this essay because of it, then that is too bad. I suggest you keep an open mind and continue reading for a bit longer.

Empowering queer can be one, or both, of two things. It can be that which relates to queerness generally, as it relates to the broader population. It can also be that which relates to a particular queer person individually. I shall address both of these conditions.

We as a group must empower one another. In this day and age of Trump, and the extremism which goes along with the toxic man, and those who support him, it is up to all of us who relate to being queer to stand in unison with one another and work for our common good. Empowerment comes in numbers. There is something to be said about those within a minority group standing together with a common voice, expressing and demanding equality, fair treatment, and just all-around respect for each other as human beings on this planet Earth, our only home we have as a collective body of people. We are all in this crazy world together, so why not stand hand-in-hand to achieve benefit for the greater good, thus advancing the rights of not only a particular minority group but those of all who are oppressed and downtrodden? It really is the human thing to do.

Many that circulate around and about us seem to have lost their compassion for others, and the respect that goes along with it because of life-long prejudices, and fears that have been inflamed by the putrid man who sits in the White House. Racism, prejudice, and fear of others who are different have always been with us, but when there is a highly polarizing, and visible figure sitting in the White House spewing that which is related to the worst of our humanity, it, unfortunately, takes on the appearance of being a widely accepted paradigm of thought, instead of simply the hateful rantings of a despicable minority. This is unacceptable.

We must take a stand and renounce this false narrative being spewed by those who wish to do the queer community harm. It is doubly offensive when those within our own queer community support the forces that wish to inflict harm on our person and take away hard-fought rights. Additionally, silence and apathy toward the injustices of our world are just as fatal as if one took a knife to our heart and killed us. Our society needs to reject the forces of hate, degradation, humiliation, and all that which is grounded in the perception that some in our society have a greater right to the freedoms of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness than others they deem less worthy because of the darkness that resides in their hearts.

We must all become more aware of the evil around us, and work together to stop it in its tracks, for the benefit of the greater good. We must all work for the advancement of our human species to a higher plane of consciousness that is focused on people, their needs, and their happiness.

This brings me to the other part of the equation. The empowering queer which relates to actions that are more independently based, that advances the mental, spiritual, and financial well-being of each of us singly as the individuals we are. If we do not learn how to empower ourselves to achieve great things and to foster the respect we rightly deserve as the queer people we are, how on Earth can we expect to contribute and advance the greater queer good?

We are all born into a state of innocence, unfettered by the influences of other people’s opinions and actions. We are pure in the sense that all we have is that which is us. We do not see the faults in others, or their physical impairments, and any other attributes that are deemed less than acceptable by the adults that influence our lives as children.

Somewhere along the spectrum of life, we begin to allow the opinions of others to become our own. We start to lose our individuality in order to fit in with our peers or to not give an outward appearance of being different. We begin to be molded to society’s expectations of who we should be, how we should act, and function within the greater society.

If one is queer, the desire to then hide that aspect of ourselves becomes even more pronounced, especially if living in an environment where not being straight is perceived as a much less acceptable human condition. Self-doubt creeps in, and we begin to live within ourselves, and sequester who we really are until it is forgotten or becomes so shrouded, that it is not part of our human consciousness any longer. We fabricate a false façade which simply creates confusion and conflict. We become empowered by others and their thoughts and actions instead of that fueled by the soul forces residing within ourselves.

Sadly, many do not awaken to the power of self. They simply traverse life embodying the expectations of others, thinking it is their own individuality. Others, on the other hand, seem to awaken to the possibilities of going beyond the molded lives we created based on the perceptions of others. Something we read, someone we talk to provides the spark to get us thinking outside of that false façade. We become motivated to pursue knowledge that awakens the spirit within and begins to replace the fake selves we have lived with for so long.

Such an awakening can cause dramatic, and oftentimes traumatic reactions, throwing us deeper into confusion and uncertainty. We begin to reject the worldview that we have lived with for so long, and it can create serious psychological issues, some of which may result in a need to seek professional help to deal with. However, once this door of enlightenment to self has been opened, there is no turning back. The forces of self that have been locked away inside have been released, and it is the spark to individual empowerment that we all deserve to experience, in order to fulfill our life’s mission and to advance the greater good. Regardless of whether one is queer, straight, black, white, or whatever racial genre one is, or any form of gender non-conformance one may embrace, individual empowerment is the key that will unlock the answers we seek within the particular context of who we are physically or mentally in order to fulfill our life’s destiny.

In conclusion, be the empowering queer you need to be in order to empower queer and to further the cause of bettering not only your queer brothers and sisters but humanity, generally. Doing so will collectively improve our human condition and create respect for one another that we seem to be so lacking today.

We all deserve the best. We are all entitled to the fulfillment of our life’s destiny and purpose but only we ourselves, have the key to unlocking the door that will lead us on that path. No one else. Muster the courage and decide to turn the key and open the door to who you really are without hesitation or reservation, and any thought of the consequences for doing so. The only consequence of walking through the door to your own inner consciousness is that you become the better you that you deserve to be, and in turn, can help others around you become the person they need or desire to be.


1 thought on “Empowering Queer”

  1. Kudos. You’ve written a truly insightful article which I’ve read three times. With each careful reading I gained a different perspective on my own fears and prejudices. I realized that my words and actions were at times serving as barriers towards self-realization and self empowerment. Furthermore, I’ve not always empowered the queer community to which I proudly belong, and that’s a hard pill to swallow for a self-professed open-minded and Liberal gay man. This is not who I am. This is not who I want to be.
    Thank you for the empathy, wisdom, and strength. And, thanks for the kick in the ass I needed!

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