There is a thread going on in Sayoni (Sayoni account needed) about our chosen causes (perhaps besides gay rights, which is a collective issue for us) – what issues we are passionate about, and might work to make a difference in. People are listing everything from animal rights to censorship to world hunger, talking about why a particular cause matters to them.
Perhaps it is just in my blood, but I’ve never really been able to remain apathetic to things. I can’t just sit back and say, “That’s not my business”. I’ve been feminist for as long as I can remember, and darn proud of it. I was already sympathetic to gay rights way before I came out to myself, and that is perhaps what helped propel me into the queer activism world barely a year after that. In my lifetime, I’ve worked for an assorted 10 or so causes at one point or another, including community service in school. I was in Red Cross in secondary school, so you can imagine the number of hours I spent begging on the streets and knocking on doors asking for donations.
I believe in many causes, such as world hunger, civil rights, equality, environmentalism, children’s rights, [insert cause here]. I respect there are many causes, niche and otherwise, but obviously I don’t care for all of them equally or spend time on. and My life in the past two years has been concentrated on queer rights and HIV/AIDS [I stopped working for AFA recently when school started.] Two causes, according to parents, which aren’t important. They rather me be an environmentalist, or someone who is helping out with world hunger, or poverty. They go for the big-picture causes. [Not that they actually do anything about it – they would rather me do that, because they are nice respectable, non-controversial causes that everyone should be concerned about.]
How do you measure the worth of one cause in relation to another? How do my parents come to the (erroneous, IMO) conclusion that I am wasting my time on this? How do they make the judgment call, really, about what is a worthy cause? Is bone-marrow donation a less worthy cause than getting pocket money for poor children? Are animal rights less important the rights of humans?
How do you tell someone that they should not be working on a cause that they are passionate about, but should focus on something more “worthy”, which might not necessarily be something they care about very much? To me, the worthiness of any cause is an absolutely personal decision. Volunteerism is scarce in this world: the only return volunteers and activists get from spending countless hours and going through problems [most of the time], is the satisfaction you get from it. It is perhaps from seeing a poor child smile happily after her first meal in days, or seeing new laws pushed through the parliament after decades of injustice. Is it wrong to want that sense of satisfaction? I highly doubt it. After all, the only thing that keeps us going after experiencing setbacks and problems is the passion – if you don’t have the passion, the energy, then how can it be artificially induced just because someone else thinks that cause is important?
No, you don’t get to tell me I am caring about the wrong things. You don’t get to tell me children are starving in Africa and I am fighting for the right for people to have sex. You don’t get to judge my passion for a particular cause, or tell me I should be into yours.
All causes are equal – only the person can decide which one is important.
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