No, I don’t have to stick up for anyone.

No, you don’t have to stick up for anyone. There is no law that forces you to do so.

What I am saying (and what I think Salsa is saying) is that if you believe in people being treated fairly and with compassion, and if you want to live in a society where that is the norm, then you can help make that happen by speaking out against injustice whenever you encounter it.

To take one specific example:

Gay people in America are free just as free as everyone else.

It is perfectly legal in a significant number of US states to fire someone on the basis of their sexual orientation. And, yes — it is just as legal to do so for being heterosexual as for being LGBTQ. Equal, right? Just as free, right?

I don’t think so.

Perhaps there are cases of employees losing their jobs for being straight (I have yet to hear of any such example) but one thing is absolutely clear: it is much, much more common for LGBTQ people to be victimised in this way. It is they that need the most protection at the moment. That doesn’t mean that straight people shouldn’t have the same rights, but the reality of the world is that it is not straight people who are suffering right now.

Imagine you were called into your boss’s office one morning and told: “It has come to our attention that you have a girlfriend, and it is not something we want associated with our business. Clear out your desk.” And your coworkers, rather than sticking up for you, say “too bad, man — I’m gay and it doesn’t affect me, so I’m not getting involved”.

Those colleagues haven’t broken any law. They haven’t breached any literal contract. But I don’t think they are acting in a way that makes the world (or their working environment) a better place either.

Don’t get me wrong — sometimes people can’t speak out for whatever reason — it often takes strength (physical and/or mental) to do it, and people don’t always have that capacity. But I think if you are able to do it, it is (in my opinion) the right thing to do to speak up. And quite often it is the victim who doesn’t have the capacity to stand up for themselves — they may have been fighting the same battle for a long time.

Anyway, you are free to hold whatever opinion you like and lead your life in the way you wish (within the confines of the law) — but don’t try to tell me it is “reality” — it is conscious decision you are making about your behaviour.

I, myself, will continue to campaign for people to think and act differently, because I think it will make the world we live in a better place for everyone.

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