I hate generational discussions, so I'm not going to say "as millennials." But as a generation that has grown up with Google, we're connected in a new way. The “weird kid” in town who talks funny and dresses in clothes he's not supposed to finds out pretty quickly that he's actually a she and that many people are. She's not a freak, she's part of a group of people with a rich history of cultural acceptance and rejection around the globe, rooted in the strength of people just like her. The kid who holds a razor to his wrist, because he'd rather kill himself than to become the pedophile he thinks he secretly is finds out he's actually got an OCD that involves bad thoughts, and that many people struggle with this in varying degrees and that it is treatable with time, effort, and medication. The kid finds out he's not a villain, he's just a broken boy who can relax into that and return to being happy. If they were alone, dealing with the things inside their minds and bodies, and their parents, or teachers, or bosses, or bullies, or coworkers, or classmates, or brothers, or sisters, were to tell them "stop being weird", "just deal with it", "like us", then maybe they would stop. The fight's not worth it when you're just fighting for you and your weird mind. But when you find out that you're one of millions struggling, and that for as far as history remembers, all of those individuals have taken the advice and pushed it down, just like you considered doing. When you find out that nothing has changed, and that people like you haven't stopped struggling. When you see those people telling their stories, on Facebook, on Twitter, on Reddit, on vlogs, on playgrounds, in workplaces. When you see people like you, struggling, like you, you realise the fight isn't about your own weird mind. That's when the girl that is called a guy decides she can't just put on boys clothes and so she doesn't. That's when she decides she's not going to date that guy everyone wants her to and instead she'll ask her friend Jodie. That's when the boy scared of his own head decides he's not going crazy, he's getting sick, and that he isn't to isolate, he's to stand up and get help. Because the fight isn't for the self anymore. It's for everyone out there, just like you, not sure if they should fight or not. So you stand and fight so they don't have to, but they'll do the same for you. We were divided and told we were fucked up until we just acted like we weren't. But now we're all best friends on Twitter dot com and we're all fucked up and super hot and we're fucking fighting that good fight.
Non-poetic Post Script: I realise I bundled gender identity with mental illness. The thread I am attaching here is not their traits, but how they are buried by the public and the impact community has in making you feel safe in your own headspace.
First they came for the Nazis and I said nothing.
The original quote is a good one, but it's a bad lesson. We should stand up for others, because later it might be our turn? We should stand up for others because those others are people. Not for fear of a slippery slope that leads to our own execution. That logic seems heroic in the original quote, but, it's the logic that births racists. People who stand up to defend the freedom to say the N-word are thinking "if I don't stand up now, what's next?" “If I don't stand up for this statue to a famous general who fought against the end of slavery, what's next? ... Other statues? Our history? Our homes? I better stand up now.” We need to end the idea that we should defend others like we would defend ourselves. This destroys empathy and causes violent fearful extremism. We need to instead support the idea that others are worth defending just because they are others. That all lives, our own or otherwise, are equally worth defending. End the selfishness and end the slippery slope. When someone asks for one thing, they aren't asking for a secret series of unstoppable changes. They are asking for one thing.
We can end hate without ending happiness after. We can end racism without ending white people...But not when white people stand up for racists out of fear that they will be next.
Defend others because they are equal, not because they are us.
There is no such thing as a slippery slope.
There are more issues to it all than these. But these are ones I have yet to see dissected.
Non-Poetic Post Script: These ideas are not expressed to empathise with racists. A lot of racists are hate-filled people, too far gone, too ignorant, too self-serving, or too bitter to be reasoned with or welcomed back into a loving community.