I’m very lucky to have a girlfriend who reminds me that my goal for this blog is to create a safe and positive space for LGBT* non-profit folk. She has had to remind me quite a bit as of late. I’ve gotten fired up about a lot of national and international news; all I’ve wanted to do is to rant and rave about how people are assholes and why everything is terrible.
As much as it tempts me to be pessimistic about the world and the non-profit sector, I will continue to struggle with forcing myself to stay positive. Honestly, it’s a daily struggle. The World Vision controversy of last week had me leaning towards writing a piece about how aid organizations and non-profits who use religious affiliations as an excuse for homophobia are detrimental to the non-profit sector. As much as I want to, I can’t focus on it, and writing about it here will get nothing accomplished besides getting me more angry.
How do I stay positive, knowing that people would condemn me and dismiss my work because of my sexual orientation? I remember that the work that I am doing has a major positive impact on the world. My work is not devalued by organizations like World Vision or conservatives in Congress. I am making a positive difference in the world, and no amount of hate will stop me.
Do I still get pissed off by bigots? Of course. I have days where all I want to do is focus on my fears of being outed, or getting kicked out of countries for being a lesbian, or not getting funded by an organization that turns out to be homophobic. Honestly these fears have kept me up at night countless times over the past five years. Why do we live in a world that would actively negate our humanitarian efforts because of our sexual orientation?
The sad fact is that we do, but that negativity cannot consume us and shape our work. People like us need to keep fighting for water development, education, women’s rights, and all of the other noble causes that exist. If we overwhelm ourselves with the hate spewed at the LGBT* community, we cannot put our best work forward.
My main goal working in the non-profit sector is to make my little corner of the world a more positive and equal place. I can’t do that while bottling up resentment toward organizations and people who are actively discriminating against me. I know what my organization is doing for the people I work with. That is what I force myself to think about.
I can’t change the world for the better by focusing on the homophobia and institutionalized discrimination that exists in the non-profit sector. I can change the world by continuing my work and making sure my organization is helping people in the best way possible.
I need to believe that by staying positive I am becoming a better person, and thus a better humanitarian.