Stories serve many purposes in our lives. They are inspirational, entertaining, emotional, and educational. They are also important for bringing attention to issues that we may not even notice. A story can teach us a lesson, or give a voice to a silenced group, or warn us of approaching dangers that we may not see coming. Which is why we should never stop telling stories.
The magazine Out interviewed four women in the LGBTQ community who talked about their experiences in today’s political climate in the United States. The women featured in the magazine are actor Ellen Page, author Janet Mock, creator of Amazon’s TV Show “Transparent” Jill Soloway, and Huffington Post editor-in-chief Lydia Polgreen. Each are prominent figures in their fields and have unique perspectives about being gay in America.
Read excerpts from the articles: Out Profiles 4 Queer Women to Examine Power of Storytelling in Era of Trump
Not only do these women feel the weight of the challenge of getting their story told, but they also feel trapped in having to tell the same story over and over. Mock talks about her fear of coming out as transgender when she knew the expectation from her audience would be stories only about her struggle, and nothing else. This makes sense though it would have never occurred to me. It’s common to see trans people tell stories about their personal experiences, but it is not logical to think that that’s the only story they want to tell.
Soloway describes how the society around her has caused her to struggle with finding her place in the world:
“What happens when you’re always attempting to get access to the culture makers and not actually giving birth to the culture? What does that do to our sense of self? That’s what it felt like for me as an 8-year-old girl in the classroom looking at all the presidents, being like, ‘Man, man, man.’ It’s similar for people of color: ‘White, white, white.’ It’s such a shattering feeling for a child. There is no story to explain why you’re ‘less than.’ You just are.”
Her statement puts her struggle in a perspective that’s easy to relate to. We have all seen the poster in the classroom as a child, showing all the presidents as male and white. For some kids, they saw nothing wrong with that. But for others who come from a different background or family, they feel isolated and different. If Soloway hadn’t share her story, I would not have realized the impact that image could have on a child.
This is why it is so important to keep telling stories. Not matter what is dominating society, it is our stories that reflect light on those who are oppressed. It is our stories that progress humankind. Our stories teach us lessons from history, change the stereotypes that we place on others, and hand down a wealth of knowledge to the next generations. Whether it’s a speech, presentation or Q&A session, you have the opportunity to tell your story and share the stories of others to a large audience. So never let fear or disadvantage stop you.
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