Ageism Fucks Over Activism
This week I went to lobby in Columbus, Ohio’s capital, for the LGBT Equal Housing and Employment Protections Act. Equality Ohio collected almost 500 people for the event, most of whom were age 35 and up. Going in, I expected a degree of trans identity ignorance from some fellow lobbyists. What I didn’t expect was what I got…
I was one of the only experienced lobbyists in our group, but before I even reached the capital building I had been called both a kid and a child. I received a seemingly well intentioned yet authoritative lecture from an older activist on my generation’s apathetic nature, which was followed directly by being asked what grade I was in. I was never spoken to directly by the group leader or informed on the day’s agenda, nor where the other two younger people in the group. I was ushered from office to office like a kid on a grade school field trip. I had no opportunity to represent my district or my community. I might as well have not even been there.
Response: First of all, I am not a child. I’m 25 years old and the director a non-profit that I founded (without the help of anyone over 35, thank you very much). Second, if I had been the team leader I would not dominate the group so that my voice was the only one heard. I would not have missed appointments with representatives for no good reason. I would not have ignored members of my team because they looked young. And I would not have let lobbyers hand representatives blank “Thank You” cards (Wtf?). Lastly, my generation’s “apathetic nature?” Yes, I’ll admit my generation needs work, but what about the generations before mine? Maybe youth wouldn’t be so apathetic if YOUR generation hadn’t f**ked everything up. Maybe youth would be more involved if you treated us like people, not prospects. I keep hearing how youth are the future, but no one lets us make the future happen.
cross-posted on AmplifyYourVoice.org