I remember taking a philosophy class as a freshman at the University of Maryland. We would read, debate, and write about the following question: “What does it mean to have a good life?” Sit with this question for a moment and consider your frame of reference for a good life. Think about how your good life might not be the same as that of another person’s. That’s ok, right? Of course, it is. We all have this one beautiful life to live after all.
No matter what your “good life” looks like, I believe one thing remains the same. We want acceptance for who we are. Be that Catholic, Jewish, Asian, African American, Transgender, Gay, Female or pink elephant. I’m serious. Affirming a person as they see themselves does not detract from your good life. Because again, we all have just one shot at this, so imagine how tragic it would feel if someone told you that you do not have the right to who you are.
Your identity and how you present to the world are of enormous importance to you. If you are constantly bombarded with the message that your identity (insert whatever category you put yourself in) is incorrect or worse, wrong, and that you are not valid, imagine the long-term stress, anxiety, and depression that would bring.
Perhaps your categories are societal norms. You have never been part of a marginalized or oppressed category. I can relate. Because until 5 years and many months ago I was not either. Now, here I am. So, for me, the question about what it means to have a good life means something a little different now. Now it means that I will fight until my last breath to be a voice, and as you all might agree, a loud one. I will speak my truths and for those who are being silenced. All are welcome.