I’m Brianne: A White, Straight, Female and Boxed Color Ginger Author

That title probably stirred something in you. It seems kinda silly that I distinguished myself using not only my physical traits, but also my sexuality. It’s silly because what do any of those things have to do with me being an author? These aren’t things that can determine my skill. It may be interesting to someone who wants to know read works by female authors, but there’s no other need for that. Knowing all of that about me is unimportant to my adequate talents at words.

Every time that I read something, it seems important. “Gay Actor _____ stars as _____.” “First Female Lesbian Coach in the NFL.” “Transgender soldier gave WikiLeaks confidential information.” Why can’t it just be “____ actor stars in _____.” Why do we have to use these labels as titles, as if that’s all they are? It doesn’t matter. Him being gay doesn’t make him better or worse as an actor; his talent does. I’d like to live in a time when none of that matters. Where instead of “First Female Lesbian Coach”, we get “Katie Sowers is the offensive assistant coach of the San Fransisco 49ers”. It shouldn’t matter that she’s female or a lesbian; it should matter that she’s a person who does a good job at what she does. That’s what matters.

I get it though. When you’re a ground-breaking figure. You are shattering ceilings that really shouldn’t be there anymore. They keep telling us that times are much different now and people are more accepting. But they’re really not. I like that they featured Katie Sowers so much because it shows women that there is a place for them in their dream jobs, even if it’s in a male dominated world. I like that if I ever am blessed with a daughter that she could see these women running for president and coaching in the NFL and doing whatever the hell else they want so she can be inspired to follow her dreams. But we should focus on the important things, like talent or morality. Are these good role models? It doesn’t matter what they identify as or who they love. It matters that our children can look up to them.

I remember the first time a friend came out to me. He was nervous and scared about my reaction, which was “I don’t care.” He was pissed at me and I didn’t get it. I didn’t care. He was my friend. He was kind to me. Who he loved meant nothing to me because I didn’t care. He took it as I didn’t care about this struggle. That I shrugged this momentous occasion for him off because I didn’t care about him. I understood that. This was a big moment for him and the idea that I dismissed it was rough. He understood that I didn’t dismiss it because I didn’t care about him; that what he said to me was insignificant to how much I loved him moving forward. He was my best friend; that’s what I cared about.

There are moments when making note of their gender, sexuality, and race matters. It’s fine to say that Katie Sowers was momentous because she was the first. But that shouldn’t be the focus of every article. It’s fine to say “Lil Nas X is the first gay rapper”, but does every article have to say “Gay Rapper Lil Nas X…” Maybe it should say “Rapper of that Annoying Effing Song that I Can’t Escape”.

Maybe by changing this narrative, we are getting rid of glass ceilings. We aren’t pressuring a woman to be the first female president. We aren’t telling people that they have to come out because it’s really not our business because they should succeed based on their talents. Sure, let’s celebrate those momentous occasions that are worth noting, but let’s not dwell on it or focus on it. Let’s let the ceilings shatter and focus on making sure there are none left to break.

Finding Controversy Where There Isn’t Any

“How dare Google not have the American flag on Memorial Day?” , I saw on Facebook. I didn’t consider that. I went to my Google homepage and I saw a screen that was plain, in the colors of mourning, with a link to listen to Taps, a song that sends a chill down any American’s spine. I remember listening to my son practice it on his trumpet as he was being groomed to be the person to play it at the parade when he was old enough. I would have been so proud to say that was my son playing that song in honor of those we have lost. (He ended up quitting band upon entering high school, due to the band director being disapproving of those people who wanted to do both band and sports.) I found nothing offensive; in fact, the opposite was true. I appreciated the simplicity, the focus on the mourning of these men and women who fought for our rights to be offended at whatever we wanted to be. I thought the somber simplicity was the perfect approach. The day is about those who we have lost. It isn’t about arguing about patriotism or being outraged.

I don’t need to see an American flag everywhere to know someone loves their country. I don’t have a flag on my lawn, doesn’t mean I don’t love my country. People equate a symbol, the flag, and boast it as if it’s the only way to show your patriotism. We’re not supposed to honor symbols; we’re supposed to honor the spirit. Yes, I do believe in saying the pledge. Yes, I do believe you don’t talk during the anthem and you show your respect as you would if you were praying. I don’t need to wear the flag to show my love for those who are serving, have served, and sacrificed it all for us. I believe in showing respect to our soldiers when we see them in public, with my sons saying “Thank you” or saluting them. It’s the little acts, not the grand gestures. I believe that you show your patriotism fighting for those who can’t whenever you can. I believe that you show your patriotism by giving thanks to those who chose to fight so that you didn’t have to.

This doesn’t mean that I don’t believe in the flag. I repeat, in bold this time: This doesn’t mean that I don’t believe in the flag. This is a symbol of our country, this is something to be revered. I just mean to point out that the most important thing, the thing that we are actually fighting for, is the American spirit. The spirit of not being told to sit down and take it. The spirit of fighting for our beliefs, for justice, for peace. The American flag is a symbol of the American spirit; not a replacement for it.

This need to be outraged about everything has gotten crazy. Some people on the far-right insist that it’s only the “snowflake libtards” that get outraged over nothing, when it’s both sides that want to make everything “a thing”. I recently joined groups for my community because I wanted to see about our local politicians. I wanted to see how us citizens could inspire change. Instead, I see dumpster fire level outrage over nothing. I see people flaming each other for nothing. I see the worst in humanity when really, I just wanted to see how these people wanted to help our communities. Instead, it’s all fake outrage. It’s finding controversy where there isn’t any. Apparently this is the new American way.

I don’t believe in searching out controversy. I don’t believe in following those who do. I believe the politicians and the media want us to be outraged at whatever they tell us to, in part, just because they can do it and no one will question it. I question it. I wonder why they are making a mountain out of a molehill. I believe in getting back to the true American spirit.