The song by Discharge, later covered by Metallica, has always been a sort of pick me up for me. Here I am, a disembodied textbox on your computer, spewing the darkest of light and loudest of silence, writing about those matters that are near and dear to me, a transgender antisocial. I would not be able to do what I do if I had to live in constant fear of governmental censorship (or worse) of my words. Instead, I like to think that my words can inspire myself and others to seek out the best in life and become the best self that can be experienced during our collective’s short existence. Why then, is it so fucking difficult for others to see that speech and expression is sacred and that the uneasiness that comes with encountering differing perspectives and experiences in life cannot be substituted for actual forced sterilization of another’s words and thoughts?
Even the barely breathing reader of mine knows that I wear my political opinions on my sleeve. I will not rehash most of my positions here, but the one that is of particular relevance pertains to how ideas are formed and transmitted between people. I could not care less what those around me engage in so long as it does not negatively impact me in a dangerous and immediate fashion. I value thoughts, I value ideas, and I certainly value the expression that every other person in my country (and beyond) is entitled to. All communication with me is kept confidential, but I can attest that I’ve nearly heard it all when it comes to antisocial conquests or neurotypical anguish. And, the very same processes that entitle others to speech, entitles these souls to communicate with me without fear of government interference and, because I am a reasoned and disciplined individual, without the fear of me harming them either for their thoughts. To truly embrace free speech, we need to go beyond the letter of the Constitution, and embrace it as a personal attribute: that we are safe voices for dissenting thought.
I often disagree with those that seek me out, but what chance for growth would there be if I were to agree with everyone? We live in an age where assimilation is demanded, and I refuse to comply. There is no point in speaking if there is no opportunity to learn from, or at least experience, a different viewpoint. Assimilation. As I’ve said many times before, we should celebrate what makes us unique; not what makes us the same. Those that are opposed to free speech at either the governmental or individual levels are only celebrating sameness … so long as it is palatable. This should be regarded as anathema.
In this post, I cannot cover the myriad and plentiful reasons why free speech is important for cultures that wish to transcend the boring and detrimental status quo of governmental intrusion on the personal lives of all. Instead, I am focusing on what it means to embrace such speech at the personal level. Resilience comes from exposure to views unlike the ones individuals hold intrinsic. Intellectual curiosity is heightened by consuming those questions and propositions that attack what is considered sacrosanct. We all need to go out on a limb and challenge those very things we hold as inalienable in order to grow and reap the very essence of existence.
I will not condemn any who believe a certain way so long as their thoughts do not become pure, untainted violence. Such would reach a level of presumption that even the most hardened of narcissists should reject. We control those spheres we existence in, but should not taint those arenas that are not our own. If violence is the act of defacing another psychically or physically, then the grandest of ultra-violence is to preclude the thoughts of another. If we are nothing else as human beings, can we see that we cannot be saints while engaging in the stealing of others very souls? Everyone has a right to their thoughts and to make those thoughts, words. How disgusting must one be to believe they can ensnare another in such a vile fashion?
Speak what you want, when you want, where you want. Of course, in America, the government will not prevent your expression nor thoughts nor words. However, we should go a step further and extend the contract to those around us in the civil sphere. The truest safe spaces are not where ideas are curtailed, but where they are fostered and shared for the mass to consider. In that sense, create your own intellectual safe space and invite others to be themselves and speak their minds. Celebrate the uniqueness of one another, not the putrid and stagnant sameness that threatens to cheapen the human existence.