By Ben Cartwright | Back Out With Benny
A few days ago, a candidate for local office whom I connected to on Facebook posed the question on social media: “What social issues are you passionate about?”
I wanted to reply, but actually had trouble “deciding” which issue(s) to list — not because I’m not passionate about any social issues, it’s the complete opposite — it was because it felt strange prioritizing one issue over another.
Then it dawned on me that I just care about humans and their wellbeing. Politics aside, the advancement of social justice for all people should be the social issue we are all passionate about.
In the comments section under the post, people listed all sorts of things: homelessness, access to healthcare, walkable neighborhoods, safety, drug addiction, mental illness, immigration, racism and more.
All of these things (and many other issues) are equally important so I’m challenging myself and others to be passionate about other people. Usually in my February column I write something related to love, so let’s this call this loving our fellow humankind.
The candidate who posed the question also wrote the following, which I wholeheartedly agree with:
“Stand up for all issues when fighting for social justice. Don’t be silent on certain issues because you assume they don’t directly impact you. Educate your mind and take the time to understand each social issue. Everything is interconnected.”
He’s exactly right: Everything is interconnected.
Whether your cause is feeding the homeless, or cleaning up your neighborhood, or fighting systemic racism, it’s all really about taking care of each other and making sure every human being is treated fairly. It’s my dream and wish that we could spend less time politicizing what should be basic human rights and more time just loving each other.
We can all do our part to make social justice a reality. Speak up when you see something that is wrong. Spend less time in social media wars and more time connecting and interacting with people in person (people tend to be nicer — even when arguing hot topics — when they’re not hiding beyond a computer or smartphone screen), and get to know people who are different than you.
These seem like such a simple things, but we don’t do it enough. We need to spend more time loving people — even people we don’t know — and it will be a little bit closer to a more perfect world.
On another note, but related to love and social media, my good friend (and amazing musician) Don LeMaster, recently posted this:
“I think I’m gonna start
Too many people say “love you” and “miss you.” I believe that just sounds insincere, is it just me? Why not just add one more letter and say “I love you” or “I miss you.” That’s more personal and sounds like you actually mean it! Try adding the “I” and see if people react differently, and if I leave out the “I” please call me out on it!
I love you all!!! Let’s do this!”
I’ve started doing this — and being more intentional when I say those phrases — and it actually has completely changed the way it feels! I remember when I was a kid, every night before going to bed I would yell down the hall to my mom “love you … night!” Of course I love my mom dearly, but thinking back, saying it that way just seemed robotic and insincere. Similar to how it’s just standard to say “How are you?” when greeting someone, but do we really care how the person is doing?
Since I’ve added the “I” to my “love yous” in the last couple weeks, I’ve found myself stopping to think more about what I’m saying, looking the person in the eye, and trying to make a genuine connection in that moment. Give it a try!
And if I haven’t told you lately, I love you!
Getting Out With Benny
Can you believe it’s already February? As usual there’s just so much going on. Here’s a few events I’m looking forward to:
Saturday, Feb. 10, 6–11 p.m. — Hillcrest Mardi Gras. Word is that Downtown San Diego’s annual Mardi Gras bash is cancelled this year, so Hillcrest is definitely going to be the place to be that weekend. The Hillcrest Business Association has put together a brand new Mardi Gras event that incorporates many of the neighborhood’s bars on a Party Bus Bar Hop. It’s going to be a lot of fun! More information is in this issue of Gay San Diego. bit.ly/2BHcT8Q.
Saturday, Feb. 10, 6 p.m. — Imperial Court de San Diego’s Coronation XLVI. The annual Coronation celebration is the Imperial Court’s most elegant affair, and if you’ve never been before, you might want to consider attending just to see the very royal outfits! At this very formal event, the organization’s new emperor and empress are elected, along with entertainment, protocol, and other honors. I even heard that a few of my friends and I are getting a cool honor. bit.ly/2BH3wWY
Sunday, Feb. 18, 7 p.m. — Tantrums & Tiaras 2018: Battle of the Bar Queens (All Stars). San Diego’s amazing over-the-top drag competition is back for an all stars edition! Five returning contestants from previous years, each from various bars within our community, will take to the stage to “snatch” the T & T crown in this show, which is always full of surprises. And the best part is that it benefits The Center! This event always sells out so get tickets now. bit.ly/2E51x3V
— Benny Cartwright is the director of community outreach at the San Diego LGBT Community Center. He can be reached at 619-692-2077 ext. 106 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Note: Byline photo by Rob Lucas Modern Aperture Photography.