In the heat of the presidential campaign and in light of the recent state laws passed regarding the use of gender-specific restroom facilities across multiple states, I have come to find myself in more and more heated debates with not only random people on the internet but with some of my friends as well, and not only on the topic of transgender issues but on the topics of homosexuality, guns, crime, #BlackLivesMatter, illegal immigration, etc. Recently, these topics made feminism, something that used to dominate the discourse on my Facebook feed, fall to the back-burner in the wake of the 2016 political season. And in this discourse I come across ignorance, as well as bias--conscious and unconscious--including my own, and in no small amounts from anyone. When I get into these debates with people I don't know, it hardly affects me. I win or I lose, I learn or I teach or I accomplish nothing and I move on. But when it comes to my friends, it's a little more frustrating.
Understand first that I don't add anyone to my list of Facebook friends that I haven't met in real life. It's a very private social network for me. Some of them I've known for years. Some I am closer to than others, but I am actually friends with all of them. I have two friends who are pro gun, one of whom is a veteran. I have several friends who are pro gun-control. I have many friends who support Sanders, some who support Hillary, and a couple who support Trump... as well as another one or two who don't like Trump but will vote for him over the democratic nominee, regardless. I have... many Christian friends who I met when I was a "born again" evangelical, of which, most are anti-gay marriage, many are transphobic, but a few of whom are staunch allies and supporters like myself. When it comes to topics of race, I have learned a lot in the past few years and will likely learn a lot more in the coming years, however, I find myself in quite a bit of disagreement with what I see as misdirection and lack of cohesion within the #BlackLivesMatter movement, and my friends are all over the place when it comes to race as it relates to crime and police brutality. Thankfully, I do not believe I have any climate change deniers as friends--at least they haven't made their views known.
Simply not taking part in these discussions is not an option, in my opinion. I'm not one to shy away from an argument, even one which I am most certain to lose given the crowd I'm arguing with. And these issues, I believe, are important. I believe that if I can open a dialogue with someone, and teach them something I know or learn something I didn't know that that can enlighten us, and help make more informed, better choices--knowledge is the greatest weapon against injustice as well as our own biases, conscious or unconscious. Furthermore, one thing that #BlackLivesMatter has convinced me of is that not talking about an issue is as good as my consent to the issue--it's a concept that applies not only to race but to every issue, political or otherwise.
So the question I pose to you here on Elliquiy is this: When it comes to discussions on topics such as these with the people you know who disagree with you, how do you fare? How do you start and get involved with these discussions and how do you make your point without losing your friends? And... I suppose I'm also curious what kind of things your friends say on these matters that gets you to respond? What also, are the things they say that irk or offend you?
Personally, one of my most hated statements is "TL;DR." Because it often comes after I respond to something they said. And to describe my feelings... there's a line in the song "Farmer Refuted" from the hit Broadway musical Hamilton. In the song, a man offers "free thoughts on the continental congress" in opposition of the Revolution. The line comes when the man continues to repeat himself without responding to Hamilton and Hamilton says "Don't modulate the key and not debate with me!" It is my sentiment exactly... "You started this discussion when you made that post. If you don't want to read my or anyone else's counter-arguments, then you shouldn't post stuff like that to begin with."