It is tiresome.

The straight white men who preach about the importance of self-reliance and the negative consequences of identity politics rely on their own identity to give them a boost in society, whether they think they do or not.

I get it all the time, when I work to raise awareness about LGBTQ equality issues. I don’t get much bothered when conservative people spend blatant homophobia or transphobia. I mean, I don’t like it but I expect it.

What really bothers me are progressive people who try to make light of the issues we face. Somebody will tell me to stop playing the victim or to realize that identity politics cause more problems than they create, and I want to ask them to walk in my shoes. Step into a public space and agonize with me over whether I can be open about who I am.

I want to ask them to read the same news sources I read every day. I want them to consider that I have no idea what it feels like to be as free as they are, as easy with their personal lives as they are.

That doesn’t mean I think their lives are charmed. Obviously, everyone has problems and faces challenges.

But in the United States, every woman, every Black person, every trans and gay person starts life with a weight tied around their ankle compared to straight white men.

That doesn’t make straight white men bad people, but it sure does make some of the rest of us wish they’d acknowledge those weights we’re dragging around.

Writer. Runner. Marine. Airman. Former LGBTQ and HIV activist. Former ActUpNY and Queer Nation. Polyglot. Middle-aged, uppity faggot.