by AS Green
“When perfectionism is driving us, shame is always riding shotgun and fear is the annoying backseat driver” -Brené Brown
It takes a level of vulnerability to admit when something is wrong with your community.
This is a flaw I noticed that is a part of—but certainly not limited to—Columbus’ LGBTQ+ community. There is an extreme scale of perfectionism here, either fear or shame that the impossible standard has or has not been upheld.
I’ve seen the fear. I see it when a call-out occurs against individual or group, and community members will bow to fear of being wrong for supporting a potentially flawed or problematic individual. Then you start hearing, “Well my friend would never” or “You just don’t want this person to succeed” or “You are just anti <fill in the blank here>.” The problematic individual or group uses their previous good deeds as social currency, and sadly no one ever heals or repairs their wrongdoing.
And I have seen the shame. I see it when, upon hearing a call-out that involves an individual or group, the community will immediately write off the individual or group, giving up on them, and withdrawing little if any community support to assist with addressing the harm that has been caused.
Neither fear nor shame will heal or improve a community our as a whole, nor will true vulnerability ever be achieved. Vulnerability takes hard work, but I believe in this community enough to believe it can be done.
Yes, serious call-outs of physical and sexual harm are far more complicated than I can write here. But no matter the harm that has been done, there is a deep need for restorative justice for Columbus’s rainbow family.
Recently an Instagram page named Truth Comes to Light called out some well-known community leaders. But the page fails to do what it claims to achieve: it fails to start the restorative process.
A restorative justice process that is initiated must be completed. Otherwise all you are doing is exposing a wound but never trying to heal it. It’s only through the healing of individual and group harm that the community as a whole can become stronger.
…just remember that your real job is that if you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else. This is not just a grab–bag candy game. –Toni Morrison
Until we are all free from discrimination, from hatred and from fear, Columbus’s rainbow community may appear in tourism ads as a gay utopia. We may look like Ohio’s queer perfection. But that’s just a glossy brochure.
If healing isn’t put before ego, if restoration doesn’t replace god-like judgment, and if the real work of repairing harm doesn’t beat out the ever-present practice of saving face, then this city will never know the endless and curative power of vulnerability.
We need to get well and that far outweighs perfection. 🔥