Direct Action Works @ Duke University

I spent the summer in North Carolina with my family. My grandfather was an alumni of Duke University, and I remember seeing the Robert E. Lee statue in front of the chapel, the few times I visited the campus with him. I’ve seen what it looks like clean, and now I’m proud to say I’ve seen what it looks like vandalized and destroyed. Following a surge in anti-fascist anti-racism protests in response to the events of Charlottesville, Virginia, the confederate statue was defaced on Wednesday. This morning, NPR reported that Duke University has removed the statue from outside the chapel for good.

This is what direct action looks like. These are the real results of taking to the streets and demanding justice.

Rich White Leftists, Please Cut the Act

Rich leftists, it may hurt your dirty folk punk image to be a rich cishet white person, but “poor” is not a trendy new fashion aesthetic for you to imitate. There are a lot of people who can’t afford to bathe every day or buy new clothes, and frankly, it’s offensive that you wear your filth as a badge of honor, when you’re a millennial who owns their own house and/or has never once experienced financial hardship or homelessness. You’re not a “dirty hippy”, you’re a cultural appropriative hipster who payed for that Om symbol tattoo with your dad’s credit card.

I get it, being a rich white millennial is totally not punk rock. If you want to keep up your street cred with your local antifa friends, you need to rip up your jeans, maybe stop bathing for a few days, and really sell that rebellious “punk” look.

I know you’re angry that Mommy and Daddy spoiled you growing up and gave you everything you’ve ever wanted, but instead of pretending that they didn’t send you to private school and take you out on their yacht every summer, you could ask them for money and give it to queer and trans POC, or other people who deserve it more than you.

Now, I’m not saying you shouldn’t dress “punk”, or wear ripped clothing, but don’t parade yourself around like you’ve been “riding the rails” your whole life and are a “true anarchist” because of it. Anarchism is a political ideology, not a costume for you to play dress up in. Experiencing family violence, financial hardship, employment discrimination, and homelessness are not situations for you to envy, they’re facts of life for many people. Instead of pretending like your life has been so rough and filled with so many hardships, start acknowledging your rich, white, educated privilege and use it to help people. Say it with me: Poor. Is. Not. A. Costume. And it certainly doesn’t make you a better anti-fascist. Your actions and your words are what matter, not how many holes your jeans have or what color you dye your hair.

Use your privilege instead of pretending like you don’t have it to seem punk, and please, take a shower.

Amplify Black Voices, Don’t Talk Over Them

I know a guy, a white guy, who eats his lunch in the university multicultural center once a week because it eases his white guilt. Eating Taco Bell in the same room as black people is apparently all it takes to end racism. He’s never actually attended any Black Affairs Association events or meetings on campus, but hey, the guy ate his cheesy gordita crunch while looking at a poster about the Civil War, what more do you want?

I know a lot of other white people like this. White people who go into POC spaces and talk about how much they hate racism aren’t helping anyone. In fact, they’re taking up space and talking over POC. Making yourself the loudest voice in a room full of POC on discussions of racism is just upholding white supremacy. Do not take their voices. Lift them up. Don’t take charge, ask them what you can do to amplify their voices.

White people who go into white spaces and lead discussions on racism are what is needed. Preaching to POC how much you hate racism and what a good ally you are is just asking for praise. Talk to your white friends about white supremacy. Get them angry and riled up about Charlottesville, Ferguson, and Flint. Urge your white friends to use their privilege to amplify the voices of POC. Don’t grandstand yourself in front of POC like some kind of white savior.

If black students (or local antifa) have a Charlottesville protest on your campus this week, feel free to join in, and be the first to approach campus police if they show up. Let them continue their protest, and use your white privilege to keep police distracted (and calmer, most likely) talking to you. Dealing with police is one of your jobs as a white ally because it is much safer for you to do so.

White people, talk to your white friends about their actions and ask POC to hold you accountable for yours.

If you would like to know what you can do to help Charlottesville, watch and share videos and try to identify as many white supremacists as you can. The identities of the men who brutally attacked Deandre Harris with metal poles are still unknown. The neo-Nazis in Charlottesville are bold, they didn’t bother to hide their faces because they thought there would be no consequences for their disgusting and appalling actions. Let’s make sure they are held accountable.


Elizabeth Johnston, Meet the Real “Activist Mommy”

Elizabeth Johnston, the self-appointed "Activist Mommy", is a Christian blogger whose hobbies include yelling at gay people, Bible study, and making lunches for her 10 homeschooled kids. What she lacks in education, knowledge, and political awareness, she makes up for with bigotry and long winded rants on Facebook.

Usually when these never ending and incoherent monologues show up in my feed, I keep scrolling, especially when the term "Mama Bear" is used ad nauseum. This quiverful-of-herself mommy certainly knows how to up the word count without any actual research or meaningful substance.

While Lizzie is busy giving Christian parenting advice on how to beat your children with wooden spoons and then hide the bruises (the way God intended) so the neighbors don't call child services, there are real "Activist Mommies" out there who love and support their children.

One of those mom's is Amber Briggle, political activist and loving mother of her transgender son, Max. Amber is a staunch advocate for transgender rights in her home state of Texas and she serves on the Human Rights Campaign’s national “Parents for Transgender Equality Council”. She's an actual "Activist Mommy", whose activism revolves around creating a safer more accepting world for transgender people, specifically transgender youth.

This is how Amber Briggle talks about her son:

"Trans lives matter, but the sad truth is that it’s still legal to discriminate against someone based on their gender identity — from bathrooms to employment to service in the military to access to healthcare, trans lives are under attack every single day. And if you are attacking someone in my tribe, you are attacking my son — and I will do ANYTHING to protect him. I have a fire in my belly to fight for equal rights and protections for ALL Americans, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. This is important work. I hope you’ll join me."

"Halfway through 1st grade, I noticed some disturbing changes in my sweet baby and knew it was time to face the truth: Max was a transgender boy and needed acceptance and support by the people he loved the most — including his own mother."

That is what a loving mother sounds like. That is what a real activist sounds like.

And this is how Elizabeth Johnston talks about her children.

"The child misbehaves, and so the palm, paddle, belt, or switch falls to bring repentance and obedience….If dogs can be trained to sit and roll over, then your children can be trained to obey your word – even before they learn to speak!"

"Don’t let your child out in public in shorts if there are red marks on the child’s legs [from beating them]."

"Insist that your children cry quietly.  Strong, loud, uncontrolled crying is a manifestation of rebellion, and should not be tolerated."

"Not spanking your child is equated with hatred for your child!  Loving your child through consistent corporal punishment 'delivers his soul from hell.'"

"If you don’t practice corporal discipline with your children, you do not love them, and hence, do not love God."

This woman believes that mothers like Amber are the real child abusers, so it comes as no surprise that Elizabeth learned her parenting style from her own parents. (She described on her website how grateful she is that her father beat her mercilessly well into her teens.) Using Bible verses to justify using fear, violence, threats, and intimidation to force a child to bend to your every will, controlling every aspect of their life and identity, is what most people would consider child abuse. Letting your transgender kid exist, however, is not.

Activist Mommy, if you would spend a little less time inside the front seat of your van screeching about gay people and burning magazines, and a little more time in the real world, you might understand that nobody cares about your uneducated, fire and brimstone, holier-than-thou opinions. Please, get out of your van, pull your ramen noodle head out of your ass, and start being a real mother to your ten kids.

By the way, if you ever want to do something about that hair, I know the perfect Teen Vogue article for you.

Are Trans-Exclusionary Dating Preferences Transphobic?

Dear cisgender people,

Let me preface this by saying, I'm sure this will be an unpopular opinion. It's a complicated subject but I will do my best to give you my perspective as a transgender person on cisgender people's "sexual preferences" for not being attracted to trans people.

This isn't about forcing anyone to be attracted to anyone or have sex with anyone. This also isn't about someone without genital repulsion, which is valid.

However, your %100 exclusion of trans people is a bit problematic. Here's why:

You assume everyone attractive is automatically cisgender. You are attracted to trans people, you just might not know they're trans. This "preference" of only being attracted to cis people operates under the assumption that you know who is cis and who is trans just by looking at them. That is transphobic.

Assuming that every person you meet and are attracted to is cisgender, and then saying "Well I was really attracted to you, but now I'm not solely because you're trans." is transphobic because it's not that you just don't find trans people attractive, it's that you did find them attractive until you "found out" they're trans. When you say you could never ever be attracted to a trans person, you're also saying, by default, that trans people are unattractive, when we just established that many trans people "pass for cis".

I could say "I have a preference for white men." and that would be a preference, but if I said "I could never ever be attracted to a non-white man. Every non-white person who has ever lived, is living, or will live, I have no possibility of ever being attracted to." Sounds pretty racist, doesn't it? If I meet a man who I find attractive in every single way, except for the fact he's black and decide not to date him, that's racist. That's also assuming that I can always tell who is non-white by looks alone. You could have a preference for brown eyes, but that doesn't mean if you found a green-eyed man attractive you would refuse to date him, would it? I understand though that having a certain kind of genitals is more of a deal breaker than having green eyes (for some). If it doesn't work for you, it doesn't work, but-

It doesn't mean you were tricked.

No trans people are "tricking" you. No trans person doesn't say "I'm trans" before the pants start to come off. It just doesn't happen. But assuming what someone has in their pants based on their appearance is transphobic, anyway.

You should also be aware that your genital preference is rooted in an unconscious cisnormative brainwashing. Hypothetically, you're only attracted to men, and only attracted to penises. That's because you've been conditioned to associate penises with men. You may believe that transgender men are real men, but your subconscious "preference" for penises as the defining factor for your sexual attraction to men, is transphobic.

If you say "I'm attracted to men, but never transgender men." in a way, you are saying that transgender men are not men, based on your omission of them because of their genitalia. Excluding trans men from the category of "men" in your sexuality based not on their gender, but on their genitals, is transphobia. If I go to a men's only gym and they exclude me, a man, because of my genitals, that's transphobic. Attraction may be different from a men's gym, but you understand what I'm trying to say. You're removing us from the category of "men".

I see a lot of videos circulating online from cisgender content creators on why they will never date a trans person, because it's their "preference". But what I don't see are videos called "Why I'll never date a fat person" or "Why I'll never date a black person." They don't say in their videos, "I have a preference for skinny people and I will never be attracted to any fat people so sorry not sorry." or "Here's my video on why I will never be attracted to black people." because they know that there's no point to creating a clearly offensive video for thousands of people to watch that has no other purpose but to make people feel bad. So why is it okay to do it to trans people? What's the point? Transgender people are already marginalized, why go out of your way to make it a point to say they're unattractive to you? Nobody cares.

There are skinny trans people, there are blue-eyed trans people, there are big, small, black, white, tall, short, trans people. So if all trans men of every shape, color, size, and type are all unattractive simply because they don't have the anatomy of a cis man, how is that not assigning genitals to gender?

Now, I'm not saying you have to date a trans person, or have sex with a trans person, or do anything with a trans person. You can have your "preference" for cis people only, nobody is making you like trans people. However, it's important to note that most of the time these "preferences" are rooted in bioessentialism and transphobia, because you're still associating being a man with having a penis.

If you don't want to date trans people, that's fine, but you need to be upfront about it. It isn't the transgender person's hang up, it's yours. It shouldn't be up to a trans person to out themselves to you on a first date just in case you want to change your mind. If you're out on a date with them, you're clearly attracted to them, and it isn't their fault you have a "preference" for cis people. Again, you're the one with the strict "preference", you should be the one to let them know. It's also a safety issue for a transgender person as well, because outing themselves in public to someone they barely know can often end in violence.

So, to wrap this up, I will say that it's fine to have your "cis only" dating preference, but you don't need to scream it from the rooftops how much you don't want to date transgender people, because I can guarantee you, if that's how you feel, we don't want to date you either.

A great video on this topic from Activist Kat Blaque here

Toxic Masculinity and What Actually Makes a Real Man

First, what is Toxic Masculinity anyway? Toxic (or hegemonic) masculinity refers to society’s expectations of how men should behave. Toxic masculinity involves the belief that men should be dominant, aggressive, violent, unemotional, and that they should fear the loss of masculinity for doing anything seen as feminine. It perpetuates the idea that femininity is weak and it equates perceived femininity to inferiority. Toxic masculinity is defined by superiority over women and socially outranking other men.

According to Terry Kupers of The Wright Institute,

In contemporary American and European culture, [hegemonic masculinity] serves as the standard upon which the “real man” is defined. According to R.W Connell, contemporary hegemonic masculinity is built on two legs, domination of women and a hierarchy of intermale dominance. It is also shaped to a significant extent by the stigmatization of homosexuality. Hegemonic masculinity is the stereotypic notion of masculinity that shapes the socialization and aspirations of young males. Today’s hegemonic masculinity in the United States of America and Europe includes a high degree of ruthless competition, an inability to express emotions other than anger, an unwillingness to admit weakness or dependency, devaluation of women and all feminine attributes in men, homophobia, and so forth.

Ironic hypothetical Situation #1

Toxic Dude Bro: "Hey Bobby, you can't wear a dress, only girls wear dresses. You're such a girl. You wear make up too? Wow, you're not a real man! You can't be a man if you do that. You're not a man."

Bobby: "I've decided to come out of the closet. I'm a trans woman. Please start using she/her pronouns for me."

Toxic Dude Bro: "What? No! You're not a girl! You're a MAN! It doesn't matter if you wear make up or dresses. MAN MAN MAN! You'll always be a man no matter how many dresses you wear!"

So which is it Toxic Dude Bro? Is gender a social construction? Or is it biological?

Well, obviously, there's a third option, and that is that one's gender identity is, well, an identity. It's the innermost perception of one's self and one's gender, independent of gender expression or "biological sex".

Let's say for the sake of argument, that all toxic masculinity rules apply, and that being a "real" man isn't about how one identifies. Just here me out for a minute.

No, to be a real man one has to act a certain way. One has to be tough. The right to be called a real man has to be earned.

If being a man was something one actually had to earn, I would out rank all cis men by default. I'm a self made man. I had to work for it. I didn't have the luck of having my manhood handed to me at birth. Cisgender men come out of the womb, and the doctor says "It's a boy!" and from then on, there is no proving to society that they are male. Maybe they may feel pressure to prove their masculinity to their toxic peers, but from birth their identity is solidified. They are viewed unquestioningly by society as men. They (usually) produce their own testosterone, which means it's easier for them to grow facial hair and gain muscle. Unlike transgender men, they have a hormonal advantage from the day they wake up at 13 with peach fuzz. Their manhood was handed to them on a silver platter.

But me? No, I have to prove it. I have to prove I'm a real man, every day, to every new person I meet. The president of the United States argues against my manhood, and I have to overcome that. I have to overcome my physical and hormonal disadvantages to be accepted and seen for who I am. So, if anything, my journey to become a man has been much harder, making me more of a man than cisgender men.

Consider this: Toxic masculinity is inherently fragile. If I decide to wear make-up or do something "traditionally feminine", does that make me less of a man? On the contrary, perhaps I should be considered more of a man because my masculinity isn't so fragile that my manhood is shattered by the act of doing something that is considered "feminine". So, if anything, my masculinity is stronger because it can survive anything because I'm confident in my identity, unlike fragile toxic masculinity that is threatened by anything and everything "feminine".

But it doesn't work like that. And it shouldn't. This is toxic thinking. Masculinity shouldn't be a pissing contest of who is more of a man than someone else. Men are men not because of what they look like, what their hobbies are, or what genitalia they have. Men are men because they're men, not because they're the manliest of all men and more masculine than everyone else.

Gender is not determined by genitalia, and gender is not (entirely) socially constructed. Gender is actually just an internalized part of one's identity. That's it. I'm a man because that's who I am. It has nothing to do with what clothes I wear or what genitalia I have.

(Photo Credit here)

More Queer Composers!

In a previous post "How Classical Music Helped Me Find My Gay Pride" I wrote about two amazing American composers: Aaron Copland and Samuel Barber. I highly recommend reading about them first, but there are many other queer composers that deserve the same recognition.

Peter Ilych Tchaikovsky was a Russian composer of the romantic period whose most well-known works include the ballets Swan Lake, and The Nutcracker. In 1981, he appeared at the inaugural concert of Carnegie Hall in New York and was one of the first Russian composers to gain widespread popularity abroad.Widely considered the most popular Russian composer in history, even Vladimir Putin acknowledged his homosexuality. However, Tchaikovsky was far from out and proud. He spent his life trying to suppress his homosexuality, only talking about it in diaries and letters to his brother, Modest, who was also gay.

It's ironic to me that the majority of Christians are homophobic, yet so willing to integrate a gay man's work into their most sacred religious holiday. The Nutcracker is arguably as integral to Christmas as putting cookies out for Santa Claus. It's a long-held tradition in many Christian households. Seemingly, many people are willing to celebrate Tchaikovsky's contributions to society and appropriate them into their religion, while simultaneously believing gay men are sinful, disgusting, or undeserving of equal rights.

The general public might be unaware that Tchaikovsky was gay, either due to LGBTQ erasure in history, or that Tchaikovsky's work as a composer overshadowed his personal life. Probably both.

Leonard Bernstein was an American composer, conductor, and pianist who is most famous both for his time as the music director for the New York Philharmonic and as the composer of West Side Story. Bernstein had a wife, Felicia Bernstein, who knew he was gay, but agreed to marry him anyway. Their marriage was happy for many years, despite Bernstein's extramarital flings with other men (that his wife is rumored to have known about). Like many prominent gay men of his generation, Bernstein married Felicia out of societal obligation. After her death, he became more open about his homosexuality, making up for lost time by surrounding himself with an entourage of younger men. One of Bernstein's great musical influences was another American composer, Aaron Copland, who was also a gay man.

There are other composers, such as Camille Saint-Saens, Franz Schubert, Maurice Ravel, and George Frediric Handel, who are theorized by many musicologists and music historians to be gay as well. However, this is a matter of dispute. Unfortunately, many composers lived in a time where homosexuality was widely unaccepted or criminalized, meaning their true sexuality may never be known. What is not disputed is that these men's contributions to music and society are undeniable.

(Photo: American Ballet Theater dancers in “Swan Lake,” at the Metropolitan Opera House. Credit Andrea Mohin/The New York Times)

Stop Infantilizing Trans Men

When I started college, I was 18 years old and pre-testosterone. Like a lot of transgender men, I looked a lot younger than I was, and I still do look a few years younger than I am. I've been on hormone treatments for over a year, but it's been an ongoing struggle since the beginning to be taken seriously as an adult.

By the end of my first week of college, I had already picked up the nickname "kid". A guy a couple of years older than me would say "hey kiddo" every time he saw me. I know what you're thinking, that isn't too bad, right? But that's just how it started.

I became the de facto "baby" of the music studio I was part of. I hated the condescending way that men only a couple years older than me would call me "kid", and mess up my hair, when the men in my same grade were called by their names. It would be one thing if all of the first year's were called "kid", but out of all of the first years I was the only one infantilized and condescended to. From the beginning I was assigned this childlike persona where no one would ever take me seriously. I carried myself very maturely and professionally, but regardless, I was always written off.

At some point, they started to nag me incessantly like parents. "Make sure you keep up with your work. Are you being responsible?" "Have you practiced today yet? You should get on that." Basically, every day they would check up on me to make sure I was doing what I was supposed to be doing, when my academics were absolutely none of their business. They micromanaged me to death and I was tired of being constantly told what to do by people with zero authority over my life, especially when I was the only one who was deemed incapable of managing on my own. Imagine being a hard working adult trying to hone your craft when all of your peers don't believe you are capable of anything.

This isn't a new phenomenon. It's no secret why I was the only first year (now third year) treated like a child.

Cisgender people need to stop infantilizing trans men. A 20 year old trans man is not a soft little pinchable-cheeks baby boy. I'm not a baby, and I'm not a child. I'm an adult, despite the fact that I look 14. Cis people have the privilege of going through (correct) puberty in their teens, not many trans people have that privilege. I certainly didn't. All of my male colleagues had years to become the adult men they are now, with beards, deep voices, and everything else. I never got that privilege.

After three years of being patronized in academia, I've just about run out of patience. I don't deserve to be infantilized, condescended to, or treated differently because of something that is completely out of my control.

The moral of the story is that transgender people should not be treated differently because of their appearance.

What is Transphobia?

It was Albert Einstein who said “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it.”

Here’s the simple explanation:
Transphobia is a range of negative actions (like discrimination or violence) and negative feelings (disgust, hatred, anger, discomfort, or dislike) towards transgender people. 

Dictionary definitions:


Transphobia- irrational fear of, aversion to, or discrimination against transgender people.

Oxford Definition

Transphobia- Dislike of or prejudice against transgender people.

Some concepts are far too complex to be defined in one or two sentences in a dictionary. What deserves at least a few paragraphs of explanation has to be abridged into a brief definition. Which means the meaning of the word can have a far greater and more complex meaning.

“But I’m not transphobic! I’m not afraid of you, I don’t have a transphobia.”

Phobia -an extreme or irrational fear of or aversion to something.

Aversion-a strong dislike or disinclination. 

Synonyms: dislike of, antipathy for, distaste for, abhorrence of, hatred of, detestation of, hostility toward; reluctance toward, unwillingness for.

People who use the “it’s not a phobia” argument ignore how nuances in language define words with the suffix of phobia. Yes, phobia as a noun that stands on its own is used in common language to mean “an extreme fear”, although both fear and aversion are part of the definition. However, when phobia is applied as a suffix, it’s meaning becomes more fluid. The motives behind arachnophobia are certainly different than the motives behind something like xenophobia. A phobia of an animal is pretty straightforward, but social and cultural phobias are more complicated. The way humans interact with each other in societal, cultural, religious, and other contexts requires a more complex psychological understanding than a fear of spiders. 

Transphobia is the word for a range of negative attitudes, feelings (disgust, anger, hatred, discomfort, etc) or actions towards transgender people. We can argue with Merriam-Webster all we want but in the English language, that is the word given that defines these attitudes. There is no complete exhaustive list of actions or attitudes that are considered transphobic, but here are some:

-Believing that trans people are not their “real” gender. Ex. Transgender men are not “real” men.

-The belief that gender is defined by assigned sex, chromosomes, or genitalia.

-Deliberate and repeated refusal to use the correct pronouns or name for a transgender person.

-Exclusion of transgender people from gendered spaces (bathrooms, locker rooms), gendered activities, or gendered organizations.

-Discomfort around transgender people, treating them differently that their cis peers and colleagues, or discussing their trans status behind their back. 

-Asking about genitalia or plans to get any surgery.

-Belief that being transgender is a mental illness.

-Belief that non-binary identities do not exist.

Phrases like:
-“I didn’t know you were trans, you look so attractive!” (Insinuating that being cis or cis passing makes someone more attractive, or that trans people are inherently more unattractive.)

-“Did you just assume my gender?”

-“I identify as an attack helicopter.”

-Slurs like, “He-she” “it” “tranny” etc.

Is the Left an Echo Chamber?

Myth: The left is one big echo chamber filled with the same kind of people all agreeing with each other with no new or contradictory ideas. 

Contrary to popular belief, there is a fair amount of infighting in the left. And by a fair amount, I mean a lot. However, despite how annoying it is to argue, I would take the infighting any day over having an echo chamber. A group of people who all think exactly the same and exile anyone who doesn’t follow the collective groupthink is dangerous. “Groupthink” is a psychological phenomenon that occurs in groups of people where conformity and harmony within the group is valued over critical thinking and individuality, which results it irrational decision-making. A group like this values conformity so much that it becomes an echo chamber of confirmation bias where all dissenters are cast out. So when I say I’m happy about the infighting, that’s why. I still very much believe in left unity, and I believe that having a fractured left that fights more with itself than it does fighting racists and Neo-Nazis is a problem. However, a group that compromises its own values for the sake of keeping the groupthink intact is no group to be a part of.

What I don’t understand is why the right views the left as an echo chamber. I believe the misconception stems from the idea that everyone on the left agrees with each other and all share the same values. Like I said, there is plenty of infighting, but having a group of people that all generally agree or hold the same values is kind of what a political party is. That’s what it means to share the same political ideology. That doesn’t make it an “echo chamber”. Another reason the left might be viewed as an echo chamber is because we believe in respecting everyone’s identity. It’s isn’t that there is no dissent or free exchange of ideas, we’re just above arguing over whether everyone deserves the same rights. 

On one hand, the right argues that we are too diverse, and on the other hand, they argue we are all the same and exist in an echo chamber. Yet, it’s people on the right who believe that only one religion deserves respect, only one language must be spoken, only one sexuality (heterosexual) deserves rights and representation, and that everyone must fit into strict and narrow boxes of what gender is and isn’t. The left embraces diversity, and it embraces all cultures, races, religions, genders, and sexualities. It’s not the left that wants to ban Muslims from entering the country, or that gets angry when someone doesn’t speak English, or when a transgender person gets to go the bathroom in target, or when a man holds another mans hand, or if a child plays with dolls instead of cars. No, it’s not the left that demands conformity and obedience to the status quo. Because the right has “traditional” and “conservative” values, there’s no room for growth, no room for progress, and no room for individuality or difference. 

On the left, you can sit in a room with people who don’t look, act, talk, and think exactly like you, yet all have respect for each individual identity. So, tell me again which is the echo chamber?