INTERCONNECTIVITY IS OUR POWER. March 14, 2024 

Welcome to the latest ONLINE Knowledge and Power.

Knowledge and Power is a bi-weekly communication distributed exclusively to our ONLINE community. It is designed to empower you with important information and action.

In the March Bursting Through Bulletin, I wrote about the foreseeable death of 16-year-old Nex Benedict. Nex was an Oklahoma 10th grader who died at a pediatric hospital following a school bathroom fight. 

I shared that Nex was a straight-A student who liked animals and Minecraft in addition to self-identifying as nonbinary and using they/them pronouns. I connected it to my lived experience by recalling the times I feared for my life in my Iowa high school. 

I made an intentional choice to focus on Nex as a human being we could all know instead of a sensationalized headline because they were.  I made the intentional choice to connect Nex to my experiences 40 years ago to connect me, you, and US as the Bursting Through Community to Nex.

At its core, Bursting Through is about connections; how we are all connected, and what connects us. Seeing people connect to and through Bursting Through is my purpose.

My love of connecting things has been with me for quite some time. It first emerged when I became a passionate and masterful DOT to DOT enthusiast as a child. Few things made me happier than seeing something real and recognizable reveal itself from randomness. 

The adult term for DOT to DOT is interconnectivity.  Interconnectivity is simply defined as “to be or become mutually connected.”  It appears in our daily lives in things like wireless networks that allow our phones and computers to connect, a sports team we may mutually root for, or a profession.

Since Nex’s tragic and foreseeable death, I have been thinking almost nonstop about interconnectivity and how the open hate, rhetoric, and violence inflicted on the Queer community does not JUST impact the people who identify as LGBTQAI+. 

Pain, grief, anger, and fear do not understand how to target someone based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity. Even if they did, connections to the Queer Community are not as clear as they once were or as cut and dried as we once believed them to be.

How are we interconnected when we look at it through the lens of Allyship, the Queer Community, and those whose families and/or family members are Queer? What KNOWLEDGE do we need, what do we need to consider and how do we turn that KNOWLEDGE into actionable POWER?

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THE AMERICAN FAMILY IS DIVERSE

According to United States Census information there are 1.2 M same-sex households and 15% of them have children. That works out to about 292,000 children who have same-sex parents. 

NOTE: Official information about same-sex households and families is not easily available.  It hasn’t been that long since the Unites States Census has tried to capture that information and many people in the Queer Community remain reluctant to share this information with a government that is actively and openly attacking them.

Even if the census is 100% reflective of the American Queer family it doesn’t begin to address interconnectivity through the traditional, extended, or chosen family.  For example:

How many heterosexual couples are raising one or more self-identified Queer children?

How many heterosexual adults and children have LGBTQIA+ family members? I don’t just mean the obvious family connections with siblings, cousins, and aunts/uncles but also parents and grandparents. Many gay men and lesbians my age have biological children and grandchildren from a previous heterosexual marriage.

What about the chosen family?  In and out of the Queer community, people need to look outside bloodlines to find the proper understanding, support, affection, and safety.  How many straight kids with a love of music in a sports-minded home have found a chosen uncle in a music teacher? 

IT DOESN’T HAVE TO DIRECTLY AFFECT YOU TO AFFECT YOU.

Imagine yourself as a student sitting in a classroom and hearing:

About the Queer kid that just got jumped in the bathroom.

How the Queer kids are going to get their asses kicked if they show their faces at that night’s basketball game.

Smack talk and hate speech directed at the Queer kids.

It’s easy to imagine your terror if you are a member of the Queer Community. But what if you don’t identify as LGBTQ+ but your parents, sibling, uncle or another loved one does? 

You fear for their safety.

This is interconnectivity.  We are connected to the violence.

This situation is not specific to kids. We currently live in a country where a very similar conversation can be found in adult settings. Imagine yourself sitting in a coffee shop and hearing:

Parents proudly talk about how their kid disrespected the trans kid at school. 

How stupid it is that they had to use pronouns at their last business meeting. 

Smack talk and hate speech directed at the Queer Community.

Again you feel fear. You quickly realize they could be talking about your child, niece, nephew, sibling, aunt, uncle, boss, or next-door neighbor.  That impacts and influences your world. 

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INTERCONNECTIVITY IS OUR POWER.  

When I was around 25 someone I respected and admired told me if something did not directly affect him, his wife, or kids, then it didn’t matter.  To this day I remember being confused by his very confident view. I tried hard to embrace it because this person was older and in my eyes wiser but it never felt right.  

30 years later I understand why I disagreed with that person’s values and knew he was wrong even if I didn’t speak up. I have always felt and believed in interconnectivity even when I didn’t know what it was.  I always knew that something did not have to directly happen to me to be impacted by it. 

Through my lens, the power exists when we connect DOT to DOT.  Connecting the separate and seemingly unrelated dots to form something real and relevant creates power.  Connecting our DOTS is how Bursting Through formed and why it exists.  

Understanding how we are interconnected beyond our immediate family is POWERFUL.

Understanding that violence and hate inflicted on the Queer Community does not stop there because we are interconnected is POWERFUL.

Looking beyond the small definition of family and the many ways someone is and could be interconnected to the Queer Community is POWERFUL.

You, I and the interconnected Bursting Through Community is POWERFUL.

Knowing you are part of the solution and WE (ALLIES and the Queer Community) are the majority is POWERFUL.  

Adding more DOTS by inviting others to join the Bursting Through Movement is POWERFUL.

Sharing your KNOWLEDGE and POWER is POWERFUL.

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