Wikipedia defines “empowerment” as “increasing the spiritual, political, social, or economic strength of individuals and communities. It often involves the empowered developing confidence in their own capacities.” Empowerment is a term that is often used too much and has become cliché. Yet at the same time it is a concept that best describes many situations.
Often times it is very difficult for a queer person to feel empowered when society is constantly telling them that they are abnormal and when our government does not repeal and continues to pass legislation that discriminates against queer individuals. When one is considered a second-class citizen by its government and others, it is hard to find the motivation to develop a confidence in oneself to seek and find a higher purpose. But to that end we must in spite of the obstacles thrown before us.
Dire consequences ensue to a queer individual that does not feel empowered. It results in a feeling of helplessness, creates anxiety and unresolved internal conflict. It also creates feelings of guilt due to the lack of motivation to help further the cause of equality thus causing one to simply sit on the sidelines and let external forces dictate what they shall be and how they shall function in society.
The basic premise of the concept of empowerment is “power.” We all have the power to change and create situations in our lives that will increase our “spiritual, political, social or economic strength.” We do not have to nor can we settle for someone else telling us who we shall be and what rights we shall and shall not have.
How does one create empowerment in their lives? We must all decide what is important to us and then live in harmony with those things. We must be willing to speak what it is that we hold true in our hearts and not care about what others think. We must make decisions based on our values and what we feel is important rather than what others think is important. We must not settle for less than what we deserve to make us happy.
Taken in aggregate, we can begin to create an environment in which a wave of change may overpower those that desire to maintain the status quo and relegate queer individuals to second-class status.
Have the confidence in your own capacity to change. Empower yourself!