We're excited to introduce you to Maria, one of our high school staff members! She will be writing a bi-weekly column for us, and we're really happy to feature her perspective at Creating Iris. You'll be able to find all of Maria's posts by clicking on her name to the right. - Ed.
Hi! My name is Maria and I’m a sixteen year old girl who will be writing a biweekly column (perhaps weekly in the summer, when I’m out of school and my schedule isn’t so hectic :) ) here at Iris! I’d like to talk about what my column will encompass, but first, let me share a bit about myself. I’m sensitive, reflective and quiet, but outspoken on issues I feel passionate about. I love reading, writing, and fashion. I’m absolutely crazy about playing the guitar (in the classical style), and one of my dreams for the future is to be a performing classical guitarist (a big goal, but one I so want to accomplish!).
Also, as a straight, cis-gender girl, I must say that I am not a member of the LGBTQ+ community. However, it is my sincere hope that my column will be a supportive space for discussion of issues that are important to everyone who believes in equal rights for all. I have had several close friends come out to me as LGBTQ+ within the past year; in addition, I am the proud sister of a wonderful woman who identifies as a lesbian. They have all inspired me beyond words with their bravery and strength in a world that can be prejudiced and harsh. As they have all been hurt by homophobia and discrimination, I have witnessed firsthand the detrimental effects of bigotry in our society, and I feel I have a responsibility to peacefully combat this terrible dynamic. Especially given that some of my loved ones are struggling with bullying, or with coming out to parents and friends, I can only hope that this column will be reflective of a new generation of people of ALL backgrounds working together to ensure a more inclusive future. In this space I hope you will find nuanced, thoughtful treatment of topics relevant to social equity on all levels—I hope to discuss primarily issues that directly affect the LGBTQ+ community as a whole, but I also intend to add reflections on political issues such as feminism that affect everyone. It is my personal belief that those who advocate for the rights of one oppressed group will frequently advocate for those of another, and with that in mind I think it important that the IRIS blogging community (and the LGBTQ+ community at large) demonstrate their support for others facing injustice and discrimination. In the words of Martin Luther King Jr., “an injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” To me, this quote aptly summarizes what I feel as an ally to the LGBTQ+ community: it is beholden on all of us to make a safer, better world for others, because only then can any of us realize our full potential.