The freedom to be

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Sometimes I come to inhospitable places. Alleyways full of violent slang where anonymous voices, while insulting each other, whisper to me the dangers of being gay in Spain. Empty squares where I hear shouts of "be careful!", "danger!", "you are not wanted here!". You can hear it all amid the gnashing of teeth. Occasionally I turn to Twitter and am amazed at the parallel world some people tell me they live in on their screens and keyboards. I can't hold on for long; I come back to reality.

Between 85 and 95 percent of Spaniards say they accept homosexuality and equal marriage, according to the results of various studies conducted in recent years. It may seem unlikely, but this is one of the highest numbers in the world, showing the undeniable respect for sexual freedom and openness in Spanish society. It should be noted that these lists are all topped by Western countries. They vary in position, but Germany, France, Canada, Australia and the Scandinavians are always there. It is important to remember this, because it is precisely this West that is the target of constant attacks by certain movements.

Similarly, the reports on the quality of life of women are monopolized by the West without exception. In one of these reports, the Georgetown University report, Spain was in fifth place, until the change of management, in which we lost ten places. Regardless of coincidence or causality, the question that arises in this context is what causes some people to point out how badly we are doing precisely where we are doing best. What factors influence the perception of a part of Western society that a homosexual or a woman in Madrid, Stuttgart or Orihuela del Tremedal live in a little piece of hell on earth?

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It is clear that every rule has its exception. Homophobia in Spain, despite being residual, still leads to terrible aggressions and discriminations that are very worrying and that must be eliminated with all determination by law and without regression in education. Because a single aggression is already unacceptable. Because we must continue to be an example, and precisely because we are that example, we must not trivialize our rule of law, which should be a source of pride and not be the subject of unfounded criticism to the point of boredom, pursuing political objectives that have nothing to do with improving the living conditions of homosexuals.

The exception, by definition, can never be the rule. We must also not allow, as has been the case just in the last few weeks, that there are people and associations that manage to convey, through fear, that this exception is the rule. Because fear is free, but spreading it is dangerous. Fear blurs societies and, more importantly, it blurs individuals, it blurs the essence and feelings of each person. And this seems to be what some of these individuals and associations that declare themselves spokesmen for collectives have been striving for some time: to blur their members and turn them into numbers for their own proclamations.

Because a collective must never cease to be a free association of individuals with a common goal. We cannot accept that others who live from us, under the pretext of "protecting us", turn us into mere pixels hiding behind an entity that has no opinion about the use of our own being. Associations of acronyms identified in an office of political analysts who decide which people to group together to fulfill their electoral program.

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Let's defend the free association of people that is so necessary to achieve advances like equal marriage or same-sex adoption. Today, as these goals are achieved, the collectives, the voluntary groups of individuals (in this case LGBT), must be the guarantors of the maintenance of these rights, in the face of such dangerous and pathetic delusions as those of the Spanish ultra-right, which seek to direct pride to the suburbs. Because when a goal is achieved, the task of those who have fought for it is to defend it without seeking false dilemmas to take advantage of it, this and nothing else, to protect the freedom of what has been achieved. The freedom to be.

Because there is little point in belonging to a group that recognizes only part of you while trying to erase the rest. A group that uses its identity for personal goals is of little use. This blurs and manipulates its origins until it eventually creates a caricature in which the frictions of its members grow. Collectives are of little use unless they are free associations of individuals.

When this happens, which is all too often these days, we should be vigilant. Let's put aside the background noise, the false polemics, and the gnashing of teeth on Twitter and remember that it is only through the freedom of each individual that we can find our facets of freedom, the freedom to be.