It is the 4th of July, and America has come a long way.
From 13 colonies declaring their independence, and therein forming the United States of America, to now, much has changed, but the essence is the same.
Our protests have come a long way. Our protests at this important moment, of Black Lives Matter, of living with Pride, of Indigenous rights, and of rights to freedom for humans and non-human animals, are what shapes the turbulence and beauty of American history.
However, what is this freedom?
There is no freedom without agency, without the capacity to choose.
And millions of Americans lack this agency to discover themselves – many black, indigenous, queer and poor babies have little to no agency. Amidst caring about survival, basic needs and systemic injustices, there is little time and resources left for discovering themselves, their sexual lives and sexuality.
What needs to thrive for creation of this capacity?
Well, an end to systemic injustice, and liberation of all living beings. But while we are going there, what also needs to exist is affordable, inclusive and accessible mental health care, public amenities systems, and tools to empower themselves.
By tools, we mean that people should not have to struggle and search to discover resources and help for their sex and sexuality. They should not have to struggle to realize that it is okay to desire sex, and it is okay not to desire sex. They should not feel embarrassed to ask questions. And while we have had major wins when it comes to how we talk about sex, there still is a long way to go.
A window for opportunities
Fortunately, while the foundation of America is still rooted in systemic oppression, we have had a robust and strong civil society to provide us the space to create these possibilities, of a new 4th of July, with total freedom and liberation.
2019 saw the most diverse class of lawmakers in history sworn into Congress. According to data by Pew Research Centre, there has been an 84% increase over the 107th Congress of 2001-03, which had 63 minority members. 116 lawmakers today are nonwhite (including blacks, Hispanics, Asians/Pacific Islanders and Native Americans).
Recognition and inclusion
The city of Philadelphia adopted a rainbow flag with added black and brown colours, to indicate racial disparity within the LGBTQ+ community.
A new way of looking at sex
The sex-positive movement is picking up – more people are embracing a healthy outlook towards sex and sexuality, and valuing communication, consent, honesty, spirit of exploration, and going beyond the norm.
Freedom to explore sexuality
We are recognising more and more gender identities and sexual orientations, with various social media as well as employment hubs giving multiple options. And while we have faced legal hurdles, like Trump banning protections for trans people in Healthcare, we have had people actively opposing it and taking it to the court of law, with positive outcomes like Supreme Court giving federal protections to trans workers, and challenging the definition of sex itself.
America has always been in a revolution – it is time to embrace the revolution and create our spaces ourselves.