I'm wearing a purple ribbon today. (I didn't own any purple clothing.) I'm wearing it for Tyler Clementi, Asher Brown, Seth Walsh, Justin Aaberg, Raymond Chase, Billy Lucas, Cody J. Barker, for kids who didn't make the news but suffered just as much. I'm wearing it because I pass for straight and could get away with silence but I don't want to. I'm wearing it because It Gets Better, but there's no excuse for it being so bad in the first place. I'm wearing it because JESUS FUCKING CHRIST PEOPLE, IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LOVING A MAN AND LOVING A WOMAN WORTH FUCKING HOUNDING SOMEONE TO DEATH OVER SERIOUSLY WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?
I'm wearing it because I'm pissed off and a little scared. After a few small steps toward equality, it seems like "Gay people: are we just going to let them get away with that?" articles and debates are becoming more prevalent in the media than they were last election cycle.
I'm also wearing it because the degree of cost, effort, and risk rounds down to just about zero. "Hooray," queer and gender-nonconformist youth around the world will exclaim, "some doofus put on a ribbon."
But so often the flip side of slactivism isn't activism but helplessness. I'm wearing a ribbon; I'm doing something. I'm reminding myself to donate to pro-equality causes. I'm reminding myself that tolerating and participating in casual homophobia and "that's so gay" and "I've got this ribbon but I want you all to know that I'm normal" are actions with consequences. I'm reminding myself that thinking good thoughts isn't much use unless you do something.
More than anything, I'm wearing a ribbon today because thousands of other people are wearing ribbons today, and every one of us is on the same side. One person with a ribbon is a slacktivist; thousands are a protest.