I have no idea when it started, although I have a pretty good guess...*coughs loudly* the 2016 election—but a lot of people are confused on the difference between an opinion and outright bigotry. An opinion is that spaghetti is the best food in the world. Saying that illegal immigrants have no right in this country or that trans women are not women, is not an opinion—it's bigotry, and you cannot change my mind. Period.
You don’t have to identify with any political party to know when you’re being, for lack of better term, a total assh*le. It should not be hard to tell when your "opinion" is teetering dangerously close to the edge of being disrespectful to someone else’s existence. And when you hold such a belief so strongly, it is not only hard to take you seriously, but it is also hard to be friends with you without remembering the fact that you hold such problematic beliefs. Like...you really think that way? Seriously?
I personally do not think that bigotry is an opinion, but of course there are people who do, specifically because they do not see it as bigotry (which is, again, in my opinion obscenely dense, but that is neither here nor there). The people who say things like, “I don’t understand transgender people, so I’m just going to call them the pronouns I feel like,” truly believe that doing so is an opinion. Like, they think that's it. Can you imagine? I could go on for hours on how that is transphobic and wrong, but I’d rather break it down in the simplest of terms to save you reading time, and my fingers the pain of angrily slamming the keyboard.
First and foremost there is such thing as a wrong opinion when it's based on the belief that something you "don’t understand" should not exist, or that a group of people completely separate from your own does not have the right to humility and respect. And hiding behind the skirt of a political party will not ever change that. You can not say horrible things about groups of people relating to their race, sexuality and/or religion (or anything else in between), and pass them off as "political opinions," or opinions in general. It doesn’t work that way.
Of course, everyone has the right to say and feel however they want, but that does not necessarily mean that they should. Of course you can't change how people feel, but you can choose to not associate with them because they are just not nice people.
I am a Black woman, an LGBT-ally, pro-immigrant rights and everything else under the sun. I find it extremely hard to be friends with anyone who thinks that we should "build a wall" or detain mothers, fathers and children just because they came to this country for a better life. I think trans women should be able to use the bathroom they feel most comfortable with. I also believe that the police unfairly target unarmed Black Americans and Black Lives WILL ALWAYS MATTER. I can not be friends with someone who feels the opposite. And that's on period. Argue with your wall.
Call it what you will—intolerance for different viewpoints—whatever. But I hold myself accountable for the company I keep. And while I am not someone to get "too political," I also think that everything, in a way, is political. My life as a Black woman is political. The lives my gay and trans friends live is political. The lives my undocumented friends and their families live is political. I will never shut my mouth about any of it.
You can 100% be on the wrong side of history. I know it's impossible to make anyone see that what they are saying is wrong on many levels, but I make the choice not to surround myself with people who do not respect others. As a minority in many categories, an opinion is never just an opinion. It can be dehumanizing and violent. If you refuse to see that, well, you're just wrong babe.