I live in the south. My political opinions are notoriously unpopular. In fact, I have never been more unpopular with my political views than I have as of late. Here in south Georgia when I start talking about women’s issues, gun control, civil rights, immigration, LGBTQ rights, abortion, and my voting record I am met with unhappy faces.

I’ve made enemies of friends because I am not willing to bend my beliefs to save friendships.

In the past I have been asked why I am willing to lose friends over political opinion, it's ‘just politics’ people always seem to say, so I want to set the record straight. It isn’t ‘just politics,’ there is no such thing as ‘just politics,’ politics reflect who you are as a human being and what you value. They show what you value over other things, what comes first in your mind, what you truly find important or worthy of your time and your votes.

Certain issues, I am willing to lose friends over because I don’t need or want friends who project certain ideals.

I don’t want to be friends with someone who actively works against LGBTQ rights.

I don’t want to be friends with someone who cares more about limitless gun rights than they do about the rising death toll.

I don’t want to be friends with someone who refuses to acknowledge civil rights issues because they aren’t issues that affect them.

I don’t want to be friends with someone who thinks women should be subservient.

I don’t need, or want, these friends.

At the end of the day, politics reflect your value system. It shows where you place importance, and I don’t want to be friends with someone who doesn’t value other human beings over all else. That is what it comes down to for me, pure unadulterated empathy, and putting anything above the safety, happiness, and value of other human beings marks a distinct lack of empathy. I don’t want to be friends with that.

I’m sure the question will be raised “so you aren’t open to different viewpoints?” and the answer is: If your viewpoint involves pushing other human beings down, or threatening the livelihood and safety of those individuals, then no, I am not open to your viewpoint.

So, to all those friends I have lost along the way over LGBTQ rights, gun control, civil rights, women’s rights and more:

I’m not sorry about my political opinions, but I am sorry about yours.