3 July 2016

Pride in the Name of All Love

I was trying one day not so long ago, to explain to someone what privilege meant and why there was a Gay pride parade or week. Many people see it as a glorification of one lifestyle over another and actively seek to disavow it. We saw the rise of the hash tag #heterosexualprideday on Twitter last week and it was almost laughable if the people projecting it weren't so serious. I hate to deflate their very tiny minds, but it's like when a kid asks on Mother's/Father's Day," When is kids day?" You pat their heads and say, "That's everyday sweetie, here's a cookie." It bothered me because I have never had to worry about what people would think about who I love. I never had to consider whether my sexuality would cost me a place to live, work or affect the safety of my body. I cannot even begin to understand how it must feel to grow up under a system that actively calls who you are into question and many times damns you for being true to yourself. I will not pretend to know the fear of coming out to those closest to you and holding your breathe waiting for their reaction. But what I can do is say I'm with you. I stand beside you, supporting you and loving you. Not loving you no matter who you love, because that quantifies and degrades a persons' love for another. I love you as a person, whole and open hearted. Families exist in all shapes and forms, anyone who wants to impose their narrow minded view of what that is needs to be shouted down. Ignoring people who spew hatred based on anyones' sexuality, colour, creed or ability is as bad as watching someone beat another person up and doing nothing. Recently deceased Nobel Prize winner and Concentration camp survivor Elie Weisel put it best in his speech at the White House in 1999 :
"In a way, to be indifferent to that suffering is what makes the human being inhuman. Indifference, after all, is more dangerous than anger and hatred. Anger can at times be creative. One writes a great poem, a great symphony, one does something special for the sake of humanity because one is angry at the injustice that one witnesses. But indifference is never creative. Even hatred at times may elicit a response. You fight it. You denounce it. You disarm it. Indifference elicits no response. Indifference is not a response.
Indifference is not a beginning, it is an end. And, therefore, indifference is always the friend of the enemy, for it benefits the aggressor -- never his victim, whose pain is magnified when he or she feels forgotten. The political prisoner in his cell, the hungry children, the homeless refugees -- not to respond to their plight, not to relieve their solitude by offering them a spark of hope is to exile them from human memory. And in denying their humanity we betray our own.
Indifference, then, is not only a sin, it is a punishment. And this is one of the most important lessons of this outgoing century's wide-ranging experiments in good and evil. "
  I no longer think that it is enough to just stand by and silently support our family and friends in this diverse community. Being silent while bigots, homophobes and racists of all shapes and under various forms of religious and secular cover spew their particular brand of hatred is as bad as doing it yourself. Saying stuff like "Love the sinner, hate the sin" is at best passive aggressive and at worst condemning a person for who they love and wish to share their lives with. Supporting any organization that targets people for their sexual orientation is the same as participating in that discrimination yourself. Giving them your money or time means you condone their beliefs whether you do or not. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you can't be a supporter of any organization that actively demeans anyone without getting some of that stain of intolerance on your own soul. You have the right to believe whatever you want, but that right does not extend to anyone else and their lives. I am not sure who these people think they are fooling, but their power is waning and their time is up.
So today and everyday I say to my family and friends who are gay, straight or somewhere they are not sure of yet that I love you and I will stand with you no matter the cause. As long as we come together under the banner of tolerance and humanity, nothing can stop us from changing the world. Raise your rainbow flag, head on out to your local events and show the world that you are part of the changing future, not the hatred of the past. Speak up, love and support those who struggle in their lives and lend a shoulder, a hand and your voice to the rising chorus that will drown out those who choose to spew hate at anyone. Love yourself for who you are and embrace the people around you with passion and commitment. The world is better with more open hearts and love will win, have no doubt, I promise you.

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