On Going to Pride: Outsiders and Disrupters

Let me introduce myself.

I’m a divorced woman.

I’m a poet and writer.

I’m a dog owner.

I’m a mother.

I’m a book reader.

I’m a sister.

I’m a broccoli-disliker and a nacho-lover.

I’m a music listener.

I’m a college graduate.

I’m a cat owner.

I’m an aunt.

I’m an educator.

I’m a traveler.

I’m a daughter.

I’m a TV watcher.

I’m a car driver.

I’m an exercise avoider, but I try to do it anyway.

I’m a grandma-to-be.

I’m straight.

I’m going to Pride today.

To the LGBTQ+ community: I am attending your event because I support everyone on their path – in love, life, career, safety, and community. Pride is not about me nor is it for me per se. I get that. To be really honest, I probably would not come out today on my own. My middle school son is gay, and he wants to come. So, I’m there to support him. I have college-age son who is gay, and so I’m there because I want him to be safe everywhere: on campus, in a club, walking down a street.

I read a couple of articles this week that suggested that because I’m straight, I do not understand what it is to be gay. Right. That’s true. As is the reverse. Being whoever you are is unique to you; we are lucky or blessed to find communities in which we can be ourselves and feel safe in doing so. And, for LGBTQ+ persons, that experience is rare, especially inside a society that finds it easier to look on those who are “other” as some kind of zoo exhibit. I am there (and I’m sure there are others) as a straight person who cares about the kind of world we have now and for the future.

To the would-be protesters and disrupters: Stay the fuck home. I would be willing to bet that the last community event that was held for a group you are a part of, no one protested or disrupted. When was the last time a group of anyone bounced into your gathering with mean-spirited signs, rude gestures, and yelling? I’d be willing to bet it was never. My mother and grandmother used to say, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”  And, yeah, I get the tiredness of that cliché, but that doesn’t make it any less.

You are protesting who someone is. Think about that for a minute. No, really. Pause and think about it. You have actively sought out people in order to protest who they are. Your intent is what? To intimidate them into being who they are not? To drive them underground? To assuage some sort of undefined fear you have? How about I seek you out and protest that fact that you are heterosexual? Shall I throw epithets at you because you have brown hair? How’d you like threatening signage to greet you in your community because your family is third generation from Norway? Think about it. Stay home.

To everyone: if you have read this post, you realize that I am not digging into the myriad of serious issues around Pride and the LGBTQ+ community. I do not have authenticity of voice to do that. Sure, I could spend some sentences whining about how I’m an ally and now I read that the LGBTQ+ community objects to my being at Pride or wants to devalue me in some way or even downright doesn’t want me at Pride.  Wait, so if I feel marginalized and not included for who I am and how I’m living . . . whoa, did I just have a second of actually walking in someone else’s shoes?

Look back at my introductory list, you will find that whoever you are, you probably have more in common with me than you think.

Regardless of sexual identity, we all have things in common. And, if we can start with the things we all love and care about, I want to hope that the differences will fall away like so much dross at the end of the day.

Let’s try at least. Love.

Happy Pride to everyone.

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