This summer I was having lunch with a friend when I mentioned my son had attended his first gay pride parade. I cannot recall the whole context of the conversation but I do remember feeling the sting when I heard her say “they don’t have to rub it in our face.”
Now this is my dear friend, I am certain she meant no harm, she loves me and my children dearly. I have not one but two gay children, she has never shown any feelings of disfavor for either them. So to hear her say this caught me off guard and I said nothing. Yet it haunted me. I had planned on speaking with her about it but then the “estrangement” happened between me and my daughter and I was preoccupied.
The Gay Pride Movement began in June 1969 when lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals marched in protest following a police raid on a bar called the Stonewall Inn in New York City. It was a gay bar and they felt they were being targeted. Repression and abuse in the LGBT community was common then and in many instances still is today. In June 1970 Chicago Gay Liberation Day marked the one year anniversary of the Stonewall raid.
In 1998 Matthew Shepard was murdered for simply being gay. The year my son was born. I remember this story and I will never forget it or how it made me feel.
June 2016 Orlando, Florida 49 killed in the Pulse Gay Nightclub Shooting.
January 2018 Blaze Bernstein age 19 murdered because he was gay.
Why such hate against someone who is different from you? Why can’t people just let others live their lives? They are not hurting anyone, they just want to love who they want to love and live in peace.
History is filled with hate crimes against those with different religious beliefs, different races, nationalities and genders. In 2014 the FBI reported that the LGBT community was at the highest risk for hate crimes in the United States. Why?
Religious fanatics will thump their bibles and preach about how it’s a sin and my children will go to hell. I got news for you, I don’t care what you are preaching or what you believe. I believe my God loves all people no matter who they love. Those that waste their breath quoting the Bible are hypocrites. God made them who they are. Why cast judgment and isn’t that against the teachings of your bible?
My children are the most loving, caring human beings you will ever meet. My daughter is sensitive, funny and willing to help anyone. My son is passionate about human and animal rights and always thoughtful and kind. They have hearts full of beauty. They bring me such love and pride. I wish them health, love and happiness.
I fear for my son. Not so much for my daughter. Society seems to be more acceptable of lesbian relationships. Perhaps this is more because of our male population and how they view two females together. But society is not so accepting of gay men. I don’t want to tell my son he cannot hold his partner’s hand or show affection for him in public. Yet I do say, “be careful.” I hate that I have to fear for him. I hate that society has such evil within it. That everything we do now has a risk to our life. That hate is so prevalent. It should not be this way.
My dear friend, the parade is not for the LGBT community to shove in your face. It is for them to say, we are here. We are not ashamed, we are not hiding. We are normal people like you who want to be happy and love who we want to love. We have the right to walk down the street holding hands, we have the right to kiss who we love, we have the right to go to clubs without fear, we want to marry who we love, we can dress how we want to dress. We have the right to live. We are human too.
They have a parade because they want to be seen and they need to be heard to stand up for their basic human rights. They want the freedom to live and love without fear of being harassed, attacked or killed for who they are.
Thankfully the rest of us don’t need a parade for that.
Hate is ugly and takes so much work and energy. Love is beautiful and is so much easier. I could not walk around carrying so much hostility and aggression toward anyone and call myself free. One of the best quotes I can recall on hate was spoken by the great Martin Luther King Jr.,”I have decided to stick with love…Hate is too great a burden to bear.”
I think the world could certainly benefit by loving more and hating less.
“We chase the melodies that seem to find us
Until they’re finished songs and start to play
When senseless acts of tragedy remind us
That nothing here is promised, not one day.
This show is proof that history remembers
We lived through times when hate and fear seemed stronger;
We rise and fall and light from dying embers, remembrances that hope and love last longer
And love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love cannot be killed or swept aside.
I sing Vanessa’s symphony, Eliza tells her story
Now fill the world with music, love and pride.“