Wednesday, June 22, 2022

What Pride Month Means to Me

I have been struggling with what to say in honor of Pride Month. On the one hand, I am not lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, or any other demographic that falls under the rainbow banner, and I have no right to speak for those people. What I can do is speak to why they have my unconditional love and support.

I know many people who face daily challenges of a magnitude inconceivable to those of us fortunate enough to be cis, straight, and otherwise conventional in identity and lifestyle. I have not always been sensitive to their plight. In my younger days I know I hit on women who were lesbian, probably more of them than I realized. I am grateful to those who admitted their preference, especially given the courage it took when you were in legitimate fear for your life from strangers. Sadly, this is still too often the case.

I am still learning the new vocabulary of our changing times, but I accept the challenge. It is the least I can do to be better informed, and become more empathetic. Too many people try and ride the fence when it comes to others who do not share their reality. “I don’t think it is any of my business” they say, believing that is somehow a comforting and acceptable response to learning of diversity in identity and lifestyle. It is not. It is condescending.

In no way are any of the rights and personal freedoms I enjoy eroded or compromised by extending those same rights to marginalized peoples. Let me say that again, louder, for those in the back: Extending to others the same freedoms and rights that I enjoy as a white, cis, straight male, in no way deprives me of those rights. Please repeat that to yourself at will until you recognize it as truth. Thank you.

It is appalling and embarrassing to me that so many citizens are apparently convinced that the whole topic of transgender can be boiled down to “men wanting to play women’s sports.” Have you seen how we treat women? Do you honestly believe that any “man” would want to heap upon himself the restrictions, discomfort, and vulnerabilities endured by women, plus the hatred shown to transgendered persons, simply for the opportunity to “dominate” in athletics? Seriously? I know this is not the case because nearly every man I know will go to extraordinary lengths to avoid social ridicule, persecution, and emotional pain.

What I desire more than anything is for those who are consumed with affirming, defending, and protecting their identities, to have the freedom to do the things they were born to do, to achieve greatness without the needless social and political barriers and hostilities they currently face. If there are any rights that should be taken from people of privilege it is the right to hate speech, the right to politicize lives you know nothing about, and the right to deny anyone else the freedoms you already enjoy.

What does an ally look like, you ask? Openly proclaiming your allegiance is a good start. Putting your money where your mouth is helps even more. Ever heard of The Trevor Project? There are countless other charities, legal defense funds, and other affirming organizations that can use your financial donations. Use your social media to follow those individuals and organizations that are effective advocates and educators. Unfollow, unfriend, or block anyone who reveals themselves to be anything but an ally.

If you found this post uncomfortable, but read it through anyway, you have my sincere appreciation. You’ve taken a step towards something good. I guarantee that your life will be enriched beyond measure by getting to know others living different lives, with different identities. That rainbow still includes you, too, you know?

1 comment:

  1. ❤️ ๐Ÿงก ๐Ÿ’› ๐Ÿ’š ๐Ÿ’™ ๐Ÿ’œ ๐Ÿ–ค