As I think about the world that I hope my children will live in, I realize that it is not the world that currently exists. I feel naïve, but I would love my children to live in a world of peace and love, a non violent world with acceptance. Not to say that everyone has to believe in the same things, live the same way, or never experience conflict but that there would be a level of respect that even through our differences there is peace.
I have a distinct memory of coming home from my first day of fourth grade at my new Lutheran school and telling my mom that all of the kids in my class said that Mr. Kevin (the music teacher) was gay. This thrust my mom into having a conversation that she may not have been ready for, however with absolute simplicity she told me what it meant and then stated, “God makes some people gay and some people not gay.” And that was that. No further explanation needed. Imagine my surprise as I grew up and learned that not everyone believed this, and that some people hated and killed others just because of the way God created them and yet others even used God as a defense for their hatred and violent acts. However, no matter what people have said, the violence that I have witnessed or Bible verses that are quoted, I hear my mom, on that hot August day in 1985 in our kitchen saying “God makes some people gay and some people not gay.” For the rest of my childhood and today I believe these to be words of wisdom, love and truth.
23 years after having that conversation with my mom, I fell in love and became part of the LGBT community, my girlfriend, who is my husband now, is Transgender. Going from being an accepting and loving LGBT ally and becoming part of this world was very different, but beautiful experience. June 2008 was my first PRIDE month and first PRIDE parade. Being a part of such a huge event in Chicago is powerful, seeing so many other couples that are like you makes you feel like you fit in, like you are normal, no questions, no stares, everyone there is celebrating who they are, who they were made to be.
As I look back on that PRIDE event with special memories, it also makes me sad and it makes me ask, “When will it end, when will we no longer NEED PRIDE month and parades?” The need is still present because we, LGBT community are still not accepted, we are still seen as abnormal, we are still disowned by family and friends, we are still stared at, we are still judged, we are still seen as lower class, we are still hated, we are still attacked, we are still killed. And even for those who are accepted and loved the fear of coming out and sharing who you are with your family. friends, co- workers and church can be paralyzing, a fear that you have to experience to understand.
PRIDE will end once the LGBT community is accepted, not tolerated, but 100% accepted, when people don’t have to hide who they are, who they love or how they live. PRIDE will end when we don’t live in fear of being attacked by family, friends, co-workers, disowned by the church or receive sup par medical care. PRIDE will end when people look at each other and even through differences they love, accept and respect each other. PRIDE will end when we don’t need to gather together to feel normal or safe. When we don’t need to “come out” when we can just live, be accepted and loved. PRIDE will end when the fight for equal rights is over. PRIDE will end, not because we are no longer proud, but because we don’t HAVE to be proud of who we have been created to be.
I would love to have to explain to my children that June was once dedicated to the LGBT community and that PRIDE events were held all over the world in celebration, and to have my children think it is ridiculous that this ever needed to exist. I would love for my children to know the history of the LGBT fight, as just that, a part of American history, instead of current events.
It may not happen in my life or even my children’s lifetime, until it does, HAPPY PRIDE!