I wasn’t going to do this.
I wasn’t going to once again tell you that LGBT Pride is important and necessary for the same reason that Black History Month, Women’s History Month, and [insert minority here] Month are. (That history was written by white men who at best wrote off any not-straight activity as mere fraternal rites.) I wasn’t planning on reminding you that some of the most important people in my life are gay. I never even thought to tell you about the wonderful humans I met and worked with at the Broadway Youth Center, fighting to change the world one at risk kid at a time.
I didn’t want to do any of this, but then Orlando happened.
Orlando happened and I saw more beautiful reactions than i ever would have expected. I was proud to be an ally to this community that banded together worldwide, standing with their brothers and sisters, not letting a bigoted act of violence stop them from living the life they deserve to live. I saw the responses of hate that I’m depressed to admit I expect from these situations: xenophobia, racism, religious ridicule, homophobia. I saw people offer prayer and money and blood. I saw professional perpetrators of hate act as no god I know would ask them to, but there were angels to block them.
I don’t know what it’s like to limit my public displays of affection to certain neighborhoods, lest I be attacked for showing someone love. I don’t know what it’s like to wear a hijab and feel sidelong glances of nervous fliers on a plane, wondering if I’m one of the bad ones. I don’t know what it’s like to be hit with a fist or a rock or a bullet.
But I do know what it is to love, to lose, to be afraid, to be Human.
So I decided to write this. I decided to tell you that until history and love are equal, Pride matters. I decided to send a message to my LGBT friends and family that I love you today as much as I did before I knew what made your privates tingle -hell, I probably love you more.
I decided to tell my Muslim friends that I’m sorry. I’m sorry you have to live in a world where you are judged and marginalized because the zealots of your religion. I’m sorry for their ignorance and thank you for teaching me about your faith (and continuing to answer my questions about when the hell Ramadan is every year).
It’s easy to cite guns or Republicans or Democrats or immigration or religion or hate or any single word that can explain away our collective grief. It’s easy, but it’s wrong.
This happened and keeps happening because people like me stay quiet. We pay our friends on the back for living proudly and standing up for their rights, but don’t join them. We hear hate speech and shake our heads, but we don’t call the speaker on their bullshit. We can’t imagine what it’s like to live on the margins, and we don’t try to.
I’m not saying straight, white Christians are the answer to solving homophobia and hatred – I’m just saying that two voices, no matter their source, are louder than one.
Happy Pride, my loves.