Sum It Up Sunday - Take Pride
It’s now June and that means it’s Pride Month. For those of you unaware of why there are rainbow covered parades and activities this month, they commemorate the Stonewall riots, which occurred at the end of June 1969.
I want to say this loud and clear: I am not gay, lesbian, trans or nonbinary. I am, however, an ally. I do what I can to support the community whole-heartedly. I haven’t been hated, hurt, thrown out of my family home, beaten and or even killed as have LBGTQ folks for just wanting to love who they love. I will never fully understand that fear that makes “coming out” so hard to do.
The History of Stonewall
Stonewall was a bar where gay, lesbian and gender non-conforming folks could gather during a time when you could be arrested for homosexual acts. There was even a New York criminal statute that authorized the arrest of anyone not wearing at least three articles of gender-appropriate clothing. There had been other protests by gay groups before the riot, but this was perhaps the first time lesbians, gays, and transgender people saw the value in uniting behind a common cause. Occurring as it did in the context of the civil rights and feminist movements, the Stonewall riots became a galvanizing force.
What happened that night, led by gay liberation activist and self-identified drag queen Marsha P. Johnson, was an honest expression of these very human, folks being fed up with being treated as lesser-than, not-right, and unwell.
Through the Ages
History is filled with LBGTQ folks, from the writer Oscar Wilde, who was arrested, found guilty, and sentenced to two years of hard labor for homosexual acts, to Hermaphroditus, a child of Hermes and the goddess Aphrodite who as a youth encountered the nymph Salmacis, who attempted to seduce them and asked the gods that their forms be permanently joined, and Florence Nightingale who revolutionize the field of nursing and the military hospital conditions.
For the Indigenous Peoples of the Americas, before they were occupied by Europeans, historically there were 3 genders. Two-Spirit was the ceremonial name given to them, with focus on their spiritual gifts, and holding them up as leaders or spiritual teachers.
I’ve known LBGTQ family, friends and coworkers. And, because 1 out of 10 people is considered LBGTQ, even if they don’t live their life that way, so does everyone else in the world. One of the saddest things I’ve ever seen was in a park in Kansas City Missouri. I’d been running in that park for several months, and one day I had a friend join me for a hike. That’s when I noticed it.
There were several cars parked, backed into their spaces, with a lone, white, older male inside. And I realized that this was a clandestine meeting spot. I felt so sad for them. They were all probably married, Christian and hiding who they really were. What made it even more tragic is that KCMO is a very LBGTQ friendly city. Yet these men couldn’t or wouldn’t live as who they really were.
I can’t even imagine having to hide who I am and who I love. That is why no matter who you are, how you identify with concern to your gender or sexuality, I don’t care. As in, you do you, boo. I want everyone to be happy, healthy and honest about who they are.
So I will go to a Pride parade, wear rainbow-colored ally T-shirts, attend weddings and baby showers where there is a groom and groom or mom and mom. I will give a hug to anyone who needs it. I will, hopefully, amplify the voices of those who are out and proud, like Bitchy Vegan Homo and Queer Chocolatier.
And if you are not ready to take that step, I’ll support you as well. I don’t know the courage it takes to do that, and want you to know that you are loved.
Love isn’t black or white. It’s a rainbow.