On this grand and glorious day of celebration, I seek to help us remember how far we have come and not lose sight of how we have accomplished getting to where we are!
I’m moved to make this request because, in the last 24 hours, a conversation took place on FB that involved language that I felt was violent. A LGBTQ activist used the terms “racist,” “charlatan” and “bigot” to describe a community leader. I felt frustrated and saddened because for decades the Gay community has been a leader in creating cultures of peace and understanding in the midst of exceptional anger and fear.
We — the LGBTQ community — are the happy people! Using violent language and judging another individual doesn’t embrace the values of Gay Pride. Judgmental, violent language isolates and backs people into corners, forcing people to become entrenched in defending their positions. Our need for equality doesn’t get met. When we use violent language we are hurting others and, in turn, hurting ourselves. Gay Pride – to me, is making a connection – a heart-to-heart connection. It’s all about the love!
I too feel angry, frustrated and concerned when people espouse points of view that are in direct conflict with my set of values. I feel absolutely compelled to act decisively and quickly when I discover a teenager has been thrown out of his or her house or after learning someone has been beaten to death or someone has been shot. I have a need to make a difference and i am so tired of the violence. Can you relate? Today the path i choose is peace.
I want marriage equality. I want equality and justice for all. I want us all to be safe. I want our kids to grow up in loving and life-enriching environments at home, at school, in the neighborhoods they play, the movie theaters they attend and the places they buy their blue jeans and ipods. It is my belief you want this too. Are you willing to choose peace?
If ending violence means having to change how I speak, or finding a path to compassion and empathy for others with whom I don’t agree – I will do that and I will practice doing it minute-by-minute, day-by-day, as the weeks turn into months and months into years until I can be the change I want to see in the world. What steps are you taking to end violence and creating a culture of peace?
I’ve evolved. I’m not the individual I was three months ago, three or 30 years ago. My evolution has sometimes been quick and sometimes not. Day-by-day, I am learning to treat others in a manner in which I wish to be treated. Will you stand with me and open the doors of opportunity for others to walk through as new and evolved individuals?
As an active member of the Gay Community I’ve watched us be angry, hurt and sad and yet have the capacity to rise with grace and dignity and respond with love, peace and understanding. On this weekend, let’s recommit to being examples of a community of peace in the midst of exceptional violence. Let’s be the models of the change we wish to see in the world. Let’s make a choice to use language that connects with people’s hearts. Are you willing to be the change you wish to see in the world? Are you willing to choose peace?
Long Live our Legacy of Creating a Culture of Peace and Understanding.