Recently, I read an article which made me even more aware of how, throughout much of my life, society reflected my lifestyle as a heterosexual female. I could date boys/men openly, hold hands with them – even kiss them – in public, without too much undo attention or reactions. When I watched all those “feel good” Christmas movies, I could predict that they would almost always end the same way – the man and the woman would discover that they are actually in love and get married. The majority of advertisements pertaining to families, whether on television or on bill boards, reflected the family I grew up in – husband, wife, children. The books that I read and the music that I listened to almost always focused on heterosexual relationships and love – break ups, make ups, weddings, living happily ever after – or any part thereof. The baby outfits I knitted were pink for baby girls and blue for baby boys. It was easy to see my lifestyle and my relationships reflected around me.
What I was unaware of for many of my younger years was the extent to which this didn’t apply to everyone. As I got older, and hopefully a little wiser, I realized the many segments of society which had been ignored, or worse, condemned and discriminated against. This being Pride Week, let me focus on one such segment – the LGBTQ+ community. Even though there is wide diversity amongst humans, in sexual orientation and gender identities, as a society we have been (and many still are) quick to condemn anyone who did not conform to our heterosexual images. To this day, many same-sex couples are not comfortable holding hands in public, for fear of being ridiculed or worse. Obtaining legal and medical rights has been an ongoing struggle. Yes, I know that things have been slowly changing, but the changes are recent and there is much that still needs doing. In some ways, we are going backward. Lately, we seem to be surrounded yet again by comments and actions that are full of hate, discrimination, and violence. Laws are being repealed instead of being strengthened. By the time you read this article, it will be August 26, and the Greater Moncton Pride Parade will be taking place at 1:30. And no doubt someone will make the following observation: “I’m okay with you all being gay, but why do you have to flaunt it in the streets? You don’t see straight people doing that!” That, by the way, is the comment that was the focus of the article I mentioned earlier, the article that inspired me to reflect on my life.
I would like to conclude my reflections by quoting part of the author’s reaction to that statement, his concluding paragraph: “So, if you’re a straight person and you’re finding yourself perplexed by the pride celebrations taking place in your city this year, stop and remember that you get to live out and proud every single day without fear, without oppression, and without even thinking about it. That is a unique gift that majority of LGBT+ people have never gotten to experience. Think about all of the hurdles to equality that still exist in our nation, and the trauma that so many LGBT+ people have faced simply because of who they are or who they love. And as you reflect on the reality of LGBT+ people, I hope you begin to realize the importance and power of pride, and perhaps will even decide to pick up a rainbow flag and stand on the sidelines cheering on your local LGBT+ community as they fearlessly express their beauty in your community.”
If you would like to read the full article, the author is Brandon Robertson and the article is titled Why Pride? An Explanation for Straight People. It can be found on ProgressiveChristianity.org – Spiritual networking and resources for an evolving faith. https://progressivechristianity.org/resources/why-pride-an-explanation-for-straight-people/
Hopefully, I’ll see you at the parade. Don’t forget to bring your rainbow flag!