What LGBT Pride means to me as an ally and as a human being:
It means we all have the same worth, we are all equal, and we all have the right to live a happy life.
I decided already many years ago to always speak up when hearing slurs from people around me, be it about race, gender, religion, or sexual orientation. I make a point in never letting a slur pass me by without a comment, a protest, a discussion, a full on rage-filled thermo-nuclear war—which one it is going to be depends largely on the person in front of me. Because I can ride that horse just as fast as it can run. And I stand up for my friends.
A few days ago, I met a pitiful and rabid man in a social setting. This man was full of hatred. Hatred of the unknown, hatred of people, of women, of foreigners, and possessed a deep hatred for most everything in his life. (See why I used the term "pitiful" up there?) But instead of informing himself, of educating himself, of simply going out and learning, thus conquering this hatred, he had decided to simply concentrate on his hate of the whole gay community. I guess that felt easier for him. God knows it's exhausting to hate.
This man specifically had opinions about the Pride that is taking place in Milan at the end of the month of June (Milano Pride, 23-28 June, 2014, in case you are planning on going!) and was whining about the silliness of it all, and how "the terrible, terrible trans,"—as he called them—"will destroy the Italian youth." He moaned about, "Why do they have to walk around in demonstrations dressed like that? Why can't they just stay at home? You don't see US walking around having Prides for being straight."
Yeah, I couldn't very well let that one pass by, could I?
I took a couple of minutes of my time to educate him on several issues, and to set him straight on quite a few uses of terminology. It did not end well for the man in question. I am quite certain I did not sway his mind, but several other people at the table had interesting points of view after my rant, and it turned into a very nice evening of good discussions and eye-opening moments for some of them. No, not for him, he was mostly sitting there, seething.
Of course, no Italian man worth his salt is supposed to take an intellectual beating, in public, by a 6 ft blond Swedish woman, so his ego is probably still smarting today.
I'm not going to go into the whole He said then I said then she said-thing here, but the point is, we can all change and inspire people, or simply make somebody curious to know more. It takes so little, and those of us who are allies have so much work to do. There was truly a feeling of new insight around the table that night.
Just as the best men in my life have always stood up for me and my rights as a woman, I can stand up and defend the rights of my friends around me. It is what you DO, you stand up for your friends.
It takes so very little to open people's minds.
And what I cannot for the life of me understand is:
Why would it matter to that man who you might love?
Why would it matter to that man whether your genitals are both on the inside or both on the outside of your bodies? Or whether they are one on the inside and the other on the outside?
Why would it matter to that man what you do in full consent with your partner in your private bedroom?
Is not the important thing, in this life, that you have found somebody to love?
So, to wrap this post up, to me Pride means we all have a job to do to help our friends.
It also means that we all get to love whomever we choose to love, regardless of gender, religion, race, or sexual orientation. We get to love.
Because, you know what?
The opposite would mean hate. And that's one thing I am totally against, hate.
I am not a hater.
I am a lover.
©Art by AnnaLund/2014