Sometimes as a mother I feel as if I have to put aside who I am and what I want to be so I can be all I need to be for my family. It’s a difficult choice and an uncomfortable feeling, but in the end it’s my choice. Imagine that feeling multiplied significantly and it wasn’t a choice you could make freely. What if just being yourself was a matter of life and death? Or if just being honest about who you were meant you could lose, your friends, your family, your job, your home or even your children? What if you were taught to believe that just by existing as who you are, your eternal salvation was in jeopardy? What if all the pressure made question if living was even worth it?
This is the reality of the LGBTQIA community. So before you complain about having to memorize so many letters or think of Pride as a big rainbow and glitter party try to remember that. Yes, Pride is fun but that joy is a product of letting lose and just being everything you want to be free of judgement in a safe place. It was born out of a bubbling frustration with discrimination and hatred. It’s a release and a celebration. Please don’t forget that.
The reason you can get that rainbow coffee cup and discounts at retailers is because people fought and died to be accepted. A lot of people claim to be allies and attend pride without ever attempting to know the history. How many of those people belong to the ‘yes, but’ crowd? “I support equal rights, BUT…” How would you handle your child coming out? Would take on the school district so they could use the restroom? Would you march with them publicly? Could you leave your church and disown your unaccepting friends? And while you are pondering these hypothetical situations you must understand and remember there are many individuals doing exactly this everyday just to exist. Pride is not just Queens and boas. It’s pain, it’s struggle and it’s perseverance. It’s Love and Community. It’s honoring those who made it possible. It’s acknowledgement. I want you to internalize so that definition of Pride encompasses all that it should.
I want these voices heard, understood and included in our every day lives. So I set out to interview a few folks so you can hear from them first hand. Here is the first. I’ve know this young man since before he came out. He is very special to me and I am very please to present to you his thoughts and perspective.
Tell me about your self and how you identify.
My name is Earl Mackey I’m a 24 year old gay male.
2. How old were you when you came out?
I was 16.
3. Were your parents/family accepting?
Yes she to an Extent.
4. How did their response affect you?
It made me feel more comfortable.
5. Was there a moment or person who did something that you felt was really supportive and impactful?
Yes my sister came out as well with me so I wasn’t alone.
6. What advice would you give parents of a child identifies with the LGBTQIA community?
Just love your children there are so many things in this world that are going to stand in the way of an Individual, don’t let it be you as well.