the more things stay the same, the more i want them to change

The Opposite of Shame is Pride

People are to be celebrated. People, every person, Is Divine. And so there would be celebrating.
- Momastery
I'm very disappointed that I missed GLAAD Spirit Day yesterday. How difficult is it to wear purple and maybe post something on Facebook or Twitter? Well, yesterday was "Do Chores That Get You All Grimey Day" at my place, so I never got dressed to face the day. Plus, I was so wrapped up in chores, I just didn't use the internet very much. I did sit down last night with the intention of writing something, but I was so exhausted that it never happened. But it was on my mind, definitely. So here's what I should have posted yesterday.

The "Rainbow Flag" is pretty much universally recognized as a symbol of LGBT Pride. The fact that each color in that rainbow has a specific meaning to the community is less widely known. In its present incarnation, there are six colors: red for Life, orange for Healing, yellow for Sunlight, green for Nature, indigo for Serenity, and purple for Spirit. In light of a cluster of teen suicides, deaths, and violent attacks against people labeled as "gay" (and the anti-gay, ignorant hate speech still being spewed by public figures despite those deaths), a day to wear purple for "Spirit Day" was organized by GLAAD. The public support has been overwhelmingly positive, and a little surprising for me due to a few unexpected participants.

I spent much of my day physically occupied with housework and mentally occupied with reflections on spirit and pride. A link to a never-before read blog was particularly inspiring, with a post consisting of a mother's letter to her small child should he grow up to be gay. Don't be put off by the spirituality of the writer, as it really adds to the impact of what is said. Here is my favorite part, again, but in full context:

And I don’t mean, Chase, that we would be tolerant of you and your sexuality. If our goal is to be tolerant of people who are different than we are, Chase, than we really are aiming quite low. Traffic jams are to be tolerated. People are to be celebrated. People, every person, Is Divine. And so there would be celebrating. Celebrating that you would be one step closer to matching your outsides with your insides, to being who you are. And there would be a teeny part of my heart that would leap at the realization that I would forever be the most important woman in your life. And then we would tell everyone. We would not concern ourselves too much with their reactions. There will always be party poopers, baby.

This section especially touched me because I've been thinking a lot lately about the intrinsic value of people and life, so it stuck with me all day, giving me a lot to chew on. Leading me to some thoughts about Gay Pride.

Why is the idea of Gay Pride so hard to understand for some people? Too many people have said things like "I don't have a problem with gays, I just don't want them parading around" or "who cares who you sleep with, just keep it in the bedroom." While I would quickly respond to the second phrase by pointing out that LGBT relationships are about love and not just sex (and also all of the public smooching and hand holding and groping and flirting and wedding ceremonies by heterosexuals who can't keep their love life purely in the bedroom), what to say to the pride-haters has been more difficult. An emotional response is easy to come up with, but a rational argument that they might be led to understand... not so much. Until yesterday, when a simple phrase came to mind:

The opposite of Shame is Pride.

Too many people are concerned about gay people always yapping about their sexuality, griping that "they should just be normal". They seem to believe that now that homosexuality is "tolerated", homosexuals should act and behave just like them: "normal." Sit down, shut up, work for a living, pay your taxes, worship a god, defend your country, and bring cookies to the Christmas party.

Normal. Quiet. Don't make waves. Live your life and leave me out of it. And for the sake of all that is good and holy, stop running around half-naked having simulated(?) sex on the top of parade floats!

To that I say, normal is not what you get when you stop shaming someone. We've been shamed and hidden and abused for long enough. It's time for some Pride.

The opposite of shame is not normalcy, it's pride.

The opposite of abuse is not normalcy, it is healing.

The opposite of hidden in the closet is not normalcy, it is shouting your existence to the world.

The opposite of hate is not tolerance, it is love.

The opposite of whispers of ignorance, random violence, occasional (but not common place, not anymore!) discrimination, and crackpot sermons/speeches is NOT silence, it is shouting in defiance and joy.

The LGBT community has been shamed, abused, hidden, and hated for too long to expect us to sit down quietly once these shackles are removed. And they have not been removed. It is slowly becoming socially unacceptable to hate gay people. So very slowly. So maybe we'll shut up and sit down when the people who still want us dead or in hell or in the closet change their tune and lead by example.

Until then, defiance. Until then, shouts of joy, revelry in sunlight, public celebration and living. Until then, Pride.



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Reader beware, I make no apologies for speaking the truth, no matter how shocking. So here's a list of taboo you might see here: sexuality, bisexuality, lesbianism, atheism, ex-Catholic ranting, stories of childhood abuse, wacked-out left-wing theories and philosophies, and feminist thought. And I like the words "cunt" and "fuck" a lot.