As I’ve mentioned before, I’m avoiding political discussion in many forums in an attempt to preserve relationships during this election.
But tomorrow is Spirit Day. And supporting the LGBT community is more than political to me. I’m surrounded by friends and family in that community and supporting them as they strive for acceptance and equal rights is an important part of my life. And as long as public figures are joking about disowning gay children, I need to speak out. (Notice I acknowledge that she was joking. I get that. But to me, as long as people think that’s funny, there’s still work to do.)
What is Spirit Day?
Spirit Day is annual day in October when millions of Americans wear purple to speak out against bullying and to show their support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth.
While pushing for Marriage Equality is on my political agenda, making this world a more accepting place for the LGBT youth of our country is my emotional agenda.
As long as children are being bullied to the point of suicide, or parents or kicking their gay children out of their homes, I will be wearing purple and proclaiming my love and support for the LGBT youth in my community.
I was suicidal as a teen. I never tried to kill myself, but I credit that to my Catholic upbringing and my fear of Hell. I wanted to die at many moments in my life. And looking back on that now I know most of that was just teenage hormonal choas and sensitivity. But – I can very easily tap into some of my darkest days in my teen years and I often feel like that pain is probably only a small percentage of what it feels like to be closeted. Or shunned by your family. Or your church. Or your community. If my typical teenage angst gave me a real desire to leave the world, what would it feel like to have real problems? I just can’t imagine.
I want to embrace all of those children and hold them until their parent’s hearts open, or until their church’s minds understand. I want to hug them and not let them leave my arms until the world offers them support and understanding. I want to shelter them from the hate. From the anger. From the ignorance. I want to keep them safe until they’re old enough to truly believe that there is also love where there’s hatred. And to seek solace in that love.
But I can’t do that. My arms are not long enough…the hatred reaches too far.
So I’ll wear purple tomorrow and I’ll spread the word of love and acceptance. I’ll hope my love reaches as many teens as possible. And if it doesn’t reach them, maybe my spirit will soften the hearts of the adults in the lives of these hurting children. They need to be accepted and loved for who they are. They should not be ashamed.
They should be proud.
Because I am proud of them.