Depending on one's background, family belief systems, spiritual influence, religious mandates, all will help to form our opinions on and about the world we live in and share with others. I was raised in a middle class home with my father, mother and two siblings. Our father passed when I was fifteen and in all that time I don't remember any conversation for or against the LGBTQ community or lifestyle. I did have a couple male cousins who, as I was to find out later, were gay. Again my immediate family made no change in how these men were treated or spoken to or about. Then at a family reunion one year two bothers started speaking to each other and the longer they talked the louder they became until both were screaming at the other. This would be my first introduction to the idea "there may be something wrong about that life style", even though at the time I still wasn't sure just what "that life-style" meant.
This was over fifty years ago. Fifty years ago and we are still fighting over who can love whom, who have rights to live the way they want and who doesn't, who can have a family with two adults and children, and who can't or shouldn't based on their sexual orientation. I am an adult now and see the world through totally different lenses. I know and love several LGBTQ people. I attend church with them, celebrations of life, parties, theater, lunches and dinners with them. At the end of the day it is none of my business what two consenting adults do. Not everyone holds this belief. Many still want to tell others how to live and who to love and use the Bible and their personal interpretation of "the word" to shame and belittle them to prove this point.
Since this last election day, much has been said on this and other topics about religion, sexuality, national origin and what rules apply and whom they apply to. It seems if I have a famous name, live in a mansion, work at a top level position or born into privilege the rules don't apply to me. The rules are only for those of us who apparently are unable to think for ourselves in these matters. What has begun to be concerning to me is how narrow the approval list is becoming. Many social media sites are filled with so many misinformed and untrue stories. We continue passing these pieces along without taking the time to verify the substance or the validity of what we are reading.
We are now living in one of those places in time that we have a stand to take on so many issues least we find ourselves repeating the not so distant past. This election has left many of us feeling blindsided by the outcome, still reeling from the news, while attempting to find our center again. We are worried and even scared about what is ahead of us. We are concerned too of how many of our friends lives, and our own lives for the matter, are in the path of those who would do harm to someone based on their heritage or sexual orientation. We can not desert these causes and the people we care about. More than ever we need to speak out when we hear predigest rhetoric, homophobic slurs, see racial profiling. Being that voice which stands for all people of all countries and nations.
It has also been brought to my attention people I though were of true liberal mind, are actually very conservative and do not agree with my own belief system. This is one of the most disappointing realities to come to terms with. There are people I love and care about, and will continue to care about though I now know this fact about them. This is where my integrity is tested, loving those around me though they do not see my world the way I see it.
One of the biggest lessons in life is how to agree to disagree and maintain everyone's dignity through it all. At the end of the day who is it I want around me, who is it I want to share my time and love with? These are the important questions for us all. How do I support you without betraying myself? So I shall act to the conscience within me and allow you to do the same. I shall, to the best of my ability, share a space that has been altered from its former self. I invite you to take stock, decide your own priorities and choose what your future holds.
May your Thanksgiving be filled with many blessings and much love.