Pride: Blessings and Lessons Along the Way
(Lead Image: Raquel Spencer; Photo Credit: Lamont Daniels )
While Pride month is coming to a close I wanted to reflect on how blessed and great our community is and share my experience. I feel blessed to be gay. Being gay made me a better person. Going through life as a gay woman of color has shown me so much about life and the human spirit, that I am so appreciative to be blessed with this life. Being gay has given me the opportunity to see humans in their truest nature, no cover-ups. Being gay helped me understand God. It showed me the true human spirit. It taught resilience, determination and compassion for others.
What better life could I have been blessed to live, than a life that allows me to see everything for what it truly is? So many people walk through life blindly with their entire lives shadowed by lies and misinterpretations. Not us. We are blessed to see through anything and we learn this skill by the experiences of indifference and inequality that we constantly encounter. We hear people misunderstand our love every day. We face judgement and hatred from trolls online. Yet we also face love. We receive love from family, friends and (sometimes) the public. We receive love from the politicians that understand our fight without even being us. We watch each other on social media proudly display our strengths and fearless attitudes as we embrace who we are. What amazing journeys to watch! We are shifting an entire culture. No matter what hatred we faced or Supreme Court case we were up against, we've always displayed an enormous amount of resilience in fighting for who we are. What a blessing to be part of a community that has always fought to advance our rights! There may be days where we feel defeated or at odds because of the hatred we see. Yet, we are blessed to wake up everyday with the strength to fight and live our truth.
God is Love
Being gay helped me understand God. I was born gay, but I never understood that I was gay until I started getting picked on in school. I remember the moment I understood what gayness was, and that I was gay. I immediately felt panicked. I was afraid and angry. I was worried of what my family would think, and angry at God for making me this way. For years I was angry, I thought God didn’t love me. I thought I was supposed to be nothing, based on what people said about God and LGBTQ+ people. Perception is ones reality, this is why perception is so important. One day I realized how kind I was compared to the self-proclaimed "God fearing" people in my life. I realized that no matter how much hatred I faced, I still had a heart to love despite peoples flaws. I could see past peoples hatred and find love for them. I wasn’t alone. This became a common theme with every LGBTQ+ person I met. We could never understand why they hated us so much but we still loved them. It was then that I realized how much God had blessed me. He put me in a position in life to have the ability to spread unconditional love. That is a mighty torch to be able to carry. We as humans lack so much compassion and love in today's world, yet our community is filled with love.
The True Human Spirit
Being gay showed me the true human spirit. Facing such backlash and indifference from my family showed me their true colors. Before I came out to my family, they were so perfect in my eyes. Yet, I was overlooking all the wrong that was occurring: misogyny, discrimination, and human rights violations. It is easy to overlook our loved ones wrongdoings. In doing so, we enable behavior that is destructive and unproductive to progress in our society. Once I came out, I began to see their negative behavior. The panic of realizing I was gay felt justified. I always heard hateful slurs towards gay people which subconsciously taught me that being gay was wrong. I had spent my life focused on becoming the best possible person to overcome every hateful stereotype that I overheard. I challenged everyone in my family until they were able to see the errors of their ways, and they did. I now carry the same compassion for all people as we do in our community. Understanding how easy it is for people to misunderstand us, makes me realize that it's just as easy for people to understand as well. None of us are perfect, but I believe as humans we try to be as perfect as we can with what we know. I could never fault my family for following what they thought was right to do, I can only educate them in a different way.
Being gay taught me resilience and determination. Before I came out to my family, my life was very easy. I grew up well taken care of as my parents did everything in their power to provide for us. However when I came out, I ended up homeless. I was cut off from family with nowhere to go. It was a massive shock going from having everything to being left with absolutely nothing. So where do you go from there? Do you become a victim and blame the world? You could. In my case, I developed a level of determination that is unmatched. At this point in my life, after overcoming being gay and black in America, there is not one single obstacle that can stop me from accomplishing what I put my mind to. I had to be very determined to overcome others perception of me. Being homeless with no foundation, and being judged everywhere I went for being a stud in America who refused to wear girly clothes. It's rough. It's worse than just being black. I am a double threat; men and women of all races are intimidated by me. My determination and resilience has never allowed me the time to entertain others judgments or thoughts about me.
Being gay taught me compassion for others. I understand how important it is to fight for all people who are marginalized because I face it every day. It doesn’t matter if you are Muslim, gay, or an immigrant. I fight for all no matter what because we face the same judgement and marginalization, and I understand how unfair it is. Being gay has given me an immense amount of compassion for all communities that are marginalized. In a sense, it has made me a human rights activist. I will passionately protest any wrongdoing against a marginalized community and I have the ability to recognize a marginalized community by belonging to one.
I must repeat, being gay has been a blessing for me. It has made me a better human. I appreciate so much that I am blessed to be gay. We are the most compassionate, understanding, loving, fighting-for-what's-right people I know. I have witnessed us stand up for each other and stand up for others. We have banned together as a community in times of crisis and in times of celebration. This month I celebrate every person that is part of the LGBTQ community who has helped pioneer our progress. Every person that has been a casualty because of who they are and every person who has helped our community fight for equal rights. Be unapologetically proud to be who you are, you are truly blessed!
What gives you your biggest sense of Pride? Drop a comment below.