Once again, it is National Coming Out Day, and I feel like I really said what I needed to say last year on this day (read it here: Excuse Me While I Get out my Soapbox). But this is me, and I think we all know I can't just leave it there.
I live in a state that, a year from now, will be getting ready to vote on an anti-gay marriage amendment. Those who support this amendment call it a "defense of marriage" amendment, although it has never been made clear to me who it is exactly we are protecting marriage from--roving bands of gays who plan to convert otherwise straight men and women? I thought we called those people Jehovah's Witnesses...
I'm speechless in the face of intolerance. And I dislike that word--tolerance. I want to live in a world of acceptance, not tolerance. A world where we celebrate each other, not merely put up with each other. It is incomprehensible to me that some people can be so full of hate and vitriol. I cannot fathom such anger for such a pointless purpose. I cannot appreciate what it is like to hate so blindly and irrationally.
And I am profoundly thankful for that.
I am speechless when I think of those I know who are LGBT--the friend who makes me laugh, the student who I would be proud to call my own son, the coworkers from college who constantly astounded me (and amazed me) with their courage and determination to be who they are, regardless of the response they received from others. The beautiful acts of defiance and love I saw from these people defies words, as they should.
I'm speechless in the face of this ridiculous prejudice, and perhaps I am intolerant, because I refuse to accept that any "religion" when practiced in good faith truly condones hatred of any person. I have heard the rants and raves of those who claim homosexuality is against the bible, and those of you who know me know that I take issue with this. Are these Christians--and do not misunderstand me, I am talking about a very particular type of Christian here. I know many other Christians who live loving, accepting lives. I do not confuse the two--are these Christians truly telling me that, were he alive now, Jesus would be picketing outside New York city hall with his gladiator sandals, white robe and shiny halo, carrying a sign saying "Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve?" I went to a Catholic elementary school and my uncle is a priest; somehow, that's not the view of Jesus I was painted as a child.
Perhaps he's changed.
But, as you all know, I refuse to be speechless for long. And all I can hope is that someday soon, the voices of those determined to see more love in the world will drown out those whose own fear and intolerance seems so loud now.
It's not a difference of religion. It's not a difference of opinion. It's not politics or ignorance or a worldview.
And it is ugly.
So today, be who you are and love who you love.
Because love--any love, all love--makes the world a more beautiful place.
Happy National Coming Out Day.