This postcard appeared on today’s PostSecret:
It reads “I’m ready to lose everything because I’ve found the people worth failing with.”
Am I reading too much into it when I take the rainbow to be a significant part of the message? While the note bespeaks great strength, it also contains an aching pain that cries for acknowledgement.
The price this person is willing to pay is the great injustice against which we all must fight. The idea that accepting one’s sexuality brings with it the possibility of losing everything makes my blood boil. And it’s not just an idea; it is real and it happens in some fashion every day. That this person has found succor in the community s/he has met gives hope, but it is a crime that this sort of sacrifice must be risked in order to be true to one’s identity.
What can you and I do about it? It doesn’t require making speeches to make change. In simple conversation, use inclusive words: ask about someone’s spouse “or partner” when introduced. When faced with an opportunity to correct someone’s misunderstanding, risk your own discomfort and maybe a little of theirs to gently set them straight with facts. And know your facts; did you know that it most often takes the acquaintance of three gay people for a straight person to act on their behalf by supporting and voting for change?
Silence is no longer an acceptable option. Our silence leads gay teens to commit suicide at a rate three times higher than straight teens. Being silent leads to lives of suffering and secrecy for those who are gay and those who love them. Being silent leads to the sort of behavior we are finding in the headlines: men and women who cannot live the lives they were born to lead are hiding behind heterosexual marriages in their only chance to live a “normal” life. Most would rather just be with good friends and partners or spouses without confrontation or secrecy (the same thing I and my straight friends take for granted like breathing). To give this group of fully-human beings the right to be who God made them to be, we must speak up at every opportunity and be counted.
I await the PostSecret card that reads “I’m ready to gain everything because I’ve found the people worth living for.” You and I can be a part of that group of people. Speak up and speak out.
"Be the change you wish to see in the world." — Mahatma Gandhi