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Monday, June 1, 2009

Waving My Rainbow Pompoms

I’m switching it up a bit today, taking a break from the depression that has been my blog lately. I know that if I don’t, I’m going to have to start setting out Prozac and Cymbalta in candy dishes around my place here. “Hi, welcome to my blog. Would you like a mood stabilizer before you read my post? I know it’s a little dark in here but please don’t open the blinds. The darkness is more friendly…”

Today we are blogging for LGBT Families Day! If you have no idea what LGBT means, it stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender/transsexual people. The day is open for all LGBT families and their allies. I am considered an ally since I am not gay myself. I am the cheerleader waving the rainbow pompoms for my friends and family members I love. Even for those I have not met. (There may even be a rainbow headband and matching wristbands as well. I’m just sayin…) Why? Because everyone deserves the same civil rights. Because it is the right thing to do. Because everyone deserves to be happy.

Anyone who knows me, reads this blog, follows me on Facebook, or basically hears me speak (yes, I am a loud mouth) knows I have strong feelings & opinions about the LGBT community and their families. I strongly support same sex marriage and think it should be legalized everywhere. That’s no secret if you know me at all. I’ve been really vocal about it, especially this past year. I’ve even been told to shut up a few times. That only makes me yell louder. Anyone seen my megaphone?

My convictions were not always so strong. In fact, I used to be very quiet, very shy. Painfully shy when I was younger. After I became a mother myself, I felt this need, this driving force, to make the world a better place for my son to grow up. I realized if you don’t speak up, if you don’t say anything, you leave YOUR fate and the fate of your children in the hands of others. People whose ideals are not YOUR ideals and beliefs and convictions. Where does that get you? No where, that’s where.

Every year my family and I go to the Gay Pride Festival here in Utah. Every year the festival is kicked off by a huge parade march through downtown Salt Lake City. And every year there are protestors at the gate entrance screaming hateful propaganda (in what they believe) is in the name of their God. Shouting awful names at peaceful families, couples, friends and allies entering the festivities. We’ve taken Brady every year since he was born and the first couple of years I covered Brady’s ears as we walked past these people to shield him from what was happening. He was too young to understand and too young for me to explain these people to him. People who I believe are so bound in their hate that they can’t and won’t see the love right in front of them. Brady’s third year to the festival I didn’t shield him from anything. He asked me why those “mean people” were yelling at us as we walked past and I tried to explain to him how they thought the festival was wrong. I, of course, got the “Why?” question all mothers get all too often. How do you explain something like that to a 3 year old? After talking in circles for a while, I finally settled with, “Sometimes people hate people that are different then they are. It’s our job to show them that we believe differently by being here and supporting our family and friends.”

In one corner of the festival they have the children’s corner where the kids can make crafts, get their face painted and fun things like that. Last year they did a small kids march and Brady proudly marched around the festival with the other kids. Waving little flags and masks they’d made. I was so proud of him. I kicked myself for the camera battery being dead but I can still see his glowing face in my head. To him it was just a cute little kids parade but to me, I can see all of those children proud and smiling walking through the festival. And the looks on all their parents faces was priceless.

I couldn’t help but wanting to freeze that moment in time. That sense of all of us feeling safe and happy and content; my family included. All of them able to openly hug each other, hold hands, and express affection without any fear of judgment from anyone else. With all of the “mean people” locked firmly on the outside of the gate where they couldn’t hurt anyone.

Why can’t the world be like that? Why can’t we change things so that no one has to live in fear for who they are and who they love? Our children learn their behaviors directly from us. They learn compassion from how we treat others. If all of us made a more conscious effort to speak up and right the wrongs in the world, and our children see this, our world will be a much different place in 10 or 15 years. I strongly believe this.

I believe I’ve said this before but we have more friends in same sex relationships then we do straight friends. Brady honestly has never known there was a difference between myself and his dads relationship and that of some of our same sex friends. To him, it was love and that was it. To him, it was normal for kids to have 2 aunts that live together with a child and 2 uncles that live together and love each other. There was no difference. It wasn’t until he was in Kindergarten this year and someone in class called someone else gay at recess and he asked me what that actually meant that I realized he didn’t really know. I am proud that we’ve taught him to just see people and not labels.

Because there is no difference between us.

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