HOLD ON … NOW, wait a minute.
I recently thought the story I saw on Facebook about a national equality organization making a trans* speaker take down a trans* pride flag before speaking at a United for Marriage rally in Washington, DC was all a joke; a satire about bygone days before bisexual and trans* people in our community were considered equal to everyone else.
Well, damn. I guess I have it all wrong. Not only were there multiple instances of said national equality organization marginalizing our bi and trans* sisters and brothers during the recent Supreme Court hearings, but there are numerous instances everyday where these same people are insulted, bullied, attacked, and made fearful of speaking their truth because they do not fit into the socially constructed labels of heterosexual, homosexual, and cisgender.
It saddens me to recall conversations I’ve had with bi and trans* friends who are not comfortable or able to acknowledge their deepest truths.
I’ll be the first to admit that in the past made I have some rather crappy jokes about being on the ‘bi now, gay later plan’ and such. I was young and dumb. I suppose I thought I was just being funny and that jokes don’t really hurt anyone. Then I stopped and actually thought about what I was saying. By joking about being bisexual until I was comfortable telling people I was a lesbian, I diminished what it means to be bisexual. While I don’t recall making jokes about trans* people, I have found myself struggling to understand their needs in the past. I now realize how detrimental these careless comments and narrow-minded thoughts are to our collective struggle for true equality. I’ve realized that by taking the time to figure out what we don’t know about bisexual and trans* people is essential to reaching understanding and moving toward acceptance and appreciation.
Sadly, I think this is something that sets me apart from many in our community. Ultimately it doesn’t matter if I understand what it’s like to be a trans* person or have an attraction to men and women. What matters is that I support the people who are and encourage them in their quest to become the person they are meant to be.
June is Pride month for our entire community. It’s the time when we come together to proclaim: “I’m proud of who I am as an individual.” I would suggest we take this a step further to announce: “I’m proud to be part of this diverse community and of all the members of our LGBTQ family.”
Our Pride celebrations are about everyone, including the people from small towns who get to hold hands with their partners in public once a year and the people who get to live comfortably as who they are for the weekend. Pride is a chance for people to openly live their truths. Let’s not take that away from anyone. Be proud of each other and encouraging everyone to openly be who they are. Happy Pride, everyone!