Not a Big Deal for me...

On June 1st, my town held a Progress Pride Flag Raising; a formal ceremony recognizing the start of Pride Month.  There was a decent sized crowd that gathered on town square to stand in solidarity and support of the LGBTQ+ community.  It was an important event.  For our relatively small community it was a big deal.

For me it wasn't a big deal.  Supporting the LGBTQ+ community has never been a big deal in my mind.  Why wouldn't I support the community?  Why wouldn't anyone support fellow human beings?  It shouldn't be a big deal.  Yet it IS a big deal.  It IS a big deal to be able to share your truth.

That's something I didn't realize when I was in college and a new friend (I'd probably only known her for a couple of weeks) told me she was gay.  I'm sure it wasn't easy for her to say the words.  My response was something along the lines of "okay."  For me, her proclamation wasn't a big deal.  It was just like making an announcement that she had curly hair or that she liked classic rock and deep tracks. I didn't realize how difficult it must have been for her to share this with me. In hindsight (several decades later) I should have said something more supportive.  Perhaps something along the lines of: "I'm so glad you are able to share this with me.  I don't like you any less or any more because you are a lesbian I like you because you are you and you are someone I am happy to be friends with." 

I'd like to think that I was a little more sensitive (but probably not much) when another friend announced that she was transitioning and would like to be called "John."  I knew it was a difficult phone call; John said as much.  My reaction was a bit more supportive (although not as supportive as I probably could have been) and along the lines of "if this is what you want; if this is what you feel, than that's what it is. You are my friend and this doesn't change it."  I will be honest and say that I don't talk to John all that much; for a while his political views didn't mesh with mine.  That fact that we live several time zones away doesn't help either.  And in just writing this I realize how much I miss him.  However, whatever sex he identifies with doesn't change our relationship.  We still laughed and ate pizza together.  (There were a LOT of laughs and a LOT of pizza.)  I still had a little toe broken (or maybe just bruised) when he dropped a "fence" on my foot during a show our freshman year.  There are still more laughs to be had; more conversations over a glass of whiskey or wine.  For me nothing has changed.  For ME, his choice really isn't that big a deal.

I do see now how all of this IS a big deal.  I can (sort of, but not completely) understand how important it is to be able to say and BE who you are.  I didn't get it because it was never an issue for me.  I wish it was never an issue for anyone.  It is my hope and prayer that someday NONE of this will be a big deal to ANYONE.  That we ALL can simply accept.  After all we are ALL human beings.  As different as we may be in some ways; our genetic structure is not that different.  We consist of the same elements; we breathe the same air.

Next year, when the town hosts its annual Pride Flag Raising Ceremony, I will be there.  I want to always be there.  To show my support, because support IS a big deal.  Supporting and celebrating friends, friends that I haven't met yet,  and everyone who has fought for recognition and equality.  (A battle you shouldn't have had to fight.) You being you has never been a big deal for me.  You are you! No matter what that looks like; I'm ready to celebrate that.  And, as always, I'm ready to listen and be further educated, so that maybe someday, everyone will be able to say and be PROUD of who they are. 


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