Saturday, June 25, 2011

Born This Way

(A picture of Pride in El Salvador. True Courage.)

In a few hours I will wake up. I will go to church, a progressive Catholic community, and worship with my friends. I will take public transport and head to the PRIDE Parade in Chicago. I am very fortunate.

I am very fortunate because I live in a place and time where my whole being can be celebrated. I am very fortunate because I belong to a faith community that does not judge me the moment I step in the doors. I am very fortunate that I can go to a parade that celebrates the richness of diversity, and feel like being ME, is the best and only option there is. I am very fortunate because my family, the people who I loved first in this world, have always supported me…even when I told them I was gay.

You see, twelve years ago I shared this revelation with them when I was in college, but it turns out they already knew. And with a little reflection on my behalf, I guess there were some signs. So while I was growing up, my family, like any other family, let me know that I was loved…no matter what. And by the time I was ready to “come out”, there wasn’t a whole lot of room for wonder.

I wrote my first love letter to my first grade teacher. I lived my younger years as a tomboy. I wore pants and hated dresses. I played football with the boys and blended in quite well. I made friends with all the girls and all the boys. I started fashion trends in school. I didn’t date until I was in college and have had my heart broken a few times along the way. And fortunately, I was supported because when it all comes down to it, I was born this way.

Given the Gaga reference, this sounds a little clique, but the reality is that I didn’t chose any of this. I didn’t choose to be a smitten kitten over Miss Ford. I simply preferred short hair and comfortable clothing. I had great athletic ability and needed an outlet to get my energy out. I was sociable and got along with everyone. And the reason my heart got broken was because I dared to love in the first place. I dared to live as authentically as I could.

But again, I am very fortunate. And so on this PRIDE weekend / month, I will be thinking about all those folks who struggle to live authentically in this world. I will be thinking about all my LGBTQ sisters and brothers that weep on the phone when they call their parents because the missed the boat on same sex attraction. I will be thinking about all the people who struggle to wear clothing that feels comfortable to them, but are compelled to dress in a “certain” way. I will be thinking about all the people who find it so very hard to be proud of who they are.

It is my belief that the vast majority of LGBTQ people do not choose to be this way or that. It is my belief that we are born this way. And after some time, living, we may develop a certain pride in who we are. And it takes time.

Today I am proud to be who I was created to be and it’s because of all the people who supported me along the way. And so I thank them…

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