Last night I had to block a user on Instagram for the first time. It was a complete stranger who commented to inform me I’m going to Hell after posting this photo of one of my best friends and myself at the Seattle Pride festival. I began to rebuttal. Responses like, “There is no Hell”, “See you there”, and the one I actually initially posted, “Cool. Need a roommate?” seemed fitting at first. But shortly after, my conscience started whispering in my ear, “Why perpetuate the negativity?”
It was a good question. As much as I wanted to tear into this faceless username to tell them why people like them are the spiritual cancer in our society, I had to remind myself this person would probably not hear what I was trying to say. So instead, I deleted said user’s and my own comments, and tapped the block user button. I did this not in a passive aggressive attempt to ignore the problem, but to throw some water (even if a small bucket) on the fires of hate, by not allowing it the oxygen to thrive in the environment of love and creativity I am attempting to build on my social media platforms.
The fact of it is, many of the people closest to me in my life identify as other than heterosexual. This does not affect my life negatively in any way. Honestly, their willingness and bravery to stand up and be themselves in a culture which tries so hard to deny them that right, is unfathomably inspiring. I am a straight white male in the United States. Life is easy for me. I accept that. I don’t have to worry about getting shunned by my family, fired from my job, beat up, or possibly even killed for being who I am. If you don’t believe these things still happen in our modern society, you are ignorant. You are not paying attention. You are perpetuating the issues.
THIS is why I support the Pride Festival. It is not a spectacle for your entertainment. It is not just a bunch of gay guys prancing around in fairy wings or lesbians thundering through the streets on Harleys for the uninformed population to use as a fad to pretend they’re relevant. Pride is a protest. Pride is an opportunity to show the community that regardless of hate, opposition, or persecution, I WILL BE ME and WE WILL BE US, and you will not treat us like we are less than human!
During the parade yesterday, I heard the proud father of a young lesbian arrogantly state that he would “get someone riled up”, the parade was blocked, instead of joined, by a rogue group of Black Lives Matter protestors who were clearly not aligned with the group’s true agenda, and high school kids running around half naked wearing only body paint or pasties. These, as much as religious zealots with picket signs, are all examples of things which perpetuate negativity and negative stereotypes of these events, and do nothing more than drive a wedge between equality and progress.
We must support true equality with more than just our presence or lackadaisical meandering through festival grounds once a year. Equality must be supported with kindness, compassion, humility, and consistency. WE are not the ones to decide who shall be condemned or not, if you even believe in such a thing. WE are only to love others to the best of our ability, without discretion. If that’s wrong, see you in Hell.