Image: from CNN Pride + Progress
I can remember the day, goodness I don’t know how long it has been… at least 15 years I think. My husband and I were driving around in the Village in NYC trying to find our way to a restaurant and there was a tremendous amount of traffic. We were going around and around the same intersection it seemed like for 15 minutes, because traffic was being rerouted. We had never been in the Village when it was this crowded and could not figure out if there was an accident or something else happening, and then I remembered, it was the Pride parade. Just as that hit me, we came to a complete stop, a stall. We just were not moving as a sea of people, music, laughter and joyfulness surrounded us.
Suddenly, we were spotted, windows down, we heard a playful shriek ring out and someone feigned shock and screamed, “Oh my, a heterosexual couple, a real heterosexual couple. Are you two lost?” We laughed and said that in fact we were, but were glad to be in the midst of things if we were not intruding. They laughed and smiled, blew kisses and asked where we were going. They gave us directions and assured us we were welcome if we could ever find a spot to pull over and watch the festivities. We both felt the love and often reference that fun moment and talk about the significance of being “the other” in another group’s world.
When I think about that day, I reflect on how often I take for granted the privilege I have as a cisgender, heterosexual woman, mostly because I spend so much time reflecting on how to survive in a nation and a world that systemically works against my other identities. But it is my responsibility to remember the ways in which I show up and live in this world that are not accessible to my LGBTQIA family, friends, colleagues, neighbors and world citizens.
I usually don’t like these tributary months, because they often seem like the only appointed time that we pay attention to whatever group the month is for. If I am honest though, I think for me, there is the additional pang of guilt that hits me and causes me to ask myself the question, Am I remembering to raise my voice before and beyond this month?
Am I remembering to express gratitude to my family and family/friends who are a part of the LGBTQIA community for the love, guidance and nurturing they have given as a part of the village raising my sons?
Am I remembering to speak out and up about the rising number of deaths of transgender people in the past five years alone over 20 people murdered each year and
Am I remembering to create a safe space for those who express or want to express affection for their same sex partner in public spaces just as I can freely do without even thinking about it?
Am I remembering to challenge the hatred posed by so many toward this community even and most especially those who do it under the name of religion?
Am I remembering every day or am I just going along with Pride month mentality and celebrating and speaking up, because it is June and I have to remember?
I put the onus to reflect on what’s true for myself, but now I extend it to you. What is your truth about what you remember to do before and beyond June and what can we all do differently? Let me know what truths this causes you to reflect on.
It’s about Peace, Love and Courageous Conversation.
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