Inclusion Vs. Exclusion

You’re welcome.

Such a simple, elegant phrase. Such a kind and decent concept. I don’t know why so many people struggle with it.

There are so many out there who make it a point to say just the opposite. You’re not welcome. You shouldn’t be able to come here. You can’t buy my cake. You should sit at the back of the bus. You shouldn’t be allowed to marry the person that you love. You are not welcome to be a part of our club. You shouldn’t have the right to vote. You can’t rent my apartment. You don’t belong here. America used to be great when we didn’t have to treat you with respect. How dare you speak up? We get to control what you do with your body. You must be walled off. You must be silenced.

We see it everywhere. In the red MAGA hats, in the “lock her up!” chants, in the attacks on innocent people on the streets. We see it in the hatred that oozes from the mouth of the very man who is supposed to lead this country. You’re not welcome. You are an enemy of the people.

Hate makes you look ugly. It reveals the disease in your very soul. It makes us all so much less than what we could be.

When you hate, when you marginalize people, when you try to prevent people from having the same rights that you do, you cause suffering in this world. Why would anyone want to do that? I will never understand it as long as I live.

When you find yourself in a place of inclusion, where people are welcoming and accepting and embracing of your unique qualities, it’s such a freeing experience. I’d rather be wrapped in a rainbow than beaten by a tiki torch any day of the week. That should be obvious. Why isn’t it obvious?

I’m feeling very ineloquent about this whole subject compared to the conversation Ellen Page had with Stephen Colbert recently. Check out the video here. It’s really worth watching.

Thanks, Lee (and Ellen Page) for inspiring this post!

Not Welcome

An attitude of gratitude is what you need to get along. Read my book! http://amzn.to/2mlPVh5

 

 

On Coming Out in Public

On Valentine’s Day, actress Ellen Page came out in front of a large group of people at the Time to Thrive conference in Las Vegas. You can hear her moving and heartfelt speech by going here if you get my blog by e-mail: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1hlCEIUATzg  but I’ll also attach the video below.

Since her speech, there has, of course, been a lot of critical backlash on the web. People are chiming in that being gay is a sin, and that horrible things should happen to Ellen and LGBT people in general. People are claiming that her speech was just a cheap way for her to get publicity. They are saying that there was no need to stir things up in this fashion.

What a steaming load of crap.

If you take the time to watch it, you can tell that coming out like this was a big deal to her. Her voice was shaking throughout the speech. But she did it for many reasons. Not only was she tired of lying by omission, but she knows she’s a role model, and she knows there are many LGBT youth out there who desperately need her to be one.

Suicide and depression rates among LGBT youth are a great deal higher than in the rest of the population. They are also much more likely to be bullied, harassed, discriminated against, and basically made to feel “less than.”

While I long for a time when someone saying “I’m gay” will cause as little an impression as saying “I have green eyes”, unfortunately now is not that time.

As long as we live in a world where people can be tied to barbed wire fences and beaten to death, we need people like Ellen Page to make speeches.

As long as there are countries where you can actually be imprisoned for being who you are, we need people like Ellen Page to make speeches.

As long as people can be attacked in the street for holding hands, and as long as there’s even one person out there who thinks that if you’re gay you must therefore be a pedophile, we need people like Ellen Page to make speeches.

As long as there are people out there who have to hide in closets of isolation, depression and pain because society will reject them otherwise, we need people like Ellen Page to make speeches.

There are dozens of public figures whom we are all pretty sure are gay, but they haven’t come out. This frustrates me, because they could be doing so much good in this world. Yes, they have a right to their privacy, but they are needed, and I call upon them to do the right thing.

A lesbian friend told me that when she came out to her fundamentalist Christian parents, her mother held her arms behind her back while her father beat her bloody, and then they locked her in a room for two weeks so she could “come to her senses.” She most certainly did. She hasn’t seen her parents since. But she went through years of depression afterwards on her way to becoming the proud lesbian she is today. She sure could have used this speech back then. And hopefully kids who are experiencing this same sort of alienation now will benefit from it as much as she would have.

So on behalf of dozens of friends as well as my favorite nephew, thank you, Ellen Page, for speaking out.