I was lucky. I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area in a family that supported the LGBTQ community. Although we were a quiet, Asian-American family, the church that we attended encouraged open doors and inclusion (Chinese Community United Methodist Church). Even though my parents raised us to have open minds and open hearts, my vanilla suburban upbringing did not give me many opportunities to actually be around many members of the LGBTQ society. My friends were very similar to me–Asian, AP Classes, music, and church small group.
I didn’t meet someone my age who was openly gay until I was an adult. It wasn’t until I had children until I met someone who was transgender. I didn’t even know what the term “gender fluid” even really meant simply because it wasn’t part of my every day narrative. I never realized that some of my close friends who are in heterosexual relationships also identified as bisexual. While my heart had nothing against people in the LGBTQ community, my mind still had to do a double take simply because I had never been immersed in this culture.
Being active in the Disney community has been such a blessing. We have made friends from every walk of life and some of the best people in the world have been become our extended family. Many of these friends are part of the LGBTQ community. My children love these people as their aunties and uncles regardless if they are male, female, non conforming, or if they have a boyfriend, girlfriend, single, or married. To them, all they know is that they are loved, they are trusted, and they are people.
To us, Pride month isn’t necessarily focusing on how boys like boys, or how two women can be a family, or what pronouns are sensitive. On a very basic level, Pride is normalizing people. The first step to fully understanding a community that is not inherently your own is to be a part of it. I did not have the luxury of personally knowing LGBTQ people. I am so grateful that so many of my children’s aunties and uncles are LGBTQ so they will grow up learning that sexual or gender preference does not make a lick of difference when it comes to connecting to someone on a personal level. Being gay is not an “oddity”. Being trans is not a “curiosity”. It is just simply a trait like if someone has curly hair. My hope for my girls is that LGBTQ relationships become as commonplace as interracial marriage. There was a time in history where my husband and I would be shamed, just because we fell in love. I am extremely relieved that the world has moved past that and my interracial daughters do not have to live in fear.
Pride month is also a reminder for us to celebrate differences, support the ones that we love, and an outward symbol of acceptance, inclusion, and kindness. One of my favorite companies, primary.com posted how they outfitted OC Pride’s youngest Grand Marshal (side note, if you have not heard of C.J. and his amazing family, run yourself over to Raising my Rainbow). I was surprised to hear that their instagram posts were receiving a lot of hate, causing people to “unfollow” and write bigoted comments. This is what I don’t understand: why would someone publicly show that they are unkind? Why would someone go out of their way just to be purposefully hateful?
Don’t get me wrong, I completely understand how someone can be personally conflicted and have their own convictions about the LGTBQ community. Many people I love do not share the same political and religious views as me and I can totally respect that. What I don’t accept is the crossing the line into hurting someone just because they are different.
One of the biggest life lessons I teach my girls is that if something is not directly affecting you, you need not fight it. Does it directly affect you if two men want to get married? Nope. Does it negatively impact your life if a lesbian couple fosters a child? There is literally nothing negative about that statement. Does it matter if the boy who sits next to you in class chooses to wear a skirt or has an amazing contour? No, but you should probably befriend him to get some rad makeup tips. People who go out of their way to spew hate makes them a hater. Why would someone want to advertise them self as a hater? Instead, I want to teach my children to choose kindness and to spread love. Life is a lot brighter when it is bathed in positivity.
We wear rainbows to support our LGBTQ family. We know them, we see them, and we love them. We don’t pretend that their journey is easy. Our hearts break when we see the hateful words, not only for the recipients of those words, but for the haters for they have so much darkness in their souls. I am proud that I can call so many of my friends LGTBQ people. I am proud that my daughters have so many of these people in their lives. I am proud that they are being raised in an environment that supports inclusion. I am proud that their hearts will be beautiful. I am proud that they will see the world in color and celebrate differences instead of shying away from them. I am proud that our world is slowly but surely moving in the direction of acceptance. I am Proud.