Just like any group or population, not all individuals who make up a community subscribe to the norms or realities of others. And aside from personal experience, this past year of reflection has inspired me to be more vocal, more active, and more me. More. But, in doing so, I have also found great value in finding my place within the large sea of assumptions, expectations, and exaggerations.
For starters, I may have a strong opinion at times, but I am more than, “Your Sassy Gay Friend.” I work out daily, but I’m so much more than washboard abs (but they’d be nice, right?). And finally, my car may show you I support the HRC, but I’m more than an equality sign.
In some venues, LGBT advocacy has become buzzy, a pop culture phenomenon, and in frustrating conditions, a caricature of extremism. But we are so much more. We have come a long way in the past several years, and even this year alone have seen some huge successes and LGBT victories. There’s no better time than now to aspire to seek to do more. I recently emailed twenty friends, asking each of them to share their story, accompanied by the following prompts:
“What are you more than?”
“What labels have served as a barrier and prevented people from seeing you beyond their assumptions?”
In just the first two weeks of receiving video clips and submissions, I discovered my friends had more to say than just a highlight of stereotypes and realities we face every single day. We are so much more, and they have inspired me to also strive for so much more. Thus, this post. Thus, this video.
It’s time to redirect. We are educators, practitioners, doctors, global innovators, community advancers, vagabonds, talented musicians, and the list goes on and on. And guess what? So are you (whoever you might be, and with whichever identities you might be carrying)! And double-guess what? You also don’t have to be an LGBT person to be and do more in advancing this community. You don’t have to be an LGBT person to get involved. And finally, you don’t have to be an LGBT person to take action. And many of you already are taking action. I have seen some of the most powerful moments come from my straight, allied, and questioning friends, dismissing a belief that we are moving into a generation of more talk and less action.
So, let’s let this be another call to action! Have an opinion, belief, feeling? Do something. Anything. Support. Advocate. Challenge. When someone comes out to you, thank them! Don’t tell them you always knew, or, “It’s about time.” Do better.
Together, we can all make the world a better place, and a place where, “liberty and justice for all,” is not just an espoused value…but an enacted one. Go. Do. Be. And while you’re at it, check out this video of my friends and I, all coming together from different walks of life, sharing bits of our story. If you like it, pass it on. If not, let’s start a dialogue. Remember, dissonance is learning. Here’s to more action, inspired vision, and a whole hell of a lot of love!