As we all know, June is Pride Month. It’s not only a time to party and attend parades, but a time to reflect on how much we’ve accomplished and what still needs to be done. This year especially, we in the US have lots to be proud of. State after state after state has been overturning gay marriage bans (even some states that frankly, I never thought would pass anything in our favor). We have a President and a Supreme Court who support our rights, and we can finally take pride in our justice system. Slowly, we are moving in the right direction of becoming accepted by the “mainstream”.
Despite these advances in becoming accepted, there is one area that we should not be proud of, and that is our lack of acceptance for others. Of course, I’m generalizing here and not pointing the finger at all in our community, but I have most definitely come across quite a few who have not been tolerant of anyone who is considered outside the periphery of being 100% lesbian. These people judge and scoff at anyone who doesn’t fit the mold. Straight? Forget about it. Bisexual? You’re not worth my time. Transgendered? You’re not a “real” lesbian. When did this behavior become acceptable?
Years ago, my brother-in-law was starring in a local production of Rocky Horror Picture Show. My wife and I thought it would be fun to get a group of friends together to go to the show. We invited a mix of friends, predominantly straight, and a few lesbian friends. We attended the show, and throughout, one of our lesbian friends continually had a scowl on her face. We didn’t have the chance to speak privately that night, but soon afterwards, she said, “we had fun, but I don’t understand why you invited so many straight people. Why would you want to be friends with straight people?” I was speechless. This woman fit into many categories that faced discrimination – she was African American, she was a lesbian, and she was part of an inter-racial couple. How could she point the finger at someone who was not 100% like her? How could she discriminate against others, knowing very well how it felt to be discriminated against? She and her partner thought less of us because we chose to include our straight friends in our evening out. They were soon dropped from our list of friends.
I’ve seen comments online belittling those who have come out as bisexual. These women are considered inferior because they “can’t make up their minds”. Some feel these women have no right to declare themselves part of our community even though they actively support our rights by donating time and money toward worthy organizations.
I would like to see this “us vs. them” mentality fade away. I would like to think that by knowing how it feels to be treated as outsiders, we would work toward eliminating the same behavior in ourselves, within our own community. By discriminating against those who are not 100% one thing or another, we are just setting ourselves back further from equality. If we want equality, shouldn’t we also practice it? If we all dropped these ridiculous notions of finding our differences, we would see just how much we all have in common – much more than our differences. Now wouldn’t that be something we could all be proud of?
Diane is offering a copy of her latests e-book, How Still My Love. Leave a comment here to enter the book giveaway. The winner will be announced on July 7th!