A Moment of Pride
There may be nothing more fundamental than the pride one is entitled to feel for being exactly who they are.
I wrote last week about my experience in the aftermath of the Buffalo and Uvalde shootings, and how I struggled to feel proud of the country I had emigrated to as an 8-year-old boy. I chose that sentence carefully, fearing that I might be misunderstood, as there is much to be proud of in this country despite the many challenges it faces. The month of June marks a period of deep pride, where the world's LGBTQ communities come together and celebrate the freedom to be themselves. There may be nothing more fundamental than the pride one is entitled to feel for being exactly who they are.
The freedom to be oneself and to love and be loved fully seems so basic. Yet it has been a freedom historically denied to people throughout history. For the LGBTQ community, the repression of this basic right has been particularly painful and prolonged. I'm proud to live in a community that has made considerable progress in this area. I'm proud of the members of the LGBTQ community for their courage and self-expression. I am proud of those who fight tirelessly for the full and complete equality of all people regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity. And I'm proud that my heart and mind are open fully to the entire rainbow of people on this planet.
The ability to express oneself and love freely has arguably never been greater, and the progress in protecting and extending this basic human right over the past few decades has been rapid. Yet, much work remains to be done. There are still many whose hearts and minds have yet to open. Our biggest challenge though may not be those who stand in the way of progress. Our biggest challenge will be ourselves. True pride can only be possible when we are able to look inside and summon the strength to extend compassion, understanding, and forgiveness to those who are themselves not yet capable of doing so.