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Sunday, June 25, 2017

Of Pride And Celebration

Hey All.  Hope you're enjoying this first weekend of summer.  Kids out of school, teachers on vacation, both houses of Congress and many state and local legislatures ready to take a break.

This weekend is also being celebrated in many cities to acknowledge what we know as Pride - the celebration of acceptance of the LGBTQ community.

For generations, members of this community have faced discrimination, contempt, and bullying of extreme proportions.  It is encouraging to know that society has essentially opened its armed and accepted those with different sexual orientations than what was traditionally expected as the one and only way.  Laws are now in place that prevent discrimination against members of this community in all areas, including application for a marriage license.

For that, I congratulate this community.  You have come a long way, and you've earned it all.

However, with freedom, also comes responsibility.

When individuals are groups are discriminated against, marginalized, or hated in some way, it's very easy to play tit-for-tat.  It's very easy to demand that the pendulum be swung the other way hard.  It's very easy to demand revenge, very easy to demonize, and very easy to point a finger at someone else who seems "privileged" because they did not suffer the same adversity.  That's where we have a small problem.

The vast majority of those of us who are heterosexual have absolutely nothing against the LGBTQ community.  Speaking for myself, I know how amazing it feels to be in love with someone and be ready to marry them.  I am nobody to say that someone doesn't have that right simply because that love is aimed towards someone of the same gender.

Still, there is a minority that still has trouble accepting it.  They should accept it, as we have.  But forcing them to do so, or face civil or criminal penalties, is not the right way to solve that problem.

Part of Emotional Maturity means understanding that universal acceptance of who you are and what you say simply cannot happen.  Even if you achieve mass acclaim and overall acceptance, there will always be people who will not accept you, and nothing you, or I, or anyone else says will change that.

PERFECT EXAMPLE:  When I began this blog, and I wrote about the virtues of being a Bold Beta Male, and rejecting the idea that every man always be aggressive and abrasive, a particularly unfriendly critic told me that "the only people who are going to listen to you are gays."  I stayed silent.

As mean-spirited and below-the-belt as those judgments and comments can surely be, it is not our place to become triggered by them, to overreact to them, or to demonize those who deliver such statements, even if they most obviously deserve it.  It is also not our place to demand that they unscrew the top of their heads, remove their brains, and allow us to rewire them so they won't behave that way.  It's sometimes our problem that they act and think this way, but it's certainly not our fault.  Therefore, there is no reason for us to become offended, enraged, or outraged by this mentality - because it doesn't hurt us.

I could say the same about racism, sexism, or plain old bullying.  As long as there is something for you to be proud of, there will always be someone who opposes it.  It's simply there.

But the presence of a negative opinion in no way takes away anyone's right to Pride.  It doesn't invalidate you, or what you believe, or what you love.  It doesn't reduce you to dust.  And even if someone else's opinion of you is that unfavorable, it is only their perspective - which should never be yours.

So without rambling on too long, understand that not every single person in this world will accept that Pride.  But the vast, overwhelming majority of it does.  And that majority often includes the people who matter to us the most.  Be grateful for those who accept your Pride, and simply dismiss those who cannot, or will not.

And when I say dismiss, that's different from demonizing.  And it's also not the same as enabling them, or giving tacit approval.  It means remaining calm, unruffled, and not-triggered.  It also means erecting boundaries and removing those who are unable to respect them.  Leave the consequences to Our Mother Lady Karma, and keep your self-respect intact.