today is national coming out day in the states. what exactly is that? well, to begin with, it’s a celebration & remembrance of the anniversary of the March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights on 11 october 1987. on this day 24 years ago, half a million people gathered in washington, dc to speak out and stand up for equal right for all people. today, and every day, the march continues.
but even more than just a remembrance of that day almost 25 years ago, today is a celebration of individuality, i believe. of being able to find the courage within you to be exactly who you are… and to be proud of that. and it is also a day of continuing the fight for a world of justice and equality.
of course i’m talking about LGBT rights, but it doesn’t stop there. if we want a world of true justice and equality, then we will fight for the rights of ALL people. we will educate ourselves, teach ourselves to step out of our safe little boxes, live lives of true respect and acceptance of each other. we will see diversity and embrace it. we will realize that we do not have to agree in order to get along. we do know have to believe the same things in order to have the same values. we do not have to have the same cultures, customs, and family structure as our neighbors next door or our neighbors on another continent. but, we must… we simply must be willing to recognize the beauty in each individual and respect that individual as one who is different; one who we may not understand or agree with, but one with whom we live on this amazing planet. we must be willing to talk with each other, and more impotantly listen to one another. we must be willing to see the human being in every set of eyes that we look into. then, and only then, will we be living in a world of complete equality, justice, and peace.
so, while today may be seen as a day to continue to push the LGBT agenda (and it is. and it needs to be). i ask you to join me in letting it be something deeper as well. it is a day to celebrate equal rights for humanity. yes. all humans. black, white, gay, straight, muslim, buddhist, atheist, christian, woman, child, man, single, married, educated, homeless, addicted, outcast, politician, eastern, western… at the core of our humanity is the right to be ourselves. it is a joyful, amazing thing to find the courage to simply be yourself. but, it is also a difficult thing. we are all too often afraid of what others will think of us, and of living up to the expectations of others. it’s scary to follow our own paths – the one that leads out from our soul. it is difficult to be considered different. and it is hell to have to endure suffering, bullying, intimidation, and insecurity. it is not easy to have the strength to believe in yourself and risk being alone (although i believe that we are actually never left alone). where does strength like that come from? how can we all get a piece of it? and why do some people seem to be oozing with self-confidence (not pride) and others feel completely trapped?
i don’t know the answers to those questions, but i do know one thing. we are all seeking a life full of love and peace. we may think that we want power, fame, money, material things; but deep down i think that all we really want is to love ourselves, to be loved, and to share love. we just want to live and enjoy life. once again, i may be naive, but i believe that this life is possible. i believe it because i live it. no, not everything is perfect in my life. but my life is amazing. somewhere, somehow, by grace and patience and determination, i found the courage to find my self and then to live simply as me. i don’t do it well all the time. but, i’ve had a taste of it, and i know that when i live from my soul, then not only do i find peace and love in my life, but i am better able to share my peace & love with those who cross my path.
today i celebrate each human being and the life that their soul craves. i celebrate the possibility that all people, in all places, will have the freedom to live simply as themselves. to be proud of who they are. and to encourage others to find their soul. we all can make a difference. we are all worthy. and we are all called to love and to be loved.
yes. my family may look different from yours. my job may be different from yours. my hopes, dreams, and gifts may be different from yours. but, they are mine. and when i listen to my heart and feel my soul, then i am guided in a way that hopefully allows me to live life as one who spreads hope, love, justice, and peace. we may be different in many ways. but, just as i
have things that make me… me; you have things that make you… you. and i honor your uniqueness and all that you have to offer this world…
so, feel your soul. listen to your heart. believe in yourself. stand up for justice. and seek peace. and together we will continue the march that was started 25 years ago in washington, dc. together we will march for equality for all people, in all paces, at all times, and in all ways.