Someone asked me recently, “Since when did you become so passionate about the LGBT community?” Ever since I decided to open my mouth and speak my mind.
In college my husband was a theater major. Now there are a lot of stereotypes about the LGBT community that are completely false, but the one about an amazing number of actors and dancers are LGBT I must say is fairly true…. We were surrounded by some pretty open minded people and the community was overwhelmingly accepting. I never had to defend anyone in college for their sexuality.
Right after college we were both working in theater and again… we were surrounded by our LGBT friends and there was never a moment I had to defend them.
It wasn’t until my working career that I ever experience discrimination. I was in an elevator and another group of coworkers were spouting off about others on staff that are lesbians. These coworkers were educators- my thought was how could one say such things… how could someone make fun of them, treat them as less or act as if they were any different? I must have been in my own little naive world or maybe my “gaydar” is broken…. or maybe I simply never gave a crap long enough to try to decipher people like that.
A few weeks later, in the same elevator, one of my coworkers informed me that their roommate was pregnant. At that moment… I realized her “roommate” was not really a roommate… Again naivety at its best. I decided from that moment instead of like the previous conversation I had in the same elevator.. that I would in fact take the high road. I decided in that moment to become knowledgable about the LGBT community and embrace instead of berate them.
My friendship with my elevator mate grew into a wonderful friendship and my relationship with her led me in many different directions. It led me on a closer walk with God. It led me to wonderful friendships and bonds. It took me on a parenting journey teaching my children diversity and acceptance for all. It brought me closer to my husband, because we realized we are far more similar in our ideals than we had ever realized. It caused me to stand my ground against those that didn’t agree with my friendship, church, marriage, and parenting. It caused distance from those that didn’t agree with me and ultimately I am the better for it. I am healthier because I stood my ground instead of keeping my mouth shut while the doors were shut in elevators.
Maybe that was my first step in ‘growing in gumption’. I walked out of that elevator a changed person. I walked out an ally.