LGBTQ Legislation Impact
When do you change or when do you stick to your convictions? I will start by saying, I was an “all or nothing” type of girl. I saw black or white, no gray. When people asked me what changed, I would say, I did. The world to me is still the same but I am different. I have more tolerance for change, since I have come to learn that I am not perfect.
This past week we seen a huge win for the LGBTQ community. Some celebrated this monumental decision while others were outraged by it. President Obama changed his views over the past 8 years of his inauguration in support of equality for the LGBTQ community. In his address to the nation on LGBTQ, he acknowledged that this has been a long time coming. At times it came with the challenges of two steps forward and one step back. The continuous small, but steady movement forward, is what brought about change for the LGBTQ legislation. The President applauded everyone who made the sacrifices along the way. Along with the President and many others; I have also changed. My heart has expanded to support the decision of freedom of choice; although, every individual choice made may not be my personal choice.
I embrace change, and advocate for change everyday on this journey called life. When I look in the mirror my story is not so different. I am not perfect, I have no right to throw stones. I am a 53 year-old black woman, married to a white man. Every morning I leave my home with multiple strikes; age and gender discrimination, race and bi-racial marriage discrimination, etc. I hope no one takes the opportunity to use them against me. When I talk to my friends and family I hear about even more acts of discrimination and agree in prayer with them for a society that is fair and just.
My parents just celebrated 55 years of marriage, however, their union was started with the out of wedlock conception of a child. For many years my dad worked two and three jobs to provide for his family and prove to the world he was good enough and that he did not mess up my mother’s nor his life. My mother has also carried her burden of shame to prove to the world that she was not a bad girl. I share this story only to illustrate the emotional impact I believed it had on me.
When we live in a society where one night can be felt for 55 years and passed down to multiple generations, I say it is time for change. Emotional baggage comes when you feel hurt, shame and judged by others. That is the baggage you carry and pass along to others. I got some good things but I also got the insecurity of having to prove I am good enough. Although I have done well for myself, how different would my life be, if the world had the tolerance for change then, that we have now.
Although; we see the physical abuse of discrimination each day, I also believe it is a silent killer that is passed on from generation to generation. The silence is the hatred and judgemental spirit we give our children along with an attitude of superiority. Our conviction should be kept personal and seen as an opportunity to develop our personal growth. However; when a person is forced to live in hiding, shamed by society or challenged everyday to prove that they are good enough, that is when true slavery happens and our nation is held in bondage and true freedom is not felt by all.
I embrace this law not because I agree or disagree but because I feel each person has a right to openly and freely practice their decisions for their life’s journey. I send love, compassion and true empathy to the LGBTQ community because the battle won was not just for your cause but for mine as well. I believe that my conviction will continue to evolve and my tolerance will expand because the acceptance of others is a acceptance of myself.
Roxanne Wilkening MS. Ed.