I have been wanting to do this post for a long time now but for some reason never really got to it. Lately, though, this has been a regular topic in my friends and mine’s conversations, I see it often in the news, and I very recently saw pictures and videos of the gay pride parade in New York City.
But the kicker, really, is the Oreo Pride.
See, Kraft Foods released a photo of a rainbow-colored Oreo cookie with the caption “Proudly support love!” Though they never planned on selling it, the Photoshopped cookie was a salute to the gay pride week (which happened almost two months ago).
The reception, as you may have guessed, is mixed. While a lot of people, especially those supporting LGBTQ, are very happy about it, there are a few who are not. Some even talked about boycott.
Some dragged the Bible into it, talking about how being gay is a sin and not allowed by God. A direct quote would be ‘Disgusted with Oreos. Being gay is an abomination in God’s eyes i wont be buying them anymore.‘
Now, I am born to and raised by devout Catholics. My mom is a Paulinian*, my dad is a lay minister of the church. My sister is also a Paulinian. I spent at least 1,400 hours in the past 25 years in mass. I spent the first twelve formative years of my school life in a Catholic institution (run by priests, taught by nuns).
My point? I personally do not see where the hate is coming from because the God I was brought up to worship, the God I spent years being introduced to, is a loving and accepting God.
Seeing the way some Bible-thumping people talk about our gay brothers and sisters (I imagine them actually frothing at the mouth sometimes), I have to ask: where is the acceptance? Where is that love that should allow us to fully accept a person as a beautiful being created by God?
Let me move away from all this talk about God and to a realm I’m more comfortable talking about: experiences.
Being straight, I cannot say that I have experienced first hand what my gay friends have. I, however, have witnessed so many transgressions against the gays. All the ridicule, the insults, and the discrimination. All the many obvious ways that people show their distaste.
There are actions that some people may think is subtle or, worse, helpful for their family or friends. Let me tell you a few:
I have a friend who is happily in a relationship. Though her friends are friendly to her girlfriend, whenever they fight, her friends expect them to break up and tell her to just go get a boyfriend.Why? Simply because she is a beautiful girl and they think that “it’s such as waste” for her to be in a relationship with a girl.
A person very close to my heart got sick trying to hide that he’s gay; and I mean literally sick. When he finally came out to his family, he got better. His family tried very hard to make him feel accepted, but they made no secret to the fact that they’re hoping that something would happen to “cure” him. In fact, they keep giving him helpful suggestions on what he could do to that could maybe change his mind.
Another friend, though happily in a relationship, keeps complaining to me that her family keeps telling her to go find a boyfriend. They said that they are not judging her, but a boy-girl relationship is what’s normal.
So, here’s what I think.
I think that a person’s beauty will only be wasted if the relationship she is in holds her back from achieving her full potential, from living her purpose. I am sure that many people would agree that being in a loving, loyal, respectful, and supportive relationship will result in the exact opposite of wasting her beauty. What difference does it make if it is with a boy or a girl?
Being gay is not a disease. It is not an illness. If it is, maybe I’ll call in sick and say “I can’t come to work today, I have the gay virus. I will be back tomorrow.” Being gay is not something that can be cured. I’ve read articles of it being genetic. I’ve read articles of it being a lifestyle, of it being a frame of mind, of it being a choice. Whatever it is, whether it is genetics, lifestyle, or choice, it is not society’s job to force the gay to be straight just because society is uncomfortable with it.
A couple hundred years ago, people thought that it was normal to arrange their children’s marriages, oftentimes with their cousins or other relations. It doesn’t mean that it will always be normal and it doesn’t mean that it is right. If a heterosexual relationship is what is perceived as normal now, it most definitely doesn’t mean that it will always stay that way.
My point in all of this, really, is that we shouldn’t judge. There is definitely a lot more productive and helpful things we can do than hate on people who are just simply being true to themselves.
I believe that the only constant in life is love and death. Shouldn’t we fill our lives with more love before we finally succumb to death? Wouldn’t it be better if we helped each other discover and live the purpose for which we are given this life instead of dampening others’ spirits? Wouldn’t it be better if instead of wasting our time trying to change people we simply open our hearts to them who could quite possibly add so much color and meaning to our lives?
And if we stand in front of God at the time of our death, wouldn’t it be better if we can show him that the lifetime he so generously gave us was spent in exercising our capacity to love without judgement and reservations?
So, hooray for gay pride week. And may you never give up on going after your dreams, living your passions, and serving your purpose.
*Studied at St. Paul University. In the case of my mom, she studied there and is still currently teaching there.