My daughter just sat there, looking dismayed. Her reaction made me realize on a deeper level what a privileged upbringing her life has been in terms of gay rights. She has grown up in a home where all people are seen as equal regardless of their sexual preferences, orientation or identity. Her grade school principal was an out lesbian who was partnered with one of the teachers at the school. Our nuclear family has friends and extended family members who are LGBTQ+. My daughter has been raised in a world where all of that is seen as so normal and acceptable it doesn’t even need comment. In her world, people are sexual beings, and any range of consensual sexual activity and identity is fine, most especially when it stems from love.
Yet back in the real world, members of the LGBTQ+ community still face daily discrimination. Not everyone is as accepting as our nuclear family. My daughter has never really known this except in the fact that gay marriage wasn’t legal until a few years ago. She doesn’t have the memories I have of being raised Catholic and being taught that homosexuality was a sin. She doesn’t remember the shock in a community when someone “came out.” She doesn’t realize the horrible stigma that HIV/AIDS initially had as a wrongly-perceived gay disease. She doesn’t understand the history of violence that was so prevalent and still continues in many places against those who are LGBTQ+.
I hate that my daughter’s innocence is being shattered, though I know she was privileged to be able to hold on to living in a utopia for as long as she did. Now, the issues of the LGBTQ+ community are personal to her. She is a proud ally. Her best friend is transgender. When my daughter’s friend announced his transition and his new name, she accepted him without question and knew her parents and siblings would, too. Now she is having to deal with the fact that the new order wants to make her best friend disappear, just like those webpages that were suddenly gone within hours of the inauguration. Yet she, like me and so many other allies, is not ok with that. They will not make those we love disappear just by removing a webpage. We will continue to fight to make all people visible and equal. In less than two years, she will be a registered voter, and she will be doing her part to make change happen in the mid-term elections as well.
©2017 Elizabeth Galen, Ph.D., Green Heart Guidance, LLC