Wednesday, October 13, 2010

How Far We've Come

Yesterday, the twelve-year anniversary of Matthew Shepard's death, was a reminder of how far we've come and how far we have to go.

My mom still tells the story. I was seven or eight years old. I cut off all the blond hair of my Barbie. I showed it to her and said, "Look, mom - my Barbie's a lesbian!" And I married her off to the brunette, with long and luxurious hair. Surely, I wasn't taking a political stance; I didn't have any Ken dolls because their hair was hard and plastic. Still -- in my sphere of knowledge were men marrying women, men divorcing women, and women partnering with women. All three were viable options.

A few years later, when I was an adolescent who showed absolutely no interest in boys, my mom said to me, "You know it's ok if you don't like boys. I just want you to be happy." It turns out that I was just a late bloomer (intellectually I'm on par; socially, I've always felt 5-10 years behind!) Still, I've always known since a very young age from BOTH my parents that I will be accepted no matter what. No matter who I am, no matter who I love, I will always be loved.

Monday was National Coming Out Day. I wish that every child--gay, lesbian, bi, trans, or straight--could have parents as well as a society that accept them for who they are and whom they love. In the mean time, adults are recording youtube videos for high school students who may be struggling in their current family/community situation with the simple but powerful message, "It gets better."

Edited to correct the date of Matthew Shepard's death.

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