“When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving much advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a gentle and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.” — Henri J.M. Nouwen
While I worked in the religious institution my dignity was taken away, this past weekend it was given to me once again. Thanks to all of those who listened to my words. Who for one moment stayed in silence trying to digest every word that was resounded in the back of your mind. For those tears that were shed the moment the issue became, not a foreign concept, but a manner of the heart. You will never understand the magnitude of your openness and acceptance towards me; it was a changing moment, and a radical transformation for my soul. Crying in public is not something I can brag about it, but inside of me there was a fire igniting every corner of my body realizing that I did not have to be afraid to be myself among you.
Now, in solitude, when the rush of the weekend has faded away, I can just stop and cry my soul out welcoming my dignity (the quality or state of being worthy, honored, or esteemed) back: I am not a “lifestyle”, I am not in sin, neither going to hell, and I am not a weird specimen. I do not have to hide, neither live in the shadows of animosity. I am a human being with a voice among others; a person who can stand up and believe he can become someone who is valued by who he is, and not by the prejudices of others. Then my question is this, isn’t this organization a place that develop a unified voice, defend the rights, and create an atmosphere in which we are recognized as positive contributors to the state? Yes it is! And I am proud and excited to be part of such a great valuable group of people.
But I know the road ahead won’t be easy; after denying myself for so long, and all of the sudden come out to my senses into a world where being part of the LGTBQ community breaks many of the moral codes established by many religious and political institutions, and by the society in we live. The road will be not smooth, but “The key to change..is to let go of fear” (Rosanne Cash).
I prefer to live being true to myself while being mistreated, unrepresented, or criticized, and fight for the rights of my people; than being accepted by the society around me living as a pretender, deceiver, faker or impostor without really making steps toward becoming an inclusive society. “We hide what we know or feel ourselves to be (which we assume to be unacceptable and unlovable) behind some kind of appearance which we hope will be more pleasing. We hide behind pretty faces which we put on for the benefit of our public, and think that our assumed pretty face is what we really look like” (Simon Tugwell).
One of my favorite authors says, “You cannot change the world until you change your mind” (Brennan Manning). My desire as a human being, and an active member of this society is to be able to educate the community and my people to go from repulsion and nonacceptance, to appreciation and nurturance. Every time we open our hearts to welcome someone who is different, we are igniting a little flame of hope in their hearts.
“A great Japanese master received a university professor who came to inquire about wisdom. The master served tea. He poured his visitor’s cup full, and then kept on pouring. The professor watched the overflow until he could not longer restrain himself. ‘It is overfull. No more will go in!’ ‘Like this cup,’ the master said, ‘you are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you wisdom unless you first empty your cup?”
We can not be fighting for human dignity, and social justice for others, if we can not come to the understanding that we are the first ones whom we need to be merciful. Carl Gustav Jung said, “But what if I should discover that the least among them all, the poorest of all the beggars, the most impudent of all the offenders, the very enemy himself — that these are within me, and that I myself stand in need of the alms of my own kindness — that I myself am the enemy who must be loved — what then?”.
Anyway, besides the many misconceptions we have about this matter; I know I am not defined by my preferences; but by who I am as a human being. That, is my true identity which allows me to be united with you, and the rest world.