It’s been a couple of weeks, and for me, the feeling is still there. World Pride, 2014, in Toronto, was incredible, uplifting and empowering. Just me and a few million of my closest friends, crowding the core of Canada’s largest city. I finally had the chance to finally meet and spend time with a few incredible people who are out to change the world, and have changed my life. People I’ve grown to love and admire while working with them. Lyndsay, the powerhouse who created the Facebook page, Stop Teenage Suicide, that started me on this journey of activism. Her amazing young son, Mac. Rush, my co-administrator on The Equality Mantra. And Kel, the “fingers” behind Wipe Out Homophobia, StopHomophobia.com, Adam and Steve and more incredible pages.
The energy was palpable. The crowds, the laughter, the talk, the music…sheer pleasure. The most amazing part was the fact that millions (and I do NOT use that count frivolously) of people, both LGBT and straight, were gathered in one place for the same reason; to promote LGBT issues on an international level. An international Human Rights conference, social events, concerts, marches, “The” parade, and a huge amount of networking reminded us of the hardships faced by our LGBT brothers and sisters around the world. The fact that 2014 is the 45th anniversary of Stonewall shows just how far we’ve come. But talks with people from Russia, Uganda, Zambia, to name a few brings to mind how much work there still is ahead of us.
So how do we keep this feeling alive? Is it even possible? Personally, I think it is. There are many ways to do this without having to gather en masse.
- Join LGBT support groups. “Like’ pages on Facebook that promote equality, fight bullying, etc. Even if, like me, you live in a country where equality is the norm, join groups in areas that don’t have these things. I’m Canadian and work directly with groups centred in New York, Colorado, California and as far away as England. Helping in some small way with these groups, and especially working with the people involved, ranks among the most rewarding experiences in my life.
- You don’t have to be LGBT to keep it going. The huge number of straight allies enjoying Pride was incredible. Inspiring, really. You are definitely a huge part of the reason for recent LGBT successes. Continue to help us educate the world, showing that there really isn’t some dark sinister “Gay Agenda.” We simply want to be seen as the same as everyone else – human. And with your help, this is happening, more and more.
- Probably, the most important thing we can do is to stop our own in-fighting. We NEED to stop trying to separate the letters in LGBT (and throughout this blog, I’m including any and all other letters that are added to this) and continue to work together as a community. We have to support and encourage ALL of the members of this vast and widely varied group. Supporting Gay and Lesbian groups HAS to come with equal support and encouragement for Bisexuals, Transgenders, Asexual, Pansexual and any everyone else that identifies with us in some way. Without this kind of unity, we’re just a bunch of different factions, making noise. There IS power in numbers, and together we have made, and continue to make a huge difference.
- I love the fact that for ten days, LGBT people and our allies from around the world collectively raised their voices and said, “We’re here, and we’re not going away.” Let’s keep it going, because now that we’re home, and spread back around the world, our raised voices will be heard around the globe. In the words of President Barack Obama, “Our journey is not complete.”
- We have proof that we’re on the right track. As the closing ceremonies were taking place, this appeared over Young Dundas Square in downtown Toronto. Even Mother Nature approves. We ARE the gold at the end of that Rainbow!