50 years. 50 years since Stonewall. 50 years and my internet feed is still fully of hate speech against those in the LGBTQIA community. Claiming the world is shoving a gay agenda down their throats when cis-het is considered the “norm”–shoved down EVERY SINGLE PERSON’S THROAT EVER. No, you don’t get your own pride. Every day is your march for your values, at the exclusion and detriment of others. Sit down, shut up, and maybe learn something.
It’s likely only because I’m paying attention more than I used to that I see all this hate. It’s like red flags popping up everywhere around me–micro- and macro-aggressions, so frequent they are easily missed or dismissed by cis-het peeps who choose to say others are too sensitive (that lib- word that’s equally ableist, knocking down two groups with one stone) or that they’re only just kidding–can’t you take a joke?
No. I can’t. I’m not that kind of funny.
As I spent Friday night at my kid’s new doctor, learning how to deliver his testosterone injections to begin his hormone therapy–my 3rd trip this week to a town 30 miles away because that’s where he can obtain the best care available for a trans kid in my state–it was a festive mood. The beginning of a new chapter in his life. Validation of what’s in his heart, which will ultimately lead to a physical transformation affirming it. But it’s also bittersweet.
Bittersweet because I know that the more likely he is to “pass” as a cisgender male, the safer he is. Knowing that his ability to blend into social norms for gender roles will reduce his chances of being harassed, ridiculed, or becoming a victim of violence. It’s a step beyond being the weird kid other kids ostracized and it can become a matter of life and death. It shouldn’t be this way. He shouldn’t have to fit a mold others have built in order to have some semblance of a regular life.
Pride matters because of all this hate that is still out there in the world–made even more apparent every time a non-binary person shares a gender non-conforming photo on Instagram, or when a brand decides to launch an inclusive campaign, or when a municipality attempts to raise a rainbow flag (or paint a rainbow crosswalk) and the citizens lash back with pure, vile, hatred. It’s not some obscure portion of the population who feeds these flames–it’s your very own neighbors, made bold by the internet (and sometimes, even bolder in person) to remove all doubt as to where exactly they fall on the bigotry spectrum. Disheartening isn’t a big enough word for this.
I’m lucky enough to be mom to an amazing, talented, artistic, pure-hearted, genius of a child who happens to also be gay and trans. And I will fight you, tooth and nail, if you do anything to restrict his right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. This Mama Bear has had enough.