A warning, if you came here for my usual nonsense, this isn’t the post for you, but please click here for a post about fucked up children’s literature, or this one about how I am incapable of returning gifts.
Three of my friends (also teachers), and I are sponsors in a community organization which supports LGBTQ youth and allies. Due to the tireless work of one of my fellow sponsors, we were lucky enough to take our kids to march, this weekend, in the Phoenix Pride Parade.
After several hours of staging, just as we were about to launch down the parade route, one of our girls turned to me, shoulders down, eyes huge, and said, “Ms. M, I’m scared,” and my heart stopped for a second. I knew why she was scared. She was scared because this meant thousands of people looking at her…because she was standing in front of them, declaring her true self at the ripe old age of fifteen…and because she knew, somewhere, we’d likely meet opposition that she wouldn’t know how to handle. I squeezed her shoulder and told her that it was going to be fun, and prayed like hell that I was right.
What happened, was that for the next thirty minutes, our kids met nothing but cheers, high-fives, and applause from thousands of strangers, who took a little time out of their Sunday to sit on a curb in downtown Phoenix, and send them the biggest overwhelming cloud of love and acceptance imaginable. A cloud which wrapped around all of them, stronger than any armor man has ever wrought. Long before our mile was up, our girl, once so scared, had her shoulders thrown back and her head held high, and she was the definition of Pride. My heart…it was, and still is, so terribly full.
And, yes, at the end of the route, there were protesters holding terrible signs and screaming hateful things. Wisely, the organizers placed the huge speaker system right next to them to drown them out with Lady Gaga, but by then, our kids were impervious, and the demonstration warranted nothing more than the roll of their keen adolescent eyes, and for that I am grateful.
Love will always be so much more powerful than hate, and self-acceptance is greater than fear. You did me proud today, Phoenix…thank you from the bottom of my heart.