This year has been difficult for those of us who are a little bit different. I know because I’m different, too. I am part of the LGBT+ community, and I feel like I’ve spent a lot of this year on my knees, weeping for my rainbow brothers and sisters as they fall due to hatred from others.
It seems that every day, the news is getting a little harder to read. Every day, the papers contain some reminder that there are people out there who will never quite manage to accept us for who we are.
There’s nothing I can say to change that fact.
There’s no point in me avoiding saying it, or saying that it’s not as bad as it seems, because I don’t know whether or not it really is that bad.
If I were to tell you that it doesn’t hurt, that being told that you’re an anomaly or a freak hurts less as time goes on, I would be lying. I don’t do lies.
What I can say with absolute certainty, however, is that for every person out there who doesn’t accept us, who tells us that we don’t belong, who says that we should at least pretend to be someone we aren’t, there are a handful of people who will stand by us.
The good people do exist. There are people out there who will do whatever it takes to keep us safe. There are people who will hold us and remind us that we’re loved every time someone tells us otherwise. It’s those people who will fly the flag for us when we’re hurting too much to hold it ourselves.
It was only this year that I finally picked up the flag and said I was proud of who I was, that I was tired of hiding, of posing as an ally. That’s okay. It’s okay to take your time. It’s okay to wait until you feel safe.
What pushed me to finally take a stand was having my heart torn to shreds when I heard about the horrific act of hate that occurred in a nightclub in Orlando. Seeing that one of the victims was younger than me. I wept for each person whose name was printed that day and in the days that followed. I stood alongside my rainbow friends, and slowly started to whisper “I know. I’m hurting too. They’re my brothers and sisters too.”
Together we held each other upright until we were strong enough to stand again. Only then did I make my first public post about my sexuality. About what makes me different from the majority of the population. I was lucky enough to encounter only love when I made that post. Love and support.
So take your time. Do what you need to do. Just know that no matter what, there will be at least one person standing right there beside you, and that’s me. I’m here for you, even if it feels like nobody else is. I will not leave your side.
We all know what’s happened this month. I know that a lot of us are feeling scared, and even a little uncertain about the future. I know that some people have been so scared, and so uncertain, that they have felt as though there is no future for them in this world, and that tragically, they have left us.
Be it because their skin is a different colour, or because of who they love, or what their religious beliefs are, a lot of people have been left feeling abandoned by their country. I have only two words to say to those people, and anyone else feeling pain at the moment: Have hope.
It may seem as though all is lost right now. I know. I’ve felt that way too. I’ve relied on people to hold me and wipe my tears in the last week, not to mention convince me that it is worth sticking around. However, a conversation with a friend made me realise that hope is more important right now than it has ever been before. Because right now, if we lose hope, we will have nothing left to fight for, and that is what will cause us to give up.
But, if we hold on to hope, we will have everything to fight for. If we have hope, then it means we believe in a better world. It means we believe in a world where we can all feel safe walking down the street, regardless of who we are, who we love, or what we believe in. It means we believe in a world where nobody should be afraid that someone else feels that it is acceptable to violate our privacy or our bodies.
In the last fortnight, I have thought long and hard about giving up. So I truly do know what it’s like to lose hope. It was conversations with friends who didn’t know what I was thinking that saved me. Never think that your words are not enough, because no matter how small you might think your voice is, it can save a life.
So, in conclusion, there are three key words that I want you to take away from this month’s post:
If you hold on to those, you will make it through this year, no matter how impossible it may seem.
I love you, I am there with you, and we can do this. Hang on in there.