Monday, July 20, 2009

A Sad Act, A Kind Response

I have something to share with you all.

You know, typically I try to be light-hearted, silly and sometimes downright ridiculous with some of my posts, trying to inject some humor into our lives as we aim to do what's best for our families, and for ourselves. But today, I am saddened and frustrated by an act of wrong-doing in my community, and feel the need to share the information. I'm sharing not because I don't want to be alone in this frustration, no. I am sharing because I believe this insensitive and callous act is occurring all over our country. I have the sense that some people are too uncomfortable to talk about it, or don't feel they can make a difference, or perhaps feel so awkward with the subject matter that they prefer to look away, or keep quiet. But I am taking a bold step to speak about it here, with hopes that I am reaching out to a sensitive and empathic audience.
The act I am referring to is the recent burning of a rainbow flag at a church in my community. The flag was burned during the night, with only the charred remains left at the front step for all to find the next morning. No one knows who did this heinous act.
The rainbow flag stands for equality in my heart. Overall, it specifically stands for the acceptance of individuals who are lesbian/gay/bisexual or transgender. At this church, along with this typical representation, the flag stands as a welcome for all who enter. We are all different. We choose different paths, we show different colors, both in skin tones, and thoughts. We make decisions based on what we feel is best and from the perspective of our upbringing, our home-life and community. In no way do we all need to agree on every choice, but we do need to find a way to live, work, be together.
I know there are people in our world who feel that being anything other than heterosexual is wrong. And though this fact saddens me tremendously, the point of this post is not to open a debate on sexual preference. What I struggle with is the fact that there are individuals who feel that burning a flag, a flag that stands for independence, trust, acceptance, equality for ALL humans, is a worthwhile activity.
Apparently, this is happening outside other churches - in Massachusetts and other states. Such widespread anger and hostility toward the very idea that there could be a safe place for all individuals is mind boggling. Although I can't sit out at the church, watching for who comes to burn the new flag, I can stand up to the fact that individuals are being made to feel unsafe in my community by a senseless act of only a few. I can write about it, speak about it, and remind my children how these violent acts terrorize us all. I can understand how these acts generally come from a place of ignorance and fear, rather than anything rooted in reality.
In an act of support, my family has hung a rainbow flag outside our home. It is my town's hope that by hanging numerous flags throughout our neighborhoods, we will be displaying our support of the church, the individuals it serves, and the LGBT community. My hope is that we will increase the awareness of anyone traveling through that we will not accept acts of violence toward anyone, no matter what differences we may have between us.
I challenge you all to look into your hearts and find that place which wants to welcome everyone in. Consider speaking to others from that place. Making one person feel safe is one hundred times better than letting someone else bring terrorism into our hearts, even if we do not agree.

8 comments:

Michelle said...

That's a great idea to hang flags throughout the neighborhoods. It will certainly send a message of hope rather than fear!!

Jill said...

I do hope so, Michelle. It just feels like the right thing to do.

goldenbird said...

I'm sad to read that people are burning the rainbow flags hung at churches. That was such a thoughtful and well-written post, Jill. I support LGBT rights and will keep my eyes open to how I can show my support in my community. I've seen those flags hanging in churches in my town and they make me proud.

Jill said...

Thanks, Stacy- I wasn't too sure how people would respond, so I appreciate your support and kindness.

Dogwood said...

Jill~Thank you so much for stepping up and writing about the burning of the rainbow flag at the local church. I really admire you and agree with all of you lovely written words. I feel so fortunate to live in San Francisco CA and have some of the most wonderful gay neighbors and friends. Anyone who has not seen the award winning movie MILK needs to see it. I could go on and on but you said it all. I support LGBT rights and will do what I can to spread the word. Hugs, Cory Dogwood

jill said...

Cory-

Your kind words are so appreciated right now. It's important that we stand up, even quietly, for everyone's right to be human. No one should feel fear for being who they are - no one. Be well.
Jill

Angela said...

Thanks for your words on this subject, it's close to my heart because I have many gay and lesbian friends and this kind of thing is so hurtful.

It's a great idea to hang the flag as a show of support and solidarity.

Lisa said...

This is such a beautiful and kind post Jill. What a fantastic role-model you are being for your kids and the best way to teach them to respect others for being themselves.

Lisa