Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Watching Prejudice crush a soul

During my years as a psychotherapist I watched as young men and women were denegrated and shamed because of their basic psysiological attraction to someone of their own sex. I watched as they struggled and fought to overcome the ugly messages of an ignorant and intolerant society that said, "If you are not like me, you are bad and evil'. I fought along with them as they tried to learn to love themselves for what they were, to find a place in their identities that would allow them to love someone, have a home with someone, have children with someone and be happy and proud of their ability to form attachments and make life long committments - as so many of us just take for granted. Many times I failed and I have no doubt that I have lost some of those precious people to AIDS because they felt such shame, they would not protect themselves and could not let themselves have the life that we all need and that we all deserve.

Some of the best people I met in my work were gay. I don't say this lightly. It takes a very special person to crawl their way out from under the garbage that our world has slung at them. It take work and introspection. It takes bravery to stand up to a parent who looks at you with horror because of what you are. It takes bravery to accept yourself in the face of a potential complete rejection by your family, some friends and your culture. It takes a wonderful character to be joyful and complete and forgiving in the face of all this. These folks are our friends, our children, our grandchildren, our neighbors. I rejoice in their taking their rightful place in the world. We will all be better people for knowing someone who has been through this and come out the other side a whole and proud person.

Let's help those who continue to struggle to be free and feel accepted so that we lose no one else.

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