Growing up in the 70s, the idea of anyone being gay, lesbian, bisexual or even transgender was something you didn’t talk about. In fact I remember seeing someone I went to high school with, who everyone used to talk about as being a kind of an odd guy, wearing eyeliner and working in the make up counter at the Bay after graduation. The only thing that crossed my mind was – That is weird. I mean, he was a nice guy, never did anything to hurt me in high school. He was always friendly to me. Who was I to judge.
Over the years I have worked with many gay and lesbian people and never really thought anything anything other than what wonderful people they are. After all, someones sexual preference is no business of mine. I have had several incidents in my life that have really made me think about this side of life. The first was when my Photographer husband was hired to photograph his first Lesbian wedding. I agreed to go as his assistant to help out, but partly because there was a curiosity. They were a couple from down in the States, who wanted to start a family and it wasn’t legal for them to marry in their State, so they came up to Canada.
Now, being an emotional person, I have cried and still do, at every wedding I go to. I don’t know what it is, but there is just something about a wedding, at that moment when the Bride walks in with her father and sees her husband to be for the first time that brings tears to my eyes. Maybe it is the romantic in me, I don’t know. I was very curious to see if I would feel the same emotions at a Lesbian wedding that I do at a straight wedding.
Unfortunately the Brides father was not in favor of his daughters lifestyle and wouldn’t attend, but her mother was there and although I felt she might have been a bit uncomfortable, the fact that she was there to support her daughter made her A Okay in my books. The ceremony started and in comes the Bride with her mother, walks up the aisle and sees her Bride waiting for her at the alter and the tears started to flow. I realized something very important that day. I realized that it isn’t about whether you are gay or straight, it is all about LOVE. The love that two people share when they finally find that perfect someone to spend the rest of their lives with. The fact that two people, who had had such a struggle and have had to fight for their rights can find happiness and live a normal life just like straight people. The other Brides parents did not come and I remember thinking how sad that would be. To have the most important time in your life happen, and your parents not attend because they refuse to accept a who you really are.
As a mother, the only thing I want for my children is to be happy. I went on to think about how I would react should they ever tell me they were gay. It doesn’t matter. They are my flesh and blood and all I ask is that they find love and be happy, even if that is with the same gender. Would I, as a parent, be able to shun them and tell them they are no longer my child. I don’t understand how a parent can do that. I even told them, even before they started dating and were old enough to understand, that it didn’t matter to me. That no matter what their preference was, I would love them no matter what. I didn’t want them living in fear or even worse, hiding who they really are because they are afraid how I would react.
I have since gone on to assist at several lesbian and gay weddings and the emotions are always there. I think it is absolutely wonderful that two people can be proud of finding happiness and I have some wonderful friends who have since come out and married and it makes my heart swell with pride that they can now live a life full of love and be happy without ridicule or negativity.
It was through a friend that I became aware of the Transgender community. Again, not something that I really thought about. As a teenager, we would fall down laughing if we saw someone dressing as the other gender especially a man. I mean who doesn’t love a good Drag Queen, flamboyant with a bit too much make up on. That was the image that came to mind. I had the opportunity to support this friend by attending a Transgender Christmas Party a few years ago and I have to say I was absolutely overwhelmed at the amount of people who are transgender and have struggled over the years just to be heard. To see them all together, laughing and enjoying themselves really makes you think. For some of them, it is one night of the year that they can actually be happy and be themselves. That is just plain sad.
We, as straight heterosexual people, find so much fault in life, we are constantly criticizing people for their beliefs, for their preferences, for their loves, for their values, and for the color of their skin. This needs to stop. We need to look at everyone as equals. So what if they love the same gender, want to be another gender or even just dress as another gender occassionally, who are we to say it isn’t right. We need to look into their hearts and their souls. They are all good people. In fact, I think better people than some of the straight people I know. I have met some pretty fickle straight people in my years, but have never met a fickle gay person.
It is time we start accepting that the world is changing. People from all walks of life want rights, they want to be heard and it is up to us to stand and listen and welcome them with open arms. I know my arms are open…. are yours?