Friday, March 27, 2009

Turn your compassion into passion

One of my closest friends, for many,many years; is a lesbian. She is smart, wise, fun, beautiful, understanding, forgiving, loyal and compassionate. I told her I had volunteered to be the organizer for the Million Gay March in my town. In her usual compassionate and wise way, she genuinely thanked me for caring so much.

Then she asked me a question that caught me off guard. Why? Why this cause? After all, I'm straight. She knows I care. My husband and I are good friends with she and her partner.

She pointed out that there are many other things that I feel strongly about. Child abuse, global warming, drunk driving, animal abuse, autism, cancer research, kidney research, poverty - you name it.

I thought about it. My first reaction was simply the word passion. I can't explain why I feel strongly. I just do. But there was one element I could recognize. Standing up for the rights of someone else, for LGBT folks, carries some risk. There's no risk in running a marathon to raise money for cancer. Who is against cancer research? Who is against most of what I mentioned? (Except of course for Republicans who don't believe in global warming and cold hearted people who don't mind watching people live on $1 a day). These causes are worthy and many people work hard to motivate others to support them. But they aren't particularly controversial. No one is taking a personal risk for advocating for autism research.

Someone has to take the risk of speaking up for the rights of others. Because the world is too scary if we don't. Not enough people spoke up in Nazi Germany. Not enough people spoke up during the Civil Rights movement. The stakes are too high for all of us. Gay people run the risk everyday of being called names or physically hurt. I've never had to live behind that kind of shield. And no one else should have to either. Making my opinion known let's others know where I stand. And I'm not afraid of the "opposition". My rights are everyone's rights.

And there's another reason. I live in a country that once upon a time prided itself on human rights, freedom and treating everyone equally. We were enlightened and always at the forefront. Now we are behind not only European countries and Canada, we are behind South Africa! How's that for missing the boat? I want to be proud to live in America. But I'm not quite there yet.

Your passion might be something else. Use it. Don't be almost alive. Light your candle. Let others see your heart and convictions.


  1. I want to thank-you so very much for your commitment, your passion and your energy - in fighting for lgbt rights. It helps so much !!

  2. I so need to send you a tiara and crown you "Ms. Thang!" Thanks Jude.