Last week, I went to Las Vegas and met up with friends who were there for the National Friendship Movement, Inc.’s 35th Annual Reunion. The National Friendship Movement (NFM) is an organization that provides a national platform for professional and retired African-American lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons to network both professionally and socially.
While in Vegas, I saw Rock of Ages and did some sightseeing. I also had the pleasure of attending one of the events sponsored by the NFM – The Vegas White Party. That event included dinner and featured Tony Terry, an American soul/new jack swing singer from Washington, D.C, as the entertainment. I was thoroughly impressed with the professionalism exhibited by the members of NFM. I was greeted with zeal, and my sexual preference was insignificant.
Unfortunately, we live in a society with many biases which includes preconceptions against people who are LGBT. Some assume that everyone in the LGBT community are the same. You hear statements like “those people” as if referencing iniquities or dismissive comments referring to LGBT people as sick or crazy. It’s ignorance that allows prejudices to persist.
Some say I don’t discriminate against anyone based on their sexual preference and then recite the names of their LGBT “friends” as justification for their open mindedness. To me, the test is how you would react if one of your children were different. The quickest response for people that do not have children or those whose kids are already grown and straight is – I would still love them just the same. However, I have heard stories of parents trying to pray the “gay” out of their children because they don’t want them to go to hell. I have also witnessed the other extreme, complete denial. The truth is that you don’t know how you would react until you are confronted with that situation.
Many reference the Bible and talk about how God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah because of the homosexual activity. From that same chapter in Genesis 19, it states that Lot offered his two daughters up to the men of Sodom to be “gang-raped” and that both of Lot’s daughters had intercourse with their father and bare their father’s sons (incest). Yet, I have never heard any negative references about either. When people start quoting the Bible, it can be very tricky. You often realize that people choose or interpret verses to support their premeditated conclusions.
I personally cannot imagine the courage that it must take for someone to come out and claim their freedom; knowing a likelihood exist that they will be judged, ridiculed or even disowned. We live in a world with people from all different cultures, backgrounds, and beliefs. We also live in a world where people sacrifice their lives for their beliefs. I cannot pass judgement on what’s right and what’s wrong. However, whatever your beliefs may be, acknowledging differences and treating people with respect are common courtesies.
Peace and Love,