Radical self-love is just that: radical. From radical self-love can come great things: positive change, acceptance, collaboration and bonding. Those who embrace themselves thoroughly - faults and all - are more likely to spread that kind of acceptance to others. They are more likely to inspire that kind of acceptance in others. The LGBTQ Community is in need of Radical Self Love - as individuals and as a community.
Orlando has hit us hard, yes. And as more and more news reports come out, it seems that this heinous act was perpetrated by a person filled with self-hate — possibly for being gay, possibly for being Muslim, possibly for not being Latino…who knows. We don’t and won’t know. But it is clear that he had self-hate running through his veins.
Who among us does not know what it is to harbor some amount of self-hate?
I carried a very heavy burden of self-hate for many decades and, let me tell you, it created walls between me and everyone else. It was destructive and debilitating. It weighed me down. And it took a lot for me to unlearn the ways of self-hate and adopt the ways of self-love. But through a ton of therapy, and very, very good friends and the desperate need to feel better about my life, I achieved self-love.
We all must achieve self-love so that we can love and accept one another. And I’m not talking about straight people and gay people. I’m talking about LGBTQ people loving other LGBTQ people. Lesbians must embrace Bisexuals and Gay men. Gay men must embrace Trans men and women and bisexuals. Gay and Lesbian people must accept and love Pansexuals. Gay men who hate the word “queer” must accept those in the community to identify as Queer. We have some work to do on radical self-love within our community. Victoria Maione puts it so well in her response to the vigil when she says we can’t be any single letter any longer, we have to be us.
Us. We. Community.
Why do we only come together to mourn after tragedy? The last time I saw some of the people who were at the Pride Center’s vigil for Orlando was four and a half years ago at the Speak Out I held for Tyler Clementi. Do we need an excuse to come together as a community? A tragic excuse? Isn’t it enough that lawmakers are passing legislation across the country that discriminates against or even puts in jeopardy LGBT lives? Isn’t THAT enough of a reason for us all to stick together?
I don’t know about you, but I love all people. Straight, Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Pansexual, Demisexual, Asexual, Romantics, Queer, Trans, Non-binary, Kinky, Vanilla, Cis, White, Black, Brown, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Wiccan, Atheist, Rich, Poor, Middle-Class, Abled or Disabled, Mentally Healthy or Disordered, Tea Party, Republican, Libertarian, Democrat, Liberals, Progressive, Non-Political, Extremists and Pacifists.
It costs me nothing to love everyone. It costs me everything to hate anyone.
Orlando has reminded us that We Are One. Let’s try and remember that always. For all time. Let us never again - never again - need an Orlando or a Tyler Clementi or a Matthew Shepard - to remind us of this. Let us keep this in our hearts forever.
We Are One.
Radical Self Love, Community.
Power to the Peaceful and Love to All,