Where’s Your Pride?

So, this morning I walked into my office building, ready to hit the ground running and I passed the receptionist, who was engaged with another employee. I wasn’t sure what the hubbub was about, and I didn’t intend to stop and find out. I said good morning and proceeded to walk towards the nearest staircase.

Maria, the receptionist, called out, “Good Morning. Would you like one?”

I turned and saw her handing me a rainbow-colored ribbon. Instinctively, I took the ribbon and said thank you. I looked around to see other employees nearby congregating and wearing the ribbon proudly, and I was immediately hit with guilt.

Here’s the back story. I was raised in a very conservative Christian family. In our church, homosexuality was forbidden and deemed evil. We were taught not to associate with people who proclaimed that lifestyle and would face constant backlash if caught hanging out with someone who identified as gay. I’ve seen people get kicked out of the church or people who walked away because of how they were being treated.

The ribbons I got from work

So here I am, all these years later, old enough to make intelligent rational decisions, and a part of me was trying to find a reason to justify why I should or should not wear the ribbon. I walked into my office, feeling dumbfounded and somewhat defeated by the effect that this little ribbon had on me.

After all, some of my very good friends were gay (clicheé – I know).

Then plastered across the television screen was a news reporter announcing that today marked the 3 year anniversary of the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida, that left 49 people dead, 53 wounded, and thousands heartbroken.

I teared up as the images of the deceased floated across the television screen, and at that moment my pride began to shine.

The people who died at the hands of a senseless gunman were brothers, sisters, cousins, sons, daughters, friends, classmates, and they all left behind people who loved them dearly. As I watched the slideshow restart, I began to fully separate from the ideals that were embedded in me as a child.

The Bible states that homosexuality is a sin, but so is lying, stealing, fornication, coveting your neighbor’s spouse, all of which I (and many of you) have done.

So today, I stand with my LGBTQ brothers and sisters. Not just because of the tradegy that impacted the community, but because it’s the right thing to do. I will not treat you differently. I will shower you with love and acceptance. After all, if God loves you wholeheartedly, why shouldn’t I?

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