Throughout June, LGBTQIA people around the world commemorate Pride Month by celebrating love and the progress toward equality. Indivisible is proud of our diverse community. As we remember the tragic attack at Pulse Nightclub that took 49 lives one year ago today, Indivisible group members and staff are sharing their personal stories of why they are proud to be LGBTQIA and proud to stand Indivisible.
LGBTQIA members of the Indivisible community are invited to continue sharing stories and reflections this month in honor of Pride. Please email reflections and stories to email@example.com. Please include how you would like to be identified on our site. Anonymous stories are welcome.
I have lived out and proud since 1979. I have not heard this level of ignorance and hatred since the 1980s! I would not be able to do any of this without the love and support, strength and creativity of the people in our Indivisible group.
Being LGBTQ in small-town West Virginia in 2017 means fighting for the passage of a Non-Discrimination Ordinance that is more than 20 years overdue. It means attending Parkersburg, WV City Council meetings where “Christians” call you and your friends sexual predators and abominations. It means hearing ministers and state senators deliver sermons against you in those same public meetings. It means having city council members refuse to pass the ordinance unless we, the supporters of fairness and equality, can convince the radical Evangelicals that we deserve equal rights. Being a lesbian and a progressive activist in red state West Virginia means acknowledging that local and state politics have been tainted by the racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, and theocratic pandering Trump has spewed since he announced his campaign.
Most of all, being LGBTQ in my corner of the world today means getting up each day, kissing my wife, drafting the plans, making the calls, organizing the Indivisible actions, writing the emails, conducting the informational forums, attending the meetings, talking to the media, and continuing to fight. I learned a very long time ago as part of a different struggle that Silence = Death.
Jeanne Peters, Facilitator, Wood County Indivisible
Unlike the youth of today, I lived in the closet for many years. I was 25 when I came out to my family. It happened after I fell in love with the man I have spent the last 25 years of my life with. On our 20th anniversary together we got married in Provincetown, MA. We lived in Illinois which did not have marriage equality, but civil unions.
We were overjoyed when marriage equality became the law in all 50 states, especially after moving to Arizona where we did not have any protections from civil unions. After the results of the November 2016 elections, I feared not only for our marriage, but also for our safety.
This fear after everything we have achieved and still need to achieve like EDNA and ending housing discrimination is why I became involved in Indivisible. Fighting the Trump agenda of division and fear is the only way we are going to keep the rights we have and work to secure more rights in the future. Pride is more than parties, drinking and parades. It is about remembering those who fought first the drag queens and Trans members of our community at the Stonewall Inn to Harvey Milk, Barney Frank to the activists of today who fight for our rights and most importantly pride in being your true authentic self.
Mike Johnson, Indivisible of AZ
I didn’t even know I was gay. I lived in the South, a family deeply rooted in church and even though I supported them—I knew that it wasn’t me. A chance encounter proved me wrong and I was terrified. I heard so many stories about families disowning their children for coming out and I was petrified of my family finding out, so I went in the closet. I was forced out by circumstance and told my mother gently. She embraced me and thanked me. She grew from what she once believed and decided to love her daughter over adhering to an ideology. I can only hope that the country has the instinct to love each other despite what an ideology says—like my mom did.
My fiancee and I met in North Carolina and when we would go out to dinner or even to the park she would never hold my hand. I never understood why and I confronted her about it. She bowed her head and said that she didn’t want something happening to us—she didn’t want a stranger to invade our space or say horrible things from afar. I took her hands and told her that we have to live in spite of it all. We couldn’t let the evil win, we couldn’t love each other so hard and not live in our truth. Slowly but surely, she started holding my hand in public. She found strength and courage through love.
Lexi is the Indivisible Project’s South Atlantic Organizer, working with Indivisible groups in the Carolinas and Mid-Atlantic states