Last night was cold and damp and windy. It poured the night before and the lawn was saturated to the point of centimeter deep puddles. It was a good night to be home. Instead my son and I spent two hours in a local park and I'm glad we did.
Last night there was a rally against bullying of all kinds but especially bullying gays, lesbians, and transgendered people. It was also a memorial for people (mostly teens) who had killed themselves. They were remembered with white paper bags, handwritten with messages, with a lit candle placed inside.
My son loved it. There were free cupcakes with purple icing, lots of people to talk to, and he got to buy a rainbow coloured bracelet (which he thought was pretty neat). I talked to him about the event; he often acts a lot younger than his years but he does listen and take in a lot.
I had several reasons for attending. I felt it was important for people outside of the gay community to be there. With any bullying, if only the people being bullied stand up, nothing changes. In order for change to happen, everyone needs to stand up and say "this is wrong". That was the least important reason as I don't have a sign saying "straight" on me and didn't look any different from the rest of the crowd. It still stands though.
I felt it was an important message for my son and I to hear. He missed the anti-homophobia rally his school held last week (he was home hallucinating and recovering from anesthesia from his dentist appointment). There were a lot of very powerful messages yesterday evening. I don't know which was more powerful for me. The sheer number of candles for those who died or listening to the teenage boy beside me (who looked my son's age, maybe a bit younger) agreeing with a video clip. The clip was by a young woman who talked about how hard it had been for her when her family found out, through reading letters, that she was gay and that they no longer loved her or cared about her. That shook me, seeing a boy my own child's age agreeing; not that it would be hard but that it IS hard. I've got two teens of my own and, while they can drive me right around the bend sometimes, I can't imagine them doing anything that would make me stop loving them. Falling in love with someone of the same gender certainly wouldn't be a reason.
But, while the above two reasons are important, the real reason I went is because a young friend of mine asked me to be there for him. And I can't think of a better reason than that. Thanks for inviting me.