Just because this administration won’t show its love for the LGBTQ community during Pride Month by acknowledging the month exists or celebrating the second anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize gay marriage doesn’t mean the American public won’t. Parades, flags, signs, baked goods, beverages … you name it, #Pride is everywhere you look.
In Chicago for business, I went for an early-morning run this morning down Michigan Avenue to Oak Street Beach, and couldn’t help but notice Pride is on full display here: store fronts with awesome slogans on decals, flags flying proudly outside of hotels and in peoples’ windows – even hanging from the top of the Fourth Presbyterian Church on Michigan Ave. My hotel had a wonderful #Pride display which included Skittles at the front desk. As an ally, I was beaming with, yes, pride this morning for the enormous support here for the LGBTQ community.
Because again, in this moment of cynicism and fear, even Skittles in a hotel lobby can have a heartening effect, symbolizing a deeper commitment to equality. And… they’re fun.
Besides, it’s not just big cities like Chicago spreading the love. My own community – Kalamazoo, Mich. – is proudly flying these beautiful rainbow flags that say, “Love who you are. Love where you live.”
Typically leadership comes from the top down, but what I believe we’re seeing during the Trump era is a new grassroots movement even beyond the Resistance. It’s a new kind of leadership.
I liken it to what happens after a breakup. After the tears are shed and the Ben & Jerry’s pint has been eaten and you’ve obsessed over every text, you jump on the “get hot” band wagon to show your ex what he/she is missing. The gym becomes your best friend, you shun sweets and carbs, and you feel 10 lbs lighter even if the scale doesn’t actually move because you’re turning that ugly negative energy into something positive.
In many ways, that’s what’s happening to many Americans. We were sick after the “breakup” and now we emboldened, empowered and enraged – ready to make change, ready to be leaders, ourselves. We are collectively angry.
You don’t want to acknowledge Pride month? Fine. We’ll do it ourselves and 2017 will be the biggest display of all things #Pride ever.
You don’t want to host the celebratory Eid dinner following the conclusion of Ramadan, even though it’s been tradition the past 20 years by various administrations? Fine. We’ll have our own community dinners to celebrate with our Muslim friends.
You don’t want to mention that it was mostly Jews slaughtered in the Holocaust? Fine. We’ll do it ourselves, penning articles and speaking out in public forums reminding our fellow Americans the truth.
And so on and so forth.
This may be our “new normal” for the next four years, but we don’t need to accept it as such. This new administration may not share the open-minded views most Americans have, but we don’t need to wait for them to lead. We can do it ourselves: one flag, one slogan, one decal, one dinner, one article at a time.