I had the privilege of going last night to the annual reception for LGBT Pride Month at the Ambassador’s Residence.
I met some wonderful people and was able to discuss with them the difficulties of growing up or being Transgender and Lesbian in the Philippines. Unfortunately I didn’t speak with many gay men last night. Though I think I’ve gleaned that it’s easiest for them in the Philippines. From my perspective, I think that’s probably true in the U.S. as well.
I also spoke to a Dutch man and his partner who are here through work. They said that they are safer in Asia than at home. The violence toward LGBT from Muslims (especially adolescent Muslim boys) is worsening. In Holland! I had such a hard time picturing anywhere in Europe being hostile to LGBT. It was eye opening for me.
I have had very little exposure to Transgender people, so it was nice to spend some time with Trans Women (born men – this was one of my confusions until last night). To hear stories of the difficulties in being accepted growing up was so sad. Happily there were stories also of women whose parents were accepting. I had thought that wouldn’t happen in a country where there are still so many prejudices against the LGBT community. Granted, there’s not as much violence as in other countries. Granted, it was the first country in SEA to celebrate Pride. None the less, the happy stories were to nice to hear.
I was talking to John this morning, and though our kids are young, I still worry about their future. I told him that while I will celebrate my children no matter who they are, part of me wants them to be just…normal (I use that word loosely since normal is so different than it used to be). I fear the bullying and teasing they would go through for being different. I’m encouraged that LGBT’s are accepted now and I think that it will only get better.
However, I know that there’s still hate. There’s still fear of people who are different. There’s still an alarming rate of teen suicides in the U.S. because of bullying and teasing. I want to put my kids in bubble wrap and keep them safe from harm. Unfortunately, I can’t do that.
Instead, I hope to raise them as strong, confident people. Also, kind and caring for their peers. Someone who will stick up for their friends, and show others who a real person is.
This…I think, is not too much to hope for. This…is something I can accomplish. This…I have hope for.