A Reasoned Voice

This week my friend Dawn Munro shared a Facebook post from a gentleman named Troy Everwine, and I wanted to share it with you.

Posted 05/30/17 @ 1:25 PM . . .

Michael Musto’s quote (yes, from last year) couldn’t be more relevant in Philadelphia these days.

“I find it absurd that we pick each other apart and try to diminish the community, when we should actually be looking to expand and strengthen it. After all, there are enough people out there who are against us. Let’s target them, not each other. OK, my fellow queers?”

Hear, hear!

In discussing yet another Gayborhood skirmish this morning I mused, “I wonder how this bullshit looks from Chechnya?”

Our city finds itself at a crossroad. We’re taking on too-long-ignored issues and initiating not just important (uncomfortable for many) conversations, but taking real steps to address these issues head on. The giants I walk with astound and humble me, and I thank you all.

And yet… the bickering, the dripping disdain, the ridiculous pettiness, the calling-out -and the misunderstandings and hard feelings that result and regurgitate – threaten to smother us like no true enemy would ever dare.

One of the questions I’m fond of asking younger folks is, “and then what?” You’ve got to know why you’re doing whatever you’re doing and be honest about where you see it going – at least with yourself. If you can’t even make sense of it, please redirect your energy.

Some of the best professional advice I ever got was, “everything isn’t about YOU. In fact, MOST things aren’t. So check your emotions, know why we do what we do, and participate in the solution. Otherwise, you’re just one more part of the problem.”

See, I got my feelings hurt when my boss snapped at me in the middle of dealing with a crisis. When she took me aside later, I expected to be soothed with an apology. Didn’t happen, and I’m glad. Because I learned an important lesson about getting shit done. About always looking to the bigger picture. About knowing what the hell your endgame is and behaving like an adult in the process. These are lessons that have served me far better than any apology could have.

What (I desperately hope) is FINALLY happening in our city will likely reverberate throughout this nation. It’s critically important work taken on by dedicated yet imperfect beings. It’s bigger than your feelings, or mine. And I implore each and every one of us to work together. We don’t even have to like each other. Entry-level maturity and basic mutual respect can go far.

Many of my fellow travelers are bone-weary over this shit. Insidious racism, specifically, but so many aggressions -micro and otherwise – day after day after motherfucking day. From WITHIN our community. And the conversations we’re having can, will and SHOULD shake some to their very core. Power WILL be wrested from some. I’m proud of my city, and those who tirelessly work for it to be a safer, fairer, more loving place for each and every one of us. We certainly don’t always get it right, but we ARE trying.

May these discussions and subsequent actions leave us kinder. Leave us more compassionate, not less. Seeing one another, hearing one another, and ultimately, I hope, healing one another.

Maybe breathe through the emotions and see if there isn’t common ground on which to stand. No matter how it looks in this moment, let’s look toward better moments, and bring our higher selves to the table. Every One.

Because no matter how much we too often despise ourselves, and by extension, one another – I PROMISE you we have bigger and more powerful enemies “out there” who thrive on this drama almost as much as some of us do. It’s gotta stop, people. It’s gotta stop.

Recognize that we live in a city that does look out for the LGBTQ community better than almost anywhere else in this nation. The work is far from over, but we start from a better place than many. And we can and will do better still.

As we enter Pride Month in these uncertain times, may we find more ways to stand together and BE, together.

I suppose we could just “burn it down” instead, as some have suggested. And that may ultimately be the road chosen. My only question then would be, “and then what?”

Peace, Loves. And Happy Pride!

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