Brave? Or Normal?

Equally Blessed pilgrims waiting for the train

As you have probably seen in other blog posts, we were in a catechesis session when Ellen got up to ask a question about LGBT people in the church.  People clapped and cheered before the bishop even answered her question.  Afterwards, so many people approached Ellen to thank her for her courage in speaking up.

Later on, during the mass, one pilgrim from Georgia approached me to say that seeing our group really made his day.  Then he thanked me for being brave.  As he told me this, it occurred to me that as a straight, cisgender person, I was not really being brave by being here with Equally Blessed.

Why am I not being brave?  Because I am simply doing what so many allies I know would do if they felt empowered to do so—standing publicly with my whole Catholic family.  Imagine if we all did this in our churches, schools, and families whenever possible.  Think about it, allies—I am here representing you.  It’s not brave, and it’s not hard, to leverage our privilege to support and affirm.  It’s what we should be doing whenever we can, however we can.

Later, out on the street, I spoke with a woman who expressed her disagreement with marriage equality.  After a respectful discussion that did not result in either one of us changing our minds, I gave her my bracelet from the Rainbow Bracelet Project and explained that it was a gift to commemorate our conversation.  “I don’t know if I can wear this,” she told me, “Where I come from, wearing this means you’re gay.”  There was true power in telling her, “I’ve been wearing it all week, and I’m straight.”  Sometimes, the response is just that simple.


(photos: 1) waiting for the train; 2) Corcovado)

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