(I hate it when I accidentally post mid-draft. Apologies for this repost.) On Tuesday, President Barack Obama officially proclaimed this month of June Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month. You can also check out the associated White House website.
Last month was Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, and one way I encouraged bloggers to celebrate was to actually talk to Asian American Buddhists and then post their words. I’m proposing the same idea for LGBT pride month—let’s celebrate LGBT Pride Month by welcoming the voices of LGBT Buddhists to our blogs.
It’s easy to think of these months as throwaway celebrations—“You get one month out of the year so that we can ignore you for the other eleven months!”—but the point, I’ve come to see, is that these celebrations give us license to focus on our community, to air our frustrations, to explore our history and to celebrate ourselves for who we are. We might even learn something.
Many of us can’t identify with these celebrations. They’re about other people. There can be an awkwardness about celebrating a community that we don’t sincerely identify with.
My proposal is simply to recognize that Asian American Buddhists and LGBT Buddhists (and Black Buddhists and Latino Buddhists…) are part of our community. We don’t have to identify with every part of our community to embrace it all. A great step forward is to simply shine a spotlight on the voices of those among us who have historically been ignored and marginalized.
Maybe you know everything there is to know about LGBT issues and the Buddhist community—and if you do, I hope you can educate me. Because I don’t. And I would bet most of my readers don’t.
Maybe if each of us reaches out and actually talks to other Buddhists who are normally silenced, if we share their perspectives and understanding in their own words—maybe this is the sort of process that celebrates our diversity while also bringing us closer together.
However you choose to celebrate this month, I hope that you do. And that you do so with pride.