June 2, 2000
What does that day, month and year mean to you? President Bill Clinton used that particular day to declare ”Gay and Lesbian Pride Month”. Nine years later, on June 1st, President Barack Obama spoke to incorporate an even wider group. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered citizens alike could all have this month for recognition, respect and appreciation. However, I am aware that not all minds meet equally about the rights and respect that we should pay to others. As each generation leaves their footprints, and paves the way for what is to come…to some, change is an impossible idea or action to put in motion.
You know what? Often, this unfortunate reality is because of learned behavior! As much as we may often preach that we like to speak for ourselves, or outside the box, how many times have you caught yourself, or someone you know repeating the thoughts of another before them? Sometimes without proper information? And how many times have you felt that perhaps further knowledge on an issue or subject matter might result in a different voice, a different understanding? Perhaps even going against the ideas they’ve learned, heard, or grown up around? We have the ability to fly planes, send astronauts into space, develop technology such as cellphones! Things that once were unfathomable. I can sit at this small computer and type this message. Once I push send, this message can be seen by anyone who’d like to engage, all across the WORLD.
As many of you know, we (the Glee cast) have been storming the country at whirlwind speeds to put on a forty-two show, month-long tour. It has been a constant reminder of why we do this. We’ve witnessed the impact our show has had, from the very beginning, to these moments, three years later. You LOVELY & AMAZING fans! Just indescribable. The love, affirmation, and dedication you provide! We see it all, value it all. Trust me, we do! On stage, the excitement that we absorb from your ball of energy brings our adrenaline levels to highs that often-times, we aren’t sure we can reach. Bottom line, we love you guys. And our crew! Without this diverse group of hard-working people, this venture would be impossible.
Yesterday was June 11th, and we were tackling our newest location, Toronto! We had finished our first concert of the day, and I was about to take a moment to relax before the second. On the way to our dressing rooms, I passed a stack of shirts lined up on the merchandise tables. The white T’s were modeled after shirts we wore in a performance set to Lady Gaga’s, “Born This Way.” This sparked an idea. And that idea ended up on stage.
Kindness moves mountains. Acceptance opens doors, makes room for change, diffuses misunderstanding. Every day, people commit hate crimes because of misunderstandings. Hate effects the target, and consumes the person behind the gun. It is crazy to realize that we have been in war for almost our entire existence on this planet. Many times for reasons of greed and hate.
Anyone that has experienced the death or abuse of a loved one can tell you that, “IT HURTS BEYOND EXPLANATION!!! AND WE SHOULD DO EVERYTHING IN OUR POWER TO MAKE ANY CHANGE POSSIBLE.” Raise your hand if you’ve spent nights crying yourself to sleep, raise your hand if you’ve felt as if you’d rather hide in bed all day than face the people that make you feel small or powerless! Raise your hand if you’ve felt as if you’d rather lie to people than tell them the truth about who you really are, because at least you wouldn’t be the victim of hateful behavior or prejudice! And raise your hand if lying feels almost as bad.
I was not raised in a family that accepted prejudice or hatred. For that, I thank my Mom and Dad each and every day. Look, we are human, we make mistakes. I will gladly shout from the rooftops that I AM NOT PERFECT. Nor will I ever be. But I can happily say that to my knowledge, I do not ever intentionally cause people pain. I love my family, my friends, my co-workers…and they all consist of girls AND boys. I do tell them that I love them. Yesterday, during our second show, Instead of wearing my usual shirt during “Born This Way” I decided to wear one that said “Likes Girls”. It should actually have read, “Loves Girls”, because I do. The women in my life give me things that the men in my life can’t. And vice-versa. No, I am not a lesbian, yet if I were, I hope that the people in my life could embrace it whole-heartedly. And let me tell you, I can easily spill (quite comfortably) what I admire, respect and think is beautiful about any of the women in my life. Piece of cake!
Last night, I wanted to do something to show my respect and love for the GLBT community. Support that people could actually see. Which is why I decided to change my shirt for the show. I happened to read a few comments that were posted on twitter. Many of you asked, “why?” This is my response. I am not asking for you to agree with what I am saying, but if you are listening, thank you. That is all I can ask. And a step further would be to take a moment to (honestly) answer the questions that I have raised. We can’t always put ourselves in someone else’s shoes. But we can try.
I am lucky to live in a place where I can wear almost anything that I want to express myself, and that jail is not a probable consequence. Which makes me feel as if I should exercise my right to do so every now and then. Think of the people that have died because of their passion and heartfelt hopes of change? So many good men and women. All because of an inherent wish for tolerance, love and support.
Our show celebrates the GLBT community. We are proud to be a part of something that embraces an often avoided topic. Hate is terrible, especially when we pass it down to a new generation of innocents. Recently, I heard a lament about San Francisco. How SFO just didn’t sound like a fun place to be, or visit, because that person wasn’t gay. Wait, really???? I wanted to laugh! But that would have been a response that wouldn’t have encouraged that person to be open-minded. To see that perhaps, their statement was foolish? Why won’t San Francisco be fun for you? Do you think the whole city is gay? Do you think they will judge you? Won’t feed you good food? Perhaps they won’t let you have fun, the way THEY have fun?
Sadly, we’ve gotten letters from people who explain that they love the show but hate the gay story-lines. That we shouldn’t be polluting their children’s heads. To this I’d sometimes like to sarcastically reply, would you also like us to tell them that a stork is dropping off our offspring? That the sky is purple? That it is not practical to be true to yourself, because there are mean people in this world that will make them feel wrong for being honest? That instead of embracing themselves, they should lie to the world? THEY should be the ones being untrue and unhappy?
I believe that if you are bringing a child into the world, you should be willing to accept them in any reality. Whether they are Black, White, Asian, have four fingers, are disabled, gay….that the only wish should be for a happy and healthy baby. We are each other’s children. Unless someone has committed a violent or hateful act, why should we judge? We can so quickly resort to anger, often, the product of a whole other issue. Most often, an issue with our own self.
I understand that I am sitting behind the protection of this computer screen, in this hotel room, and to many I might sound “preachy”. Especially now that I have written an essay. I hope my intentions sound pure, and just. I speak, because I am passionate. I write with this passion because I know how it feels to be hurt, to be depressed, to not value yourself, or your feelings. If any of this has inspired or moved you, even just made you think….I encourage you to tweet or reblog a picture, quote, anything that you feel will continue to spread the love. And if any are interested in tracking the chain, perhaps visualizing the greater collective, include the hatch tag, #letlovein.
Affection is responsible for nine-tenths of whatever solid and durable happiness there is in our lives. - C.S. Lewis
Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage. - Lao Tzu
Fortune and love favor the brave. - Ovid
AND remember that sometimes….
People need loving the most when they deserve it the least. - John Harrigan
To thine own heart be true. Many thanks for your time, your love, and the gift you’ve given me.
Dianna Elise Agron