Therefore, I must speak out when I see injustice.
A segment of our suburban population has long been scorned for being different. They suffer discrimination at the hands of their Angeleno neighbors who don’t understand them. It is a fear and hatred based on misinformation, bigotry and intolerance.
Though taxpayers, students, parents, coworkers and responsible members of society, they are ostracized for a lifestyle choice, for the condition and environment in which they choose to live.
I am talking about the LGBT community.
A community of which I am a lifelong member. My wife married me knowing this, and we are raising our daughters openly in this community.
And to be quite honest with you, I've never understood why people think we're different.
In fact I know many of you reading this have long been members of the LGBT community, though you may not admit it at Kiwanis Club meetings at Clancy’s Crab Broiler, over drinks after work at The Blue Room or while grazing the Montrose Farmer's Market on Sundays. It's not something we announce to the world for obvious reason. Even bringing the subject up at work can get you in trouble.
But our detractors ridicule and shame us for our lifestyle, for the place in our world we have chosen to lay roots and seek personal comfort and stability.
Many of us have children and want them to thrive in a free society. We get unbounded joy seeing them in chaotic soccer games at Dunsmore Park, tumbling on mats at Fun and Fit Gymnastics Center and joyfully splashing in the pool at McCambridge Recreation Center. Our desires for our children are the same as everyone else’s: that they would be healthy, productive members of society no matter how and where they live.
Yes, we are a tight-knit band, preferring to remain with others like ourselves. We don’t often venture far out of our safe borders or leave the comfortable bubble of our home area. Our critics accuse us of isolating ourselves, of not assimilating with the rest of society, and forcing others to agree with how we live.
Sure, we have our favorite bars, restaurants, markets and shops. But what's wrong with having a place where you feel accepted, where everyone knows your name, where you’re always greeted by the same unpretentious, open-minded and welcoming folks?
Having our “regular” places is, I think, one of our greatest joys and makes our community so unique. It’s these personal connections that tie us to each other. And since the rest of the world seems to revile us, we are gladly left to enjoy our own company.
We appreciate the outdoors like everyone else; we love the mountains and the parks where we can be free. Especially Griffith Park. There are some fantastic spots there where we find others like us looking to connect with each other and nature. And there’s nothing wrong with that!
Frankly, I think the people outside our community who vilify us are harboring latent tendencies and envy our freedom and comfort with ourselves. I’ve met so many who secretly tell me how badly they wish to live openly in the LGBT community.
Honestly, I don’t think we’re all that different from outsiders. Though some say we talk and dress funny. And I may have to agree with them on that.
Of course we have infighting amongst our ranks. We don’t always agree on politics or how we want the rest of the world view us. But when we find ourselves cornered, we rally around each other, put aside our differences and unite as one. That’s one of the things about our community that makes me so proud.
What I can’t figure out is "Why?"
Why do people outside the LGBT community resent us so much?
Sure, the Westside is hipper; the restaurants are better and there are the beaches. Even Hollywood has pulled itself out of the gutter, and Downtown is now the trendiest place to live if you don’t mind bunkering into your own personal green zone each night.
But I’ve lived, worked and played in the La Crescenta, Glendale, Burbank Triangle all my life. And I am honored to be a member of the LGBT community. And I hope you are too.
Be thankful. We could be lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered. Now those poor folks really are discriminated against.
Hey, wait a minute…
PATRICK CANEDAY is light-headed. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Friend him on Facebook. Read more at www.randomthoughtsonbeinghuman.com.