Baby, I was born this way…. Oh, this way! Lady Gaga anyone? It’s Pride month, and today – June 12 – happens to be a special date. We commemorate the 1st anniversary on the attack at Pulse in Orlando, Florida, where 49 people (most of them LGBTQ) died. Although homosexuality is generally much more accepted in Western societies, that is not always the case. If not, ask gay guys like me or trans women like Jessica Rubí Mori, who was assassinated recently because she’s transgender and happened to be a sex worker.
But taking the positives out of negative situations, these kinds of events make us reflect about the kind of world we’re all living in today. Violence, wars, hatred, racism, bigotry, and so on… I could go on and on and on, but I’m not going to, and like I mentioned earlier in this paragraph: I’ll take the positives out of negative situations.
That’s hard to do, but, cases like Pulse or Rubí’s murder make me think: Why in this decade the world still attacks us like if we were some kind of criminals? I just want to be validated on why. Is being gay, lesbian, transgender, bisexual or queer forbidden? I don’t think so and in most countries, homosexuality is either no longer recognized as a disease and it’s fully legal within that territory, sexual encounters between 2 people of the same gender have a varying minimum age to be considered legal or same-sex marriage together with adoption is also possible.
In countries like mine, the Dominican Republic, being born this way is not an easy task, and I’ll resume this into a single word: history. Historically, the DR has been a stronghold for the Roman Catholic Church within the Americas and around 80% of the population (estimated in approx. 10.3 million people as of 2015) is of Roman Catholic faith.
LGBT rights advocates here and there have always tried to make us a much more recognized and validated population segment, but, I’ll cut it here. From stories I know, and the very few experiences I’ve had dealing with activists and associations, all I can say is one thing: us guys down here, we’re a catty bunch of brats. However, putting all common cattiness aside, we still stand together in those times we need each other.
Like, last year, after the Orlando massacre. I was unable to attend the vigil they set up in the middle of Santo Domingo’s Colonial Zone (a historic borough of the city widely popular among the LGBT population of the Metropolitan area and where all the bars towards our demographic can be found), but it was a nice moment of togetherness. And I wrote my thoughts on the Pulse attack on a post I titled If Love was a Crime (click on the link and you’ll be able to check it out!).
Millenials in DR are much more accepting of LGBT people in comparison with those who precede us. Some of my friends and even acquaintances understand that I was born this way and that does not make more or less than male than my counterparts (or so I believe because that’s pretty much the feedback I’ve got from a majority of them).
And the support towards the LGBTQ community is amazing. Most of them seem to accept us and see us as part of society, and as overall individuals, then as “the worst of the worst”. In such a staunch nation of high Roman Catholic faith, girl, it ain’t easy.
Anyway, we’re a resilient, strong, open and supporting community in many aspects and when we’re hit home we come back stronger than ever before. That resilience, that fraternity, with all and our respective differences, make us unique than any other social community out there.
Our fight is still standing, for the time being, it’s not over. We have lots of allies, like Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau (pictured above) who last year showed up to the largest Pride parade in the country, Toronto Pride and was just one of the many people who attend these events: celebrating life with happiness.
To those LGBTQ+ teens and young adults out there, you’re not alone. We’re NOT alone. That battle we deal with every day when it comes to acceptance (beginning with ourselves and also including the society we live in), equality, and respect from our peers is an uphill fight we can come out successful from.
In the end, lovelies, this month… CELEBRATE LIFE FILLED WITH PRIDE!
Until the next one!