No One is Free Until Everyone is Free
September 15, 2011 § Leave a comment
There comes a time in life for every one of us when we have to, in one way or another, step out of the closet. Some people have noticed that shame, fear and self-consciousness are a part of our very human existence, the fabric of what it means to be a person. Theories about this stretch right through our history back to the story of Genesis, when Adam and Eve ate from a forbidden fruit, recognized their nakedness, and from then on, felt ashamed of who they were. It is not easy for anyone to be truly, wholly, herself.
This week I walked along side my cousin, who identifies as lesbian, in the amazing Salt Spring Island pride parade. As I walked with her through downtown Ganges, I felt the vulnerability of all eyes on me, and of what a fragile feeling it must be to come out of the closet as gay, to your family, your community, your country, and your friends.
I started to think about what it means to me to support, love, and encourage my family members and friends who are gay, and realised that I not only stand by them because I love them and want to support them on their paths to become ever more fully themselves, honest, authentic and cherished people in this world, but that also, truly no one among us is free until everyone among us is free. So I also walk for myself. As long as one group of people remain repressed or persecuted, judged or shamed, I know that this remains a possibility for my own life also. The energy that judges and seeks to suppress the life of a lesbian woman, is the same energy that keeps all of us from expressing the totality our vibrant and whole true natures. There is no one among us who is not vulnerable to this force. And therefore, we must all stand together for the rights of our friends, family and neighbours. Their freedom is our own freedom also at the deepest imaginable level.