The Struggle for Freedom

Yesterday morning I wrote a post whining about my life. It was only later in the day I saw the news about the tragedy in Orlando. I’ll admit I heard there was a shooting the night before but that’s getting quite common in the USA so I didn’t pay much attention. Yesterday the whole story came out and the world responded.

What I was really moved by is the way so many people around the world care about the victims. Being in my sixties, I remember a world (quite recently) that ridiculed and persecuted homosexuals. In some places it was still illegal. Not many gays could ‘come out’ and live their authentic lives for fear of losing their jobs, families and friends. Parents would lament ‘where they went wrong’.

They were forced to live their lives ‘underground’ like criminals. Just being a homosexual meant being a degenerate in those days. One lived in fear of being caught.

Things turned around quickly this last decade, I’m glad to say. People stood up and came out. There was nothing wrong with being gay. They wanted to live in freedom, choosing their lives and their mates like everyone else. The changes in the last 10 to 20 years has been a complete turnaround.

But there will always be someone who hates them. That’s a sad fact.

Way back in the early 60’s,when I was 10 years old, my aunt and uncle took me to Florida. We stopped at one of those fresh orange juice stands. I asked to use the washroom and was pointed to the back where there was a sign. Actually, 3 small signs; “mens” “womans” and “coloured”. The men’s and woman’s sign were written in plain black letters but the coloured sign was written in wavy lines and rainbow colours with an arrow pointing the other way. I wasn’t sure but thought I’d like to go in the more fun washrooms. I asked my uncle what it meant and he told me, “Negroes have to use an outhouse, only whites can use the washrooms.”

Being from Canada, this was a shock to me, even at 10 years old. My aunt and uncle thought it was disgusting but ‘that’s the way things are down here’. A few years later things would explode in Alabama, changing the face of America.

We’ve come a long way but there is still hatred and bigotry, there will always be someone that will hate someone else simply because they are different.

The struggles of the oppressed, who even faced death to fight for their freedom, has turned our society into something so much better. The outpouring of support and caring from people all over the world is proof of that.

We are still struggling but it’s the struggle that gives us strength. We are the chick hatching from the shell, one can only stand back and let it happen as it’s the struggle that makes it strong.

From my stand point; we’ve come a long way, baby! What I’m seeing that makes me so hopeful is the awareness that hate must be fought with love, not more hatred. This is a leap in our evolution of consciousness.

What happened is indeed a tragedy. Sadly, it will not be the last one. But gone are the days when angry mobs would punish the innocent in retaliation. True, some idiots will blame Muslims, but they are in the minority now. They won’t find mobs of people in their neighbourhood who agree and stomp off to the nearest mosque.

Love conquers all. The outpouring of love and support from the rest of the world was so moving. This would have been unheard of just 40 or 50 years ago. We are getting better, struggle by struggle.

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