Updated: Jul 1, 2019
I left Kelowna Pride yesterday with a very full heart ❤️ as I experienced the magnitude of a community coming together to support one another through the joy of personal expression, the power of acceptance and the nurturing energy of love.
Marching with my friends Gwen and Genie from Interior Health and long-time supporter Jay, I felt proud to be a part of such a heartfelt group. There was a moment walking along when I was reminded that this movement was inspired by the yearning for acceptance and inclusivity of the LGBTQ+ community by the straight population. I reflected how peaceful it felt to be presently walking side by side with a diverse scope of individuals in order to celebrate what we have in common rather than what differentiates us.
The intention of equal rights is still prevalent, but the message has grown to be an outward expression of the desire to share and voice unconditional love for all, gay, straight, trans, the list goes on and on. We have finally come to a place whereby we just call it what it is and have stopped complicating things; we are simply human advocates marching for the acceptance of all human beings.
Speaking from my heart, just like most on this mission, I would replace the word rights to acceptance. I mean, we have the right to be who we are as our inner most unique selves no matter how one might define us; there is no God or Universal source who would say anything otherwise. But, having that right is not validated unless those in our presence respond to our uniqueness with the energy of acceptance, respect, love, and compassion. We may think that it comes down to how confident we are able to show up within our true selves, but the deal breaker is really whether or not we are honoured by others for our uniqueness or not. I know that I can be the most confident person in a room, but if I'm ostracized by even one person within that tribe, my self-worth can be deflated as quickly as the speed of light.
When I left the parade and while walking back to my car, I met a few people with incredible stories that left me feeling hopeful for a world of unconditional inclusivity for all. I honoured them by listening to what they had to say; no judgment, just acceptance because I know without a doubt that how I respond to others creates the feeling they will have when they walk away from me; I am the one who can choose to either empower or deflate them.
Over the last four years, I have been blessed with so many deep and meaningful relationships; some of my friends are gay, some are straight, some are managing mental illness or addiction and any other adversity you could possibly think of; all are unique and incredibly brave individuals who continue to move through the struggles of managing the emotional trauma that comes with feelings of unworthiness created by the disapproval of others.
But this was not the energy felt yesterday at #kelownapride Instead, there was an extended aura of unconditional love and acceptance that inspired pride for my community and love for those yearning to be part of a global tribe that advocates the acceptance for all who live on this planet. I felt and will always believe that there is a continued rising hope that promotes universal human advocacy so that one day, it will effortlessly become the norm.