I am too a color of the rainbow!
Yesterday I volunteered for the Pride Parade in Brussels. I had the opportunity to be one of the people carrying the official rainbow flag throughout the center of Brussels. 100,000 people participated to the event, and once I found myself in the middle of the crown, I must admit that I started feeling a bit scared thinking that I might have to face acts of discrimination and violence during the parade. Even though I am straight, the moment that I joined the crows, I suddenly felt what it must be like to walk in their shoes. The moment that I put my hands on that flag and walked through the crowds, I felt that I was different, that I was an outcast, that I didn’t belong and that I am fighting against those that discriminate and carry hate in their hearts.
I was brought to tears by the heartfelt messages that were voiced out before the parade started. The only message that I remember being said over and over again was: We are all beautiful and equal. Let’s accept each other for who we are and not use acts of violence against those that are different. I honestly don’t see how anyone could be against these messages and yet I hear so often discriminating comments against the LGBT community.
Personally, I feel very strongly about this subject because in a way I identity myself a lot with this community. Since I was little I always felt that I would be accepted only if I acted a certain way. Many times I felt that I was not accepted for who I was and that I always needed to pretend in order to get the unconditional love that I so dearly longed for. It is so, so painful not to be accepted for who you are, it is so damaging to the love you carry for yourself and it’s such a tough burden to carry. Therefore, I can only imagine what it must be like for someone who is gay and be rejected by his/her parents and to be told that they need to be different in order to be accepted.
What I can say is that I was so pleasantly surprised to see all ranges of people at this parade: people of all races, children, straight couples, gay couples, and people with different disabilities. And when I was looking around, all I could see is a rainbow of colors, a rainbow of people who are all different, who have their own story and their own reason for being there. The gay flag for me is not only a representation of the gay community. It is a representation of diversity, and inclusiveness, of hope and of yearning. The parade is a demonstration against discrimination of all kind and a celebration of our diversity. You don’t have to be LGBT to join the parade. You can just join it because you know that you are too a color of that rainbow.
Photo credits: Anamaria Olaru
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