Sunday, February 16, 2014

Olympian Bravery

This week, in the middle of Olympic events and Valentine's Day and other world expansive and world expensive events filled with declarations of love and pride, there is another important event in Nevada this weekend. The Human Rights Campaign, Time To Thrive conference has been taking place in Las Vegas. 

At the kick-off on February 14, Ellen Page, in a moment of Olympian bravery, stood up to speak her truth. Please watch: 


Apologies to those mobile visitors who can not click on the video here. Please follow the link embedded above.

"The Human Rights Campaign Foundation in partnership with the National Education Association and the American Counseling Association present Time to THRIVE, the inaugural national conference promoting safety, inclusion and well-being for LGBTQ youth ...everywhere!" - HRC / Time to THRIVE website.

At 11:40 am on Sunday, Hilary Clinton gave the closing plenary. Please watch and listen

This week, as we watch and listen through television and social media, bombarded with stories of athletes and lovers, take a moment to think of the courage and strength it takes the young person who is sitting down to tell his mom or dad, friend or teacher that he is part of the spectrum we name: LGBTQ. Think about how this young person is terrified and hoping that the person he tells will still love him, that he won't be thrown out of his home and onto the street, that he will not be beaten, killed or forced into something he is not. For those of you who naively believe this no longer happens, it does - EVERYWHERE. It happens where the laws have changed and it happens where they have not. It happens within every race, religion, workplace and school in every country. Yes, there have been many positive changes but change comes slowly and is difficult to measure. From my perspective, at 52, change has been glacial in speed and warmth. If we face the reality that hate can be persistent and insidious, it will be easier to move forward in truth and love.

Watch the video and listen to Ellen Page - another young person hoping that being herself will not crumble her world and destroy all that for which she has worked, hoping that her truth will not bring her violence, loss and hate, that she will not be treated as "less than" for living that truth.

As you go forward through your days, breathe and act with kindness, breathe and act with love, breathe and move without fear of difference. Breathe and remember that many colourful threads make for strong and beautiful cloth.

We are one in life and love. 
-Gillian Cornwall, c. February 16, 2014.

All photographs by Gillian Cornwall - c. February 2014


Wendy Johnson said...

Gillian, that was brilliant. Your words moved me. This is what I have been trying to say, but you say it way better. Ok maybe not better, more poetically =) Must be the writer thing...

Sandy Smith said...

Beautifully said

Gillian said...

Thanks so much Wendy! And what you wrote, the fact you wrote something, will always be enough. Xo

Gillian said...

Thank you very much for reading the piece and for taking the time to comment. Wishing you peace and joy

Catherine Novak said...

Great piece, Gillian. Watching how nervous Ellen Page was reminded me that it is not easy to come out of hiding in a society where people are still hanging on to bigotry and hatred. Here in our little liberal enclave of Victoria, we pretty much expect people to be out if they are part of the LGBTQ spectrum. But OTOH, should one of my children be gay or bi, I would suddenly feel protective of them in smaller towns or with smaller minds. We're NOT there yet, much as I would like for our society to be. (Did you read my blog on the same topic?)

Gillian said...

Dear Catherine - thank you so much for reading and commenting. I have just read your post and it is wonderful! I hope many other will enjoy it:

I am astounded that it doesn't seem to matter where I go, small town or big city, there are people who fear me because of my difference (or perceived difference) and because of that difference, they resort to a very basic fight or flight response. It is unfortunate and sad that people cannot walk toward their fear with an open heart and a kind, open mind.