Gillian Cornwall, c July 2014
Ultimately, we all become the victim of our own oppressive practices. Your best bet has always been to start, stay and finish with kindness.
In the face of your greatest fears, keep your kindness close, for in your kindness you will plant the seeds of reason.
I just entered a contest in which I had to say of whom I am most proud, and why, in order to win a box of chocolates. If I do win, I will have only one or two and give away the rest as I struggle to become a less large version of my current physical self!
I had no idea what I would write for this contest as I started but, in light of everything I have been going through recently and in light of it being PRIDE season around the world, here is what I said:
"I am most proud of myself for making it through 35 years of LGBT* advocacy - making it through the street beatings, the jeers, the never feeling safe, the glacially-paced social, employment and political change, for being proud of myself when my family wasn't, for advocating for me and the LGBT* population everywhere I have been, despite the pain, the cost and the loss. I am proud that I have stayed this long, despite my sadness and weariness, realizing this is no longer my baggage to carry alone. I will hold it up and say, "This is what it has cost and more. Never forget." I am proud of who I have become and to know that our stories are worth hearing and acknowledging - that they must be heard so that those of us who have fought so hard for equality and those of us who still fight so hard, can heal. I am proud to know that we are powerful and our words are so much more valuable than a box of chocolates. Thank you for this opportunity."
One of my next projects will be collecting the stories of people who have been oppressed, to ensure they are heard and acknowledged, to ensure that there is opportunity to heal so we can move forward with an understanding of what has passed. It is not truly healing without recognizing the past and where we want to go in light of it: who we have been, who we are now and who we would like to be - both as individuals and as a society of loving, caring, peaceful beings.
This PRIDE season, I respectfully request that you ask someone, who has been fighting the good fight for awhile, what it was like and how they are. Listen to the stories and grow to understand the importance behind the rainbow.
With love and respect and a wish for all of us to walk our healing paths.
-Gillian Cornwall, c. June 28, 2015