Peace, joy and love

by Dustin Woods
Visionary Columnist

Christmas is a beloved holiday that seems unrivaled in its celebration. It's the most wonderful time of the year, at least according to the great song by Andy Williams.

The magnetic pull of this holiday not only attracts Christians but also atheists as well. I may not believe in the virgin birth but there are some aspects to Christmas that are so endearing I can't help but love its festivities.

I have some of the greatest memories of the holiday season and the many traditions that compromise it but the one aspect to the season that sticks out, that keeps me so enamored with the holiday is its devotion to principles like peace, joy and love.

The pursuit of merry making at the holidays is a representation of our better angels. As social creatures we want to be loved but we also want to love others and show it for all to see. Bringing joy to a friend, family member or partner isn't an action limited only to the faithful and it certainly isn't limited to only straight people.

The gay community is no different and we love the holidays just as much as anyone else. Unfortunately, for too many of our LGBT+ brothers and sisters, the holidays are a reminder of family that they are no longer in contact with because they chose to live as their authentic selves.

Fortunately, we “non heteros” have become good at creating new families from our closest friends. What some may lack in bonds of blood they make up for with their rainbow family.

As members of the LGBT+ community we face our unfair share of out and out hatred and vitriol toward our way of life. Hatred, bigotry and discrimination come at us from left and right on a regular basis, so it is a nice reprieve when at Christmas time the cultural mood shifts to being somewhat softer and kinder toward one another.

With this point in mind, I'd like to remind those who feel overwhelmed by discriminatory actions taken against our LGBT+ family that there is an entire season devoted to peace, joy and love. Even though not all the people who profess these principles actually uphold them, it is still important there is acknowledgment of these positive principles.

Surround yourself with positivism and it will become infectious. Decorate the world in trappings of the holidays and maybe the sentiments will seep into the psyches of the scurrilous.

Keep your friends close and your enemies closer is an old truism that exemplifies the way in which we will pull society into the eventual future of inclusion and acceptance for all. By no longer hiding in the shadows and being out and proud the LGBT+ community has pushed the envelope but now it is time to really step up our game. Show our community’s ability to love isn't limited by the hatred of those who wish to deprive us of our rights.

We have come a long way, but we can still be fired from our jobs for our sexual orientation. The Justice Department is trying to argue that we aren't protected by discrimination laws and the President of the United States is trying to stop transgender individuals from fully participating in the armed forces.

It’s time to employ even more effective ways to get LGBT+ issues into the forefront and this November we found one such way to do just this, by electing LGBT+ individuals to public office. For me, the historic nature of the wins of so many LGBT+ elected officials was like an early Christmas present and the best start to a better way to spread peace, joy and love throughout the land.

Copyright The Gayly – December 25, 2017 @ 7:40 a.m. CST.