A positive outlook is the healthiest choice

By |2018-01-15T23:28:40-05:00October 31st, 2017|Uncategorized|

Imagine you’re a lesbian – something that won’t be hard to do for many of our readers. You’ve survived the bigotry and closet of the 50s and 60s, survived ending a marriage to a man and coming out to yourself, and finally you and your partner of almost thirty years have survived coming out to family and friends.
But now, you’ve been given something new to survive: breast cancer. Surgeries, and more surgeries and the fear that you just might not survive this hurdle.
Many people would fold in on themselves and give up if faced with any one of these challenges, let alone all of them. But Diane Holcomb, whose story we share on page 12, has survived them all. And not only has she survived, but she has chosen to give back by becoming a volunteer for Gilda’s Club and speaking out on the importance of being out when dealing with a chronic illness.
Now imagine you’re running a student LGBT organization. You’ve put months of planning into your university’s Pride week, only to find out that a prominent anti-gay bigot has been invited to speak on your campus that same week.
Many people would react with anger and meet hatred with hatred when faced with such a challenge. But the brave students at Central Michigan University’s Gay-Straight Alliance didn’t cave in to that impulse. Instead, as we report on page 9, they turned the talk by Exodus President Alan Chambers into a fundraiser for next year’s Pride. And, given how successful that fundraiser was, they just might just invite Chambers back themselves next year.
Though these are not easy times for our community, with anti-gay violence up and respect for civil rights down, stories like those above inspire all of us to wake each day and rise to the opportunity to change one more mind, do one more right thing to end bigotry in our everyday lives.
Some people, perhaps many people – perhaps even you, holding this paper – have folded in on yourselves, or reacted with rage, or just plain given up hope.
But we’d like to invite you to imagine a different response. A response that realizes that the vast majority of anti-gay bigots are aging. We and our children may have a lot of cleaning up to do when they’re gone – but, someday they will be a real minority. The more successfully we fight bigotry now, the less mess we’ll have to deal with later. And even now, there are real positive signs and some good news. In opinion polls over 60 percent of Michiganders support civil unions if not outright marriage (yet) for gays and lesbians; this past week the City of New York decided to honor marriages of same-sex couples in Massachusetts and Canada; and in people like Diane Holcomb and the students of CMU’s Gay-Straight Alliance, positive solutions and energy are making a real difference every day.
Now imagine what you might do with this different, positive response. One that includes hope for the future and pity, not hatred, for the misguided people who oppose us out of their own fear and ignorance. Imagine yourself reaching out to that straight neighbor you haven’t met yet, writing a letter to one of the daily papers, volunteering for the Senate campaign of Debbie Stabenow or for the primary campaign of a moderate Republican, if any choose to run. Imagine opening your wallet to help CMU make next year’s Pride week better than ever (in honor of Alan Chambers, of course). Imagine volunteering for a non-LGBT organization, like Gilda’s Club, so that the organization’s members can get to know LGBT people care about the wider community as much as they do. Imagine what tomorrow will look like if everyone reading this week’s issue – including you – reaches out just a bit more.
And now – hold that image, and let’s get to work creating it. Our community deserves nothing less than the most positive responses we can give it.

About the Author:

BTL Staff
Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 27th anniversary.