Autism asks challenging questions, begs us to think outside the box and then...Autism Answers! Musings, shared family stories, book reviews, and short fiction. My posts are rarely specifically about autism or parenting. They are, however, almost always stories grown from the fertile and organic thinking soil that can be found where the two come together.
Gatherings have long played an important role for people in
Yet, for some, they are more urgent and necessary than
For many people in the LGBTQ community, a Pride Festival or
parade, a drag show, or other similar events are the first or only place they
feel accepted and included.
Declyn being crowned Miss. Homegirl 2017 as Pa'Jama
I live in a small town not too far from Dallas, TX. My youngest
son and I planned on attending the Dallas Pride Festival (perhaps volunteering
as well) this year, for our first time.
However, as with most events in the wake of COVID-19, for
the health of our world the date has been rescheduled. Now, I personally approve
of and appreciate this. However, I also wonder if the new date (July 25, 2020)
will remain safe. And even so, what sorts of changes will be made to how we
celebrate as a group.
And I confess, I do hope we make some long-lasting changes.
It has long seemed unfortunate to me that we are aware of
our contamination of each other yet we do little to make changes. We’re made to
feel weak if we do not go to work sick, and we’re unlikely to get paid. We
apologize when we ask to not shake hands, we make fun of folks who are overly
cautious “germaphobes.” School days are counted and parents are threatened with visits from authorities if too many are missed, making staying home when sick or when we are aware of sickness in the school a dangerous option. We spread disease and viruses comfortably, even
I believe it is healthy to get sick. And so there is no part
of me that hopes we change so much after this pandemic we are frightened to
touch, to reach out, to gather together.
But, we can’t unsee what we’ve seen. And we can’t unlearn
what we’ve learned.
Well we can. But we shouldn’t unlearn it.
If you will humor me, please step a little further into
the idea of how we contaminate each other.
It is often considered weak to listen and care about the
difficulties and systemic challenges in the lives of people other than us. We
are encouraged to be empathetic to a point, but when that empathy threatens to
change us, change our minds, we are too often seen as weak and naïve. Easily
swayed. Not strong in our convictions.
This is dangerous. And we infect and
contaminate and make each other sick with this attitude.
Admittedly, there is a balance to be had. There is truth in
not wanting to be easily talked out of your values or beliefs. But we must be
willing to change them as well. It is necessary for a healthy society to continually adjust
and find balance. Balance is something we continuously do, though sometimes it
is clearer than other times when our balance is off. However, it is always
something we are doing and should pay attention to.
For many of us, gatherings and events, such as Pride
Festivals, are nearly necessary for our mental health and happiness. But so is
learning from experience (such as COVID) to make adjustments for the sake of
our holistic health.
My son and I are looking forward to the Pride Festival in
Dallas! And I expect it will not be like previous festivals, but will offer
what previous festivals were there to celebrate: diversity, inclusion, and the
LGBTQ culture. And that, my thoughtful reader, is our reason is for attending.