Pride is a month dedicated to a people who compromised something of their very essence – pressed it down, hid it away, pushed it back – that they might remain safe, even alive, as members of an unready society. And it’s the story of those same people who – at long last and at great risk – finally emancipated that something of their very essence in spite of that unready society.
We think of 'coming out,' as something certain people are called to do once, but I suggest we reframe this coming out as something every person is called to do repeatedly. I suggest we reframe this coming out to include every person who – at long last and at great risk – finally emancipates that something of essence which has been pressed down, hidden away, pushed back, in spite of that unready society, whether that “society” has taken the form of partner, family, church or community.
In other words, while we like to think of this coming out as an individual matter of orientation and identity, I suggest we frame this coming out as a universal matter of authenticity and courage.
She was arrested for voting in her hometown of Rochester, New York and convicted in a widely publicized trial. Even so, she emancipated something of her very essence on her unready society ultimately to give rise to women’s suffrage. You know one of her many evolutionary contributions as the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. And in so doing, I suggest that Susan B. Anthony came out.
He was arrested for sabotage and imprisoned for 27 years. Even so, he emancipated something of his very essence on his unready society ultimately to give rise to the end apartheid in South Africa. And in so doing, I suggest that Nelson Mandela came out.
And, of course, she was arrested for sitting down in defiance of an Alabama law requiring her to relinquish her seat to a white person. Even so, she emancipated something of her very essence on her unready society ultimately to give rise to a boycott of the Montgomery bus system and a 1956 Supreme Court decision banning segregation on public transportation. And in so doing, I suggest that Rosa Parks came out.
And, of course, he was arrested five times. Even so, he emancipated something of his very essence ultimately to give rise to the end of legal segregation of African American citizens, to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. It would earn him a Nobel Peace Prize. And in so doing, I suggest that Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. came out.
This is the deeper story of Pride. It’s the universal story of all who would emancipate that something of their very essence which has been pressed down, hidden away, pushed back, even amidst an unready society, trusting that it must serve something of a purpose in our world.
So, the deeper story of Pride is about coming out as you.
“But some people won’t like me,” the ego argues. Well, the truth is that some people don’t like you now. So, coming out as you – emancipating that something of your very essence which has been pressed down, hidden away, pushed back – allows you to move forward knowing that at least the right people like you; that you’ve finally found your authentic tribe by right of consciousness.
The illusion that everyone should like you is nothing more than an egoic ploy to keep you from ever living a fully realized life. It’s to create a false idol of every human opinion, every stagnant comfort, every loud voice, every passing trend. The illusion that everyone should like you is nothing more than an egoic ploy that would hostage you to that which is ‘out there’ instead of emancipating you to that which is ‘in here.’
In her book "What Are You?" Imelda Shanklin suggested that you are a being of life. Meaning, you are not a body or a culture or an age, but an emanation of infinite being.
She then suggested that you are a being of mind. Meaning, you are not a label or a status or an accomplishment, but an emanation of limitless genius.
And then she suggests that you are a being of consciousness. And she goes on to suggest in a most general way that in any moment your consciousness is either rooted in the material realm ‘out there’ or your consciousness is rooted in the spiritual realm ‘in here.’ In any moment, you’re either living from what the world tells you or you’re living from what the Spirit tells you. In any moment, you’re either living from history and statistic and status quo or you’re living from vision and possibility and courageous creativity.
When we look back upon humanity’s evolutionary surges, humanity’s quantum leaps, humanity’s jump points (if you will), we don’t so often point to people who were living from history and statistic and status quo as we point to dancers who championed a divine diversity even amidst a repressed world. We point to women who championed an inherent equality even amidst a patriarchal world. We point to leaders who championed an impartial justice even amidst an unjust world.
And if there’s individual encouragement to be found, maybe it’s in the suggestion that when we look back upon our sweetest moments, we don’t so often point to the authority we gave to that loud voice without as we point to the authority we gave to that silent wisdom within.
And maybe that’s an affirmation you can take with you: “I give my authority to that silent wisdom within.”