A letter to my LGBTQIA+ friends and acquaintances

Hello friend,

This letter has been in my heart for some time now. I have always felt disappointed by the way I have failed to show up for you as an ally in a world where your sexuality (sexual orientation and/or gender identity) is a literal crime. I am changing that. The first aim of this letter is  to apologise to you. Speaking as a cisgender heterosexual womxn, I think the way my kind slander, discriminate against, condemn, ostracise, harm and even murder you is unacceptable and grossly unjust. I also think the ways in which I have been either an accomplice or bystander to most of the aforementioned acts, especially under the guise of my nationality and religion, is reprehensible. I am determined to repent and do right by you going forward. The second aim of this letter is to come out as your supporter. As my friends you have always encouraged me to stand up for myself more. I write this letter to say that even as I learn to do that, I am prepared to stand up with you too. In an unjust world that waits for you to out yourself so that it may decide whether to accept you or not, I want you to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am in absolute support of who you are. 

I am sorry. I want to profusely apologise to you. I am sorry for the times when you came out to me and instead of a comforting acceptance, you were met with hesitant silence as I tried to figure if it would be sinful to embrace you. I am sorry for when I thought I should pray away your queerness so that we could go to heaven together. I am sorry for only being accepting of your sexuality in private. I am sorry for how I would expect you to listen to all the troubles of my love life and give me counsel but deflect when it was time for you to share. I am sorry for not telling that boyfriend of mine that that homophobic joke was not funny at all. I am sorry for when I thought your queerness was a phase or unnatural or an issue of upbringing. I am also sorry for when I did not say anything when someone forwarded a WhatsApp message suggesting that COVID-19 was God’s punishment for how we have allowed increased visibility of gay people in the media. Side note: I don’t think rona is a punishment but If there are sins that caused COVID-19 they would have to be the hate, discrimination and inequalities sanctioned by states and religions worldwide. I am sorry for all the above and even more that I have the unfair privilege of not even being aware of. 

I am aware that I could understand and read about what each of the letters in LGBTQQIAAP+ stand for and still not fully understand your lived experience. However, what I can do, I will do. I aim to engage in more media that reflect your experiences so that I save you the energy of having to explain your own. My days of complicity and silence are also over and I promise to use my platforms to amplify your voices and speak out against the injustices against you. And when I start earning the monies, I intend to contribute to LGBTQI+ causes. I also look forward to attending your weddings, if marriage or civil partnership is what you want. Most of all, I intend to listen to YOU more. You who lives so courageously and fiercely even when people have made it clear that they prefer you erased as a non-issue. YOU who perseveres through experiences no one should ever have to. I am here for you and I purpose to work on the ways I can be there for you more effectively.

I see you. I love you. 

All my love,

CN

P.S: I recently read about the Stonewall Uprising and how that is considered the first Pride. It’s been 51 years (and more), yet you still have to march for your legal rights. I look forward to the day when you don’t have to. Happy rest of Pride Month to you!