What was a Conservative Christian girl from rural Eastern Washington doing at a Pride event??? True, my personal convictions don't necessarily agree with the homosexual lifestyle. However, I want to better understand people who are different than myself. I want to be a part of reconciliation. There are walls between the homosexual community and the Christian community that I'd like to take an ax to.
I must say that though I saw some things I'd never before been exposed to before (and some things I would probably have preferred not to be exposed to). That aside, I got to legitimately enjoy, celebrate and connect with people who identify as homosexual. And it was awesome! Sometimes around people in the gay community I feel nervous. Not because I'm homophobic, but because I'm afraid of coming off as homophobic. In my head I'm like, "Don't seem like you're judging them. Act natural." I know that internal banter gives me nervous ticks. I didn't feel this way that day. Somehow, being at a Pride event seemed to give me instant immunity. It was like since I was there, they knew I was for them and I didn't have to feel awkward.
That's where it all went down. A young teenage girl was standing nearby. A man walked past her on the street and yelled profanity at her as if she didn't matter. "F*** you b***."
She sat on curbside next to me and began weeping. I didn't know what to do. I asked, "Are you okay?" To which she replied, "No." Through sobs she was saying things like, "My friends ditched me," "What did I do to deserve this," "I'm a nice person," "Why is this happening to me?" I patted her back trying to comfort her and managed to muster a few encouraging phrases such as, "You don't deserve to be treated this way," "You're not a b*****," and "You'll be okay." I'm glad I did something, but I wish I would have done more. I felt a little like Sheldon Cooper from Big Bang Theory.
Then somebody who knew what they were doing showed up. A lesbian couple came and asked her if everything was okay and if there was anything they could do to help. One of them was Latina. I like to think that this cultural background is where some of her strength came from. Then she started pouring out encouragement. She knew all the right words to say. Through her words, the broken, soft-hearted young lady was able to find the strength to get up and walk away, her head held high. But not before she had hugged her encourager, and myself and thanked us for our support.
Next time, I hope I can react more like the second woman--to be strong, brave and uplifting. She taught me about reaching out to others. I hope to be like her one day. I like the idea that two people as different as I gather she and I were, can learn from each other, can celebrate life together, can work towards a greater good together. This was a beautiful moment for me, and one that I will long carry with me.