Letter to the Editor: Having pride

Published 3:58 pm Friday, June 28, 2019

I am a betting man. I would feel confident in wagering any amount of money betting that a considerable amount of people in Stanly County do not know that June is Pride Month. If you read J. Robin Whitley’s op-ed, you know. But if you didn’t, I don’t blame you for being uninformed. How could you know?

I just returned from studying abroad in Ireland, visiting London and Paris as well.

There, I saw rainbow flags waving as gayly as they could over pubs, down alleys and atop government buildings. Men kissed men and women kissed women in the streets without any discernible fear of hate crime.

Then I came home. I came home to a Confederate statue and yellow flags with snakes on them and a redefined pride. To be proud now meant a sense of superiority for residing in the South. And that’s fine, until that pride is worn on the chest of someone who asks why there is no month dedicated to straight people.

These voices are loud. Above celebrities or books or movies, the youth in their most moldable stages of their lives hear that their parents, their friends, their God will hate them if they are gay — the first two only possibly being true because of the latter’s intoxicating albeit misinformed understanding of condemnation.

I came home frustrated, exposed once again to these voices. I understand the comfort that comes with living by what we have always known isn’t something readily forgotten.

But there are people you love that don’t feel whole in their own bodies, and cannot or refuse to figure out why. We should all be frustrated that Stanly County is failing them.

I am not gay. Well, maybe I am. Maybe, I’m bisexual. I just do not know.

I’m 20 years old and only now learning to not be afraid of the way I was born. To be proud even.

I am writing this to say that I am proud of being confused about my sexuality. I am proud of J. Robin Whitley for writing such a great piece, of the visible, of the closeted, of those Google searching “Am I gay?” then clearing their search history. I am proud of you.

As June comes to an end, I ask you to shift some of your pride from a racist war you didn’t fight in to the people you care about. Don’t tread on them just because you can.

Straight and white and southern does not make you God.

Will Lowder